It has been a hell of a ride, 10 years, 17 films and one of the most lucrative film franchises of all time. Now The Avengers face their greatest threat yet in the long-awaited Avengers: Infinity War.
Picking up where Thor: Ragnarok left off, Thanos (Josh Brolin) finally makes his move and seeks out the six Infinity Stones, six powerful objects created at the birth of the universe. With the universe in danger it’s up to The Avengers to stop the big purple beast as he targets Earth.
Avengers: Infinity War is a celebration of the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far: the title studio title card opens with the number 10, acknowledging the film is the MCU’s tenth anniversary.
Many of the previous films are referenced like Captain America: Civil War, Captain America: The First Avenger, both Guardians of the Galaxy films, The Avengers, Doctor Strange, Spider-man: Homecoming and even the maligned Thor: The Dark World. Audiences need to be clued up about the franchise because it jumps straight into the action and builds on the long-running plot of the series.
The basic plot of Avengers: Infinity War is simple: stop Thanos and his forces from gaining the Infinity Stones, yet there was depth because audiences have gotten know the characters and the backstory for a decade. It is a rewarding experience for fans of the franchise.
Avengers: Infinity War jumps straight into the action and it doesn’t let up. It is pure popcorn entertainment with many huge set-pieces on Earth and in space. Many of the heroes have a chance to shine whilst in New York, Wakanda or in the depths of space.
Compared to the Russo Brothers‘ previous MCU films, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War there was more emphasis on big scale action than one-on-one fights and it was better for it. Their previous films were too reliant on shaky cam and quick cuts. There were many times where my inner fanboy screamed during the action sequences.
Avengers: Infinity War is also the darkest film in the franchise so far: the stakes are higher, the Avengers face a ruthless enemy and the odds stacked against them. Avengers: Infinity War is a literal war film and grand in scale, being the Lord of the Rings/Star Wars of the MCU. Avengers: Infinity War is comparable to The Empire Strikes Back because of its tone, war story and forcing the heroes to their absolute limit.
Despite Avengers: Infinity War being a darker entry in the MCU it still retains the trademark humour and, because of the new team-ups, lead to some fun new dynamics. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) have similar personalities and IQs so end up butting heads whilst Thor (Chris Hemsworth) worked well with the Guardians of the Galaxy: continuing what Taika Waititi did with the third Thor film which was basically turning it into a Guardians of the Galaxy film.
Avengers: Infinity War is the biggest film in the MCU so far and many of the characters have returned in some form or another. Because of this, some characters were given more attention than others. It was understandable why Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Shuri (Letitia Wright) had reduced roles – Pepper was only in the beginning of the first Avengers and Shuri has to stay behind the front line. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) was really just there for the action scenes. Because of the scale of the film, Hawkeye and Valkyrie were cut from the final film.
Despite some characters having limited screen time many do have a moment to shine or have an arc. Iron Man, Doctor Strange and Spider-man made for a great trio, Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision’s (Paul Bettany) relationship was developed and Scarlet Witch got to show herself off as a badass and the Hulk has issues after his encounter with Thanos.
A problem affecting the MCU is its lackluster villains, although the franchise has improved a lot with their recent films. Thanos is a huge figure and his physical prowess is shown straight away by giving the Hulk a good beating. Brolin is a great actor, he has an imposing voice and he is shown to have a tender side because of his relationship with Gamora (Zoe Saldana).
However, my biggest gripe with the film is Thanos’ motivations because of his warped scene of benevolence which means he wants to wipe out half the universe. It’s hard to believe considering how sadistic the character can be. It would have been more believable if Thanos was on a mission to conquer the universe because he sees other races being incapable to rule themselves and that he kills half the people on a conquered planet as a show of strength.
I also have to give a special mention to Tom Vaughan-Lawlor as Ebony Maw, Thanos’ lieutenant. Ebony Maw was tall and lean, making himself the least physical out of Thanos’ ‘children’ but he makes up for it by having telekinetic powers and have a soft, calm yet menacing voice. He was the most developed out of all the secondary villains.
Avengers: Infinity War was the film that MCU fans wanted and it is one of the best the franchise has produced.