Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writers: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Pratt, Josh Brolin, Chris Hemsworth, Chadwick Boseman, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch, Scarlet Johansson, Dave Bautista, Don Cheadle, Christopher Mackie, etc.
Released: April 27, 2018
The expectations for Avengers: Infinity War were astronomical. What Marvel did in The Avengers back in 2012, they now had to do on an even grander scale with a decade’s worth of characters and plot threads that had been in the making. It should be an impossible task. Key phrase being “should be”, because they pulled it off. Holy crap did they pull it off. Mostly.
Avengers: Infinity War is the culmination of everything that has been built up since the first Avengers film. Thanos is finally getting his hands dirty and is making his move to obtain all the Infinity Stones. His goal: to wipe out half the universe. As he moves everywhere from space to earth, searching for the Infinity Stones and dealing with his own familial issues and inner conflict, the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy have to unite to stop him. A whole decade’s worth of characters come together for one of the most explosive movies in the MCU’s history.
Thanos is absolutely magnificent in this film with Josh Brolin proving to be a perfect fit for the role. People have been joking about how all he does is sit on his chair and boss people around while he had yet to get one stone, here he realizes that if you want something done, you have to do it yourself. He’s actually the main character of the movie, as the film places a majority of focus on his search for the stones and his motivation. Thanos is no cartoonish, muahahaha villain. He is a genuinely complex and nuanced character. He sincerely believes what he is doing is right, and has moments of guilt and remorse over what he is doing. His relationship with his “daughter” Gamora is fascinating and extremely tragic to watch play out, as Thanos clearly does care about her in a very twisted way but also will hurt her emotionally and physically for the sake of his ambition. He is intelligent, cruel, and merciful all at once. Marvel had a great villain with Killmonger back in Black Panther, and they managed to match or arguably top him with Thanos.
Avengers: Infinity War is the first superhero movie since The Avengers to feel like an epic. The scope of its plot is massive, the stakes are on a universal scale, spanning across space itself and having a massive cast portraying larger than life characters. The plot is admittedly more of a vehicle for character interactions and gigantic action set pieces, but those two elements are so well handled that it hardly matters if at all. You care about these characters after watching them grow and learn from a decade’s worth of storylines and it is a blast to see characters that have never interacted before or haven’t interacted in years finally meet face to face.
A surprise is how dark the tone of Infinity War is. The very first scene is of Thanos and his followers in the aftermath of massacring the surviving Asgardians from Thor: Ragnarok, and it is horrific in its brutality. It’s not like the first two DCEU movies where the tone was so dark with no balance as to make the film actively unpleasant or boring, but the Russo Brothers wisely understand that it can’t be an action-comedy like Thor: Ragnarok was. People are going to die and there can’t be quips and jokes ever couple of minutes. The humor comes from the character interactions and the personalities working together. That way when the tragic moments happen (and believe me there is tragedy in this movie), they hit that much more to the viewer. A theme of the movie appears to be that when left unchecked, emotions and goals can have disastrous consequences on the people around you. Don’t mistake this sentence for trying to make Infinity War seem like a deep masterpiece, but I just happened to notice that and feel that lends the film some even more weight most of the MCU films lack.
There are a few things that hold this film back from reaching the levels of greatness in the first Avengers film. As mentioned before, the plot itself is nothing unique or special for a superhero movie for the most part, save for one aspect which I will save for the end. The sheer scale of the film also means no matter how balanced it is, and can feel a bit bloated at times, with some characters from past films that you would think be included being left out to keep the runtime at a bearable length. Which leads into the problem of certain sections of the film being better than others, due to the characters being so spread out across different story beats. None of the parts are bad, but some are absolutely outstanding while others just sit comfortably good. Anything with Thanos, the subplot of Thor journeying with Rocket and Groot, and lastly Iron Man, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and the other Guardians working to take down Thanos is the former. Finally while Alan Silvestri makes his triumphant return, along with his iconic theme song for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the music is mostly back to being just meh.
This is a shocking, gripping, and tragic movie that truly marks the beginning of the end for a certain number of Marvel characters, and perhaps is the beginning of a new chapter in the MCU’s life. It has its problems but they don’t get in the way of truly awe inspiring spectacle and beloved characters facing trials they have never before faced. You’ve either already seen it or had every intention of seeing it regardless of what the reviews said because you’ve been with the MCU since Iron Man back in 2008. Well I’m just here to tell you to stick around for the ride a little longer, because Avengers: Infinity War is one of the MCU’s best.
First I will give my score for the film, then my updated rankings of the MCU films, and then I will directly comment on the ending of Infinity War. If you don’t want to be spoiled, stop at the score or rankings.
1. The Avengers
2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
3. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
4. Avengers: Infinity War
5. Captain America: Civil War
6. Iron Man 3
7. Guardians of the Galaxy
8. Spider-Man: Homecoming
9. Thor: Ragnarok
11. Black Panther
12. Captain America: The First Avenger
13. Ant Man
14. Doctor Strange
15. Avengers: Age of Ultron
17. Iron Man 2
18. Thor: The Dark World
19. The Incredible Hulk
The ending to Avengers: Infinity War is the best of any MCU movie. Thanos wins. Completely and utterly wins. Half of the universe is wiped out, and many of our favorite heroes do not survive. Black Panther dies, Groot dies, Bucky Barnes dies, even Spider-Man dies. Those are just four of the characters that Thanos doesn’t just kill, but erases from existence itself. He kills Vision to get the final Infinity Stone, in an extremely brutal and gut wrenching death scene. The last words of the film are from Captain America, just saying dumbstruck in horror “Oh God.” Cue credits. Bravo Russo Brothers, because that is how you leave an audience hooked for the next movie.