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Avengers: Infinity War (2018) - Movie Review

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Avengers: Infinity War (2018) - Movie Review

Movie Review

4 starsThis reviewer has been around the block for over ten years. In that time nothing had been more irksome to me than a studio announcing a grand plan for multiple movies before the first one has even left the gate. I have always felt—and for the most part still do—that is pure corporate arrogance to shove something down an audience’s throat before they have had time to digest but a taste of what is on offer (listening Warners and Universal?)

Back before we were introduced to Iron Man and the first offerings of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s pantheon of characters, Kevin Feige and Disney fell into this category. The presumption! I thought. We will see just how many of these films we can stand.

I cannot overstate enough how pleased and awed I am by the performance of Feige and an army of performers, writers and contributors in what has been achieved since then. The MCU has carefully built upon each release without falter for a solid decade. They have done so with such skill that any question of fatigue, or a lull in the quality as we reach its culmination, has never come up. They have shown the world an unprecedented run of films that are so good that even this old DC Comics stalwart was excited to see their nineteenth entry.

Avengers: Infinity War is a rich soup, the combination of eighteen disparate movies that have been carefully crafted to culminate in this broad canvas of an epic, universe spanning conflict.

This film finally gives us the arrival of Thanos, a galactic despot obsessed with ridding the universe of half its population. He intends to achieve this horrific taste by assembling six infinity stones in his large golden gauntlet. With the power these stones provide, nothing can stand in his way. Of course, Earth’s mightiest heroes have other ideas, and quickly spring into action to thwart their common enemy.

"... a rich soup, the combination of eighteen disparate movies that have been carefully crafted to culminate in this broad canvas of an epic, universe spanning conflict."


 I cannot imagine the blank page that required the Russo brothers, together with writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, to assemble every main character from every film, as well as some supporting characters, and make that a story one can follow. Fortunately they were up to the task.

The trick was not to make any one hero the main character it seems. Everyone has their part to play to be assured, but this really is Thanos’s movie. He is, without a doubt, one of the most well drawn villains ever to grace one of these movies. He is not simply evil. He has conflicted emotions and motivations that stem from some rather great tragedies. There is a relatable way written into his past that at least helps you understand why he has made the choices in life he has, as repugnant as they are. That is truly excellent characterization.

As probably well covered in the paragraphs above, this movie is absolutely choked with characters. The great side of this is no one is left out. They are all involved in one way or another, and all get a moment or two, some quite affecting. The downside is so much occurs in this two and half hours that some of the weightier moments, the emotional turns, even some of the humour, while excellent, is not allowing the audience to breath.

This story pulls no punches. For all those who have incessantly predicted who won’t make it out, I’m here to tell you your estimates were not nearly high enough. Thanos is a villain to be reckoned with, and tangling with him means harrowing costs to all the good guys. Some of the deaths are shocking and violent—maybe too violent for the real little ones.

It makes for an affecting and emotional thrill ride that doesn’t let up. It is a sensory and emotional onslaught that will likely require multiple viewings to pick up all the finer details. It is difficult for me to level this packed narrative/breakneck pace as a criticism. All elements from an eighteen film saga in the one movie ask for a pace like this to even come close to servicing that responsibility. That it is coherent, that is does accomplish giving every main characters some screen time, and that some of it does emotionally resonate, is an extraordinary achievement.

Finally, when Marvel announced Infinity War initially it was intended to be a two-parter and titled as such. As production progressed it was later sold to us as a stand-alone film and we were told that Avengers 4 would be something else. That isn’t, in my opinion, accurate. There are already camps dividing on whether or not Infinity War is a self-contained story and the culmination long since promised by Marvel. I would say it feels more like an excellent first half, and next year’s Avengers film will be the curtain call. If this had been one of those young adult books that get divided into to two so a studio can cash in, I would be less gracious. But it isn’t; and Marvel earned this publicity spin. Infinity War is a rousing call to battle, full of tragedy and promise for what looks to be breathtaking final film in this twenty film saga.

Unmissable.

 

Film Details

Avengers: Infinity War (2018) - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, language and some crude references.
Runtime: 149 mins
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writer: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo
Genre: Action | Advnenture
Tagline: Destiny arrives.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Evacuate the city! Engage all defenses! And get this man a shield!"
Theatrical Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Official Site: https://marvel.com/avengers
Release Date: April 27, 2018
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: No details available.
Synopsis: The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.

 

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