Avengers: Infinity War

"Evacuate the city. Engage all defenses. And get this man a shield!"

Infinity War sees Earth's Mightiest Heroes team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy as they race against time to stop big purple meanie Thanos from gathering together all of the Infinity Stones and using them to wipe out half of the universe.

First of all I'd like to apologise for this review being a little late. Work and other commitments meant I didn't get to see Infinity War until Tuesday. Which was super annoying because everyone I know got to see it in the first two days and was eager to discuss it and I was on my lonesome, wagging my finger about spoilers like River Song. I'm sure there are many out there who still haven't got around to seeing it yet so I will keep this review as spoiler free as possible. But, for those of you who have already seen it, please feel free to openly discuss it in the comments. Just take care not to put any major spoilers in the first sentence so they don't show up in the recent comments sidebar.

This is a film that is more than a little guilty of false advertising. And I'm not just talking about all the stuff in the trailers that isn't in the film. Or if it is it's in a way that is completely different from how it was in the trailers. No, I'm talking about how Marvel has been selling this film as the final chapter of this particular phase of the MCU. Except it isn't. It's only part one of the final chapter. Next years's Avengers 4: The Search for Clint is the actual real final chapter. Which makes it difficult to really judge this film since we are only getting half the story. I doubt I'll have a definitive opinion on this film until I've seen how both films play out. I just hope that Avengers 4: Peggy Carter Saves the Day doesn't end up being an absolute disaster, otherwise it'll tarnish all the good work this film does. For now I'll just say that Infinity War is really good, but far from the crowning glory many were hoping it would be. As the first half of a back-to-back sequels go this is no Matrix Reloaded or Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. Compared to the other Avengers movies I'd rank it ahead of Age of Ultron, which I still think of as a good film despite its many flaws, but behind Civil War which, let's be honest, is an Avengers movie in all but name.


One of the most interesting things about Infinity War is that, in many ways, it isn't really an Avengers movie. Or even a Guardians of the Galaxy movie. It's a Thanos movie featuring the Avengers and the Guardians. After sitting on his backside and doing nothing since 2012, Josh Brolin's mad Titan finally stands up and takes centre stage. Thanos is the make or break character of this film. Marvel's been setting him up as the ultimate big bad of their cinematic universe since 2012 and simply couldn't afford for him to be another Yellowjacket, Ronan or, god forbid, Malekith. Fortunately, the film really delivers when it comes to its big bad. Not only do you buy completely why everyone is scared shitless of this SOB, the film actually succeeds in making him an interesting character, mainly by taking the time to delve deep into his truly messed up relationship with his daughters, Gamora and Nebula. Oh, and the CGI ain't half bad as well. Too bad the same can't really be said of his henchmen, the Black Order. They are nothing more than a forgettable bunch of CGI baddies, there simply to keep the heroes busy whenever their master isn't around.

What impressed me the most was how coherent it all was. A film of this scale with this many heroes should be an absolute mess. But somehow it manages to effectively juggle its ridiculously humongous cast. Granted, some heroes get more time to shine than others. Cap's team of Avengers certainly get the least to do, character wise. With the exception of Wanda and Vision, these guys get little else to do beside fight bad guys and then get ready for fighting more bad guys. All the best stuff is divided up between Thor, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange and the Guardians of the Galaxy.

What impressed me the least, I'm sad to say, was the action. Between The Winter Soldier and Civil War, the Russo brothers have proven themselves to be Marvel's best directors when it comes to action. And while the action in Infinity War is often grand and well executed, much of it is disappointingly familiar, most notably the film's grande finale. We've seen the Avengers battling a massive army of canon fodder twice before now and this film ultimately fails to find an interesting new take on it.


Notes and Quotes 

--The entire cast does a fantastic job, even the ones who have little to do, but special mention has to go to Brolin, Robert Downey Jr., Zoe Saldana, Chris Hemsworth, and Tom Holland, who will absolutely break your heart.

--There is no mid-credit scenes, just one right at the very end.

--Unless I missed it, this film contains no cameos from Community cast members.

--With the exception of his Avengers theme (which has grown on me since the first film), Alan Silvestri's score is largely forgettable.

Okoye: "When you said you were going to open Wakanda to the rest of the world, this is not what I imagined."
T'Challa: "What did you imagine?"
Okoye: "The Olympics, maybe even a Starbucks."

Bruce: “There’s an Ant-Man and a Spider-Man?”

Three out of four big purple meanies.
--
Mark Greig is reminding you that the comments are not spoiler free. Scroll past this warning at your peril. More Mark Greig

21 comments:

Diogo said...

Actually, I feel the movie still works very much on its own. The fact that this is Thanos journey from start to finish makes it work. I see it more as an Empire Strikes Back than a Matrix Reloaded.

