Jungle
Avengers: Infinity War

Dread it. Run from it. Destiny has finally arrived. Avengers: Infinity War is the culmination of 10 years and 18 films from Marvel Studios and is the most ambitious title of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ever since The Avengers in 2012, the mad titan Thanos has been operating from the shadows as the franchise’s end game villain, for better or worse, but Infinity War has him stepping into the light to rain chaos upon our heroes, the likes of which we’ve never seen. If Captain America: Civil War was the appetizer, then Infinity War is the main course.

 

The plot is actually pretty simple; Thanos is on a quest to collect the six immensely powerful Infinity Stones so he can wipe out half of all life in order to bring balance to the universe. He’s able to get his hands on a few of the stones with ease, but with Doctor Strange in possession of the Time Stone and the Mind Stone firmly planted within Vision’s head, he sends his best lieutenants, the Black Order, to Earth to retrieve them. The former Avengers do their best to put up a stand against Thanos and his army, with Tony Stark and Spider-Man joining Doctor Strange to protect the Mind Stone and Steve Rogers and the rest of Team Cap coming out of “retirement” to help Wanda and Vision. Meanwhile in space, Thor meets up with the Guardians of the Galaxy to forge a weapon powerful enough to defeat Thanos. There’s a lot going on all at once, but directors Joe and Anthony Russo do a wonderful job dividing time among the various subplots and giving each character their moment in the spotlight.

 

The first thing you should know about Infinity War is that this is not some movie you can just walk into without have any prior knowledge of the previous films. The entire story is driven by what came before it, and the Russo brothers waste no time in re-explaining things. The film jumps straight into the action and doesn’t let up. Without spoiling anything, I would actually say that the film moves too fast at times. There’s so much going on that there are a few things I would have liked to see more exposition of as they seem to come from out of left field. I would have also liked to see more of the Black Order. They’re all great, especially the menacingly creepy Ebony Maw, but there’s just not enough time devoted to them. That being said, I can definitely understand why they were glanced over; there’s just so much movie here.

 

Both The Avengers and Captain America: Civil War gave us amazing interactions between these many of Marvel superheroes, but Infinity War takes it to the next level. The cast list is massive in comparison, and it’s absolutely magical we get to see them all united on screen in various groups, both new and old. All of the banter is hilarious, from Iron Man meeting Star-Lord to Spider-Man’s naiveté next to an all-knowing Doctor Strange. The dialogue falls in line with the typical Marvel style of humor, but the laughs are more welcoming and necessary for when the film goes to a much darker and emotional tone.

 

Infinity War doesn’t hold anything back as the opening scene establishes Thanos as a force to be reckoned with. He’s completely dominant on screen, both in physical size and strength, and is a vast improvement over the pushover we’ve seen in previous cameo appearances. The Russos have stated in interviews that this is Thanos’ movie, and there’s no doubt about that. We’ve seen plenty of villains like him who crave power and domination over the world/universe, but Infinity War does an excellent job at showing what drives Thanos’ motives. Between all the action and humor, there are scenes that get up close and personal with his backstory and motivation. Josh Brolin does a fantastic job at showcasing the emotional turmoil behind the character. The CGI is so lifelike and when paired with the brilliant performance of Brolin we get some amazing up close and intimate moments with Thanos that paint him as something other than just a monster. It’s never enough to make you believe that destroying half the universe is ever a good thing, but his whole are will make you believe it when he says that he’s sacrificed everything for this moment. He’s a mad titan, but he’s one with purpose, which is something many of Marvel’s previous villains have been lacking.

 

From the story to the characters, Infinity War delivers everything you expect from Marvel Studios and so much more. It recaptures that same excitement had when I first saw Iron Man kick off the MCU or my amazement when everyone teamed up for the first time in The Avengers. My jaw dropped multiple times like when it did during the airport battle scene from Civil War. My eyes even started to well up like in that one scene from the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The Russo brothers hold nothing back.

 

Avengers: Infinity War isn’t just the beginning of the end for Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but for everything that came before it as well. Yes, we’re getting the currently untitled Avengers 4 next year so the impact of Infinity War doesn’t quite have the finality you would expect, but that doesn’t make what happens any less devastating in the moment. Furthermore, it’s a reminder that closure is coming to this chapter of the MCU, and like destiny, there is nothing we can do to stop it.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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