Sigh. It’s taken me awhile to compose myself to write this so please bear with me here.
Marvel Studios has always been best described as setting the bar high for superhero movies in this generation. Nothing quite like it has ever come in such an influential yet captivating wave for a comic genre that was so niche and isolated from conventional society in the past, and proved to be the shaping force of the monolith industry of movies. Avengers Infinity War doesn’t just push the bar higher but completely decimates the superhero movie standard and brings doom to any hope of which you would expect for the costumed heroic franchises.
Fair warning: it would be hard to review this movie without hinting a few spoilers so if you haven’t seen the movie and want a fresh take without this fanboy’s input, please skip this review until you have. I might just be pouring my heart out with this one.
As a 30 year old man, I am not one who usually gets so drawn in and invested in the entertainment of movies. Sure I get a good laugh and sometimes get my heart strings jerked from the best but nothing quite like this has ever happened to me as an audience – I cried. More on this later.
Infinity War kicks off the training wheels and really goes into fifth gear with the opening scene. No more heroic montage of sequences to get you excited seeing your favourite heroes kick ass and throw witty jokes. That time is done. You are met with malice and death which is the grim promise that Russo brothers guaranteed as directors of this daring venture.
It starts off straight after the events of Thor Ragnarok (as predicted in my previous article) and though we’ve seen bad guys doing bad things before, this particular introduction to Thanos sets the tone for the entire movie and that’s a dreadful notion to hang on to.
The movie beautifully handles its menagerie cast without the expense of discounting their performances. In the runtime of 260 minutes, Infinity War proves that proper pacing and balancing of multiple stories with a great ensemble is indeed a possible feat (given that you’ve already established 10 years worth of character origins).
Much of the film didn’t feel like a comic book movie anymore but more like a comic book event where all we needed to do was get into the nitty gritty and deliver the blow we’ve all been wanting since this all began. That satisfaction does deliver and quite frankly, put a smile on my face.
One of the most stellar performances that I personally enjoyed was the romance between Scarlet Witch and the Vision, which is finally fleshed out after seeing hints of it in Captain America Civil War. It never really played out well in the comics, a woman and an android getting together, but seeing it on screen was believable thanks to the talented Elizabeth Olsen, who adds so much more depth to Wanda, and Paul Bettany, who really humanises Vision through his outstanding portrayal. It seemed fitting that their heightened roles played a dramatic part in the third act of the film and it was dealt with a heavy blow.
A disappointment initially found quite nagging was the weak portrayal of the Black Order. In my previous article, I spoke highly of each member simply because they were the emissaries to Thanos and that if you couldn’t handle them then you’re no match for their master. Seeing them being discarded like pawns did leave a bad taste in my mouth given how shallow each of them were.
But seeing Thanos slowly rise to even greater power in the conclusion did make up for most of it. I was glad to hear The Ebony Maw narrate most of the impending doom upon the heroes in his scenes but seeing him pathetically flushed out into space to his demise might as well have demeaned him to being Mr. Burns.
Thanos obviously rises to the occasion in this one. Carrying the whole movie on his shoulders, you can’t dismiss that this was his time to shine – the roles reversed from heroes saving the day to finally the villain being triumphant.
Initially I was afraid that he would be reduced to a babbling idiot much like Ultron and Loki but thankfully, I was delightfully wrong in every way. His drive to balancing the universe by wiping it out in half made sense and having his own perspective in playing God in doing what he thought was right does prove heroic if not evil to others. In the end, he was willing to sacrifice his own love for the greater good and that’s where I think he rises above every other villain we’ve ever known. He is the hero in this story.
At the film’s climax, I started to go through what most would feel when encountering death – shock, denial, anger and sadness all rushed through me in that second. Never have we faced the reality of what could happen to our beloved heroes in that instant and like every other fanboy with me, I was in tears to see what had happened 10 years later. It wasn’t so much of who but rather more on how it was all delivered that really drew me into the moment and stuck with me until now. Like buying a ticket to Disneyland only to realise you’re going to a funeral.
I still feel the effects of the Infinity War three days later and as much as I want to, I can’t bring myself to going for a second viewing just yet. There was just a lot to take in and it’s unwise to have a second serving when you’re already full.
Infinity War does deliver on the elements that we could’ve expected from the comic book but nothing could have prepared us for the twists they were willing to take in telling such a compelling story for a modern and general audience.
Avengers Infinity War – 10/10