Mark Greig said...

I deliberately avoided comparing it to Empire because comparing sequels to Empire has become something of a reviewing cliche. Afraid i have to disagree with you, though. Empire works well as a standalone because everything in that movie is more or less resolved by the end. The main plot of the movie is Vader relentlessly chasing after the rebels to get Luke. At the end of the movie they manage to finally get away from him and are all safe, except for Han, who is still missing. So while there are things left unresolved, for the heroes the adventure is more or less over. They're safe, they're not in any danger and there is no immediate crisis for them to deal with. Infinity War, on the other hand, leaves everything hanging for the heroes. They've got a pretty big problem they need to deal with, not to mention some of them need to find a way of the planet they are stuck on.

Michal Dvorak said...

But the ending of Infinity War does resolve things, doesn't it? Thanos wins, plain and simple. All the heroes' efforts are in vain, all the last-ditch efforts failed, all the plot threads are finished. Presumably the next movie will find a way to reverse this (my money's on Melinda May kicking Thanos' ass so hard it reverses time), but I don't agree that Infinity War is an incomplete movie. It's a complete movie, it just doesn't have a happy ending.

Mark Greig said...

But the plot isn't really finished. For Thanos, yes, it is done, he won and can now enjoy his retirement, but for the heroes this isn't over. The film might end on a pretty bleak cliffhanger, but it is still a cliffhanger. I think the best comparison I've seen some make is to the season five finale of Doctor Who. Infinity War is essentially 'The Pandorica Opens', an episode that is good in it's own right, and even ends in a very similar way, but still one half of a large story.

Michal Dvorak said...

True, but the same can be said about Empire Strikes Back, no? The rebellion suffers heavy losses, they're on the run from the empire, and while they earn a temporary respite at the end, it's clear that the story can't end that way.

Plus I'd argue the "for the heroes this isn't over" part. Have you seen their looks at the end of Infinity War? It is over for them. They are defeated and decimated. There are no options left for them, at least for now.

New options will, I assume, present themselves in the next movie, but that doesn't mean this movie doesn't work by itself in my opinion. First movie: defeat. Second movie: coming back from the defeat. Pretty much like The Empire Strikes Back / Return of the Jedi.

Mark Greig said...

I'm not saying that it is impossible for anyone to enjoy this movie in isolation, I just feel I will not be able to pass finale judgement on it until I have seen how this story has been resolved. Marvel might be downplaying it now, but this movie was always meant to be the first part of a two-part story. And it ends in such a way that is designed to continue on directly into the next movie. Empire does not end like that. The heroes may have taken a pounding throughout the movie, by the end they are all safe and facing no imminent danger, no immediate crisis that needs to be resolved. As you said, they get a respite, before stating their next adventure. Infinity War, though, ends very suddenly of the heroes. They get to see what Thanos has done and then that's it. Roll credits. There is no respite for them. No time for them to mourn their friends, to fully process what has happened or think about what they are going to do next. There is no semblance of closure so it does not feel like the story is over for them.

Diogo said...

But again, Infinity War was not the Avengers or the Guardian's story. It was Thanos'. Within that framework, it works.

Mark Greig said...

I think we're just going round and around in circles here. This isn't really a right or wrong issue. It is simply a case of how I felt about this movie and that was that it suffered by being part one of two. I know that it not an view that everyone will share, but it is just how I feel.

Diogo said...

Alright, we'll agree to disagree. Let's wait and see how the next movie turns out.

An Honest Fangirl said...

I don't think that I've been so freaking tense during a movie before. I knew that Loki was going to die. That was just a given. But the fact that they killed him off before the opening credits? That surprised me. I've only seen it once so far, and I think that I was too emotionally invested to be able to properly judge the quality, but this was exactly what I wanted and needed out of an Infinity Wars movie.

I just have two things: one an issue and one a potential issue. I think they may have dropped the ball on who turned to dust. Was I completely shocked and heartbroken to see both T'Challa and Spidey disappear? Of course. But those two, more than anything, are what convinced me that the next movie will find a way to reset everything. Marvel simply won't leave all of that potential money on the table. Now, if the Snap had killed the other, OG Avengers whose contracts are just about done, then there would be a very real sense of fear there that maybe this will be permanent.

The potential issue kinda ties back to the first one. I really, really hope that everyone pre-Snap who dies stays dead, but I'm specifically talking about Gamora here. As much as I hate to lose a badass female character, finding a way to bring her back to life would cheapen everything surrounding her death and the emotions that went into it. Let her stay dead. Let there be a real sense of consequences that will shape the Guardians going forward.

Mark Greig said...

Yeah, wiping out all fresh talent sort of makes it obvious that this will be undone by the next movie. My guess is A4 will be a swan song for the original team and one or more of them will sacrifice themselves to undo what Thanos did. On the subject of Gamora, the whole soul for a soul thing makes me think that someone will offer to take her place so she can return to the land of living. And I bet it's Nebula because it would be a satisfying way to end her redemption arc.

Michal Dvorak said...

@Mark: Ok, fair enough. You're probably right that Empire does provide slightly more closure than Infinity War. I don't think the difference is all that great, but that's just me.

Diogo said...

Also I would just like to point out how much I love Drax the Destroyer.

"No, you are a guy. This is a man. It's like a pirate had a baby with an angel."

Starlord: "Where is Gamora?"
Stark: "I'll do you one better: who is Gamora?"
Drax: "I'll do you one better: WHY is Gamora?"

Anonymous said...

The story is Thano's so from his pov its a full story...If your favorite character is Captain America than of course this film would be incomplete. However I thought it was a clever choice making Thano's the main character and plot mover with the Avengers being the back ground players in his orbit.
Some of the deaths will clearly be reversed...But that didn't stop the impact, my cinema was eerily silent than broken by sobbing by several people old and young. From a character pov Spiderman's death was massive..Especially for Iron man..If you have been following the arc between them since civil war.
They also did an incredibly job of defining each of the stones powers and how Thano's was utilizing them..In the comics its much more complicated and hard to follow.
Gamora's death was amazing, at this point im not sure if i want it reversed as it was great and tragic moment in the film that separated it from alot of other superhero films.

An Honest Fangirl said...

Mark, I kind of like your theory that Nebula will sacrifice herself for Gamora. I still think that it would cheapen the moment of Gamora's death, but it would be a satisfying closure for Nebula's redemption arc, especially since Gamora essentially sacrificed herself in order to see her sister in this movie.

I saw Infinity War Thursday night, and when the credits rolled they entire theatre was, like you said Anonymous, eerily silent. For about thirty seconds and then people started to just repeatedly curse like they were stuck on a broken loop. It was amazing to see and be a part of, even as I was sobbing my eyes out.

Richard said...

In some regards it feels a bit more like Rocky 1 then.

I really liked the film and have seen it twice. The first outing was on Release night at 7am and there were a lot of BOOOOOOOO!!!!!!'s hurled at the screen when I watched it. That being said all the deaths at the end did get the one kid who would not stop talking to finally stop.

Also, cheap or not, I'm pretty sure that Gamora is coming back. Mostly because it messes up the continuity that those films have if she were gone. So far the Marvel films have had a through-line for the individual movies that has carried through each separate narrative. Nebula Left at the end of Guardians 2 so it's easier to write her off than Gamora, so I like that idea that she will sacrifice herself somehow. Plus it's the soul stone. That thing's hinky.

Katerina said...

I finally got to see Infinity War last night. I was determined to go as I was almost spoiled twice in recent days. I did like it a lot, though I'm still processing it, and thought they did a great job giving everyone screen time, though some obviously got more than others. (I was okay with their explanation for Hawkeye and Ant Man's absences.) I didn't find it hard to follow, and it didn't seem as long as it was. I liked that they still found ways to insert so much humor into such a serious story, too. I knew there would be some deaths, but, after the first few, especially the ones that happened after Gamora, it was obvious to me that many of those characters would be brought back somehow, so those death/dissolving scenes lost much of their impact for me. And I thought it obvious that Doctor Strange gave up his stone because that's what had to be done in the one winning scenario he saw. Btw, at the very end of the end credits scene, is there some significance to the symbol that shows up when Fury's message goes through? I started to turn my head away at that point and didn't get a good look at it.

Mark Greig said...

Katerina, the symbol on the pager belongs to Captain Marvel, who is expected to appear in Avengers 4 after her solo film next year. Hopefully that film will explain why Fury waited until now to contact her. They really could've used her help against Ultron, Nick!

Katerina said...

Thanks, Mark! I knew it had to mean something specific.

Scott Riggan said...

I loved this one so, so much. One of my issues with these movies is that the stakes just seem so high (while our plucky heroes' final triumph is so inevitable) that I can't feel any real investment in the outcome. Not so here.

Now I want to share my very favorite piece written so far about this movie. It's from NPR, and the writer coins a term that MUST become the definitive descriptor for the ending of this move henceforth: "The Snapture."

https://www.npr.org/sections/monkeysee/2018/04/30/607093337/okay-lets-talk-about-the-ending-of-avengers-infinity-war

sunbunny said...

Oh my god "The Snapture" I love it. I like the theory that Nebula will sacrifice herself for Gamora too.

There's a website built to tell you if Thanos killed you in "The Snapture" or not

http://www.didthanoskill.me/