With eighteen Marvel movies leading up to this point one can’t help but be a little stoked to see the superhero team-up to end all team-ups. If you thought it was cool seeing Spider-Man and the Black Panther mixing it up with The Avengers during Captain America: Civil War, this film will blow your socks off, and directors Joe and Anthony Russo somehow juggle a cast of a dozen varied heroes—and one particularly awesome villain—to give us the movie we’ve all been waiting for.
With members of the world’s mightiest heroes having recently had a nasty falling-out over some philosophical differences and bad blood—shedding much blood, sweat, and tears in the process—it would take a massive threat to bring this group back together again, so lucky for us (or unlucky if you look at it from the point of view of those that don’t make it to the end credits), the villainous Thanos (Josh Brolin) has finally got off his badass throne to put his endgame into motion. Now both Marvel and DC have had a tough time coming up with compelling villains (we are still waiting for one from DC), but with Avengers: Infinity War, we not only get a villain who had been painstakingly set-up since the first Avengers movie, with elements seeded throughout the intervening years, but Thanos is also one of the best villains we’ve seen in quite some time as not only is he more than a credible threat to our band of heroes, but he is given excellent characterizations and motivations to work with.
The basic premise to this 19th installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that Thanos is collecting the all-powerful Infinity Stones that, when found and installed in his Gauntlet, he will have the power to end the life of half the population of the universe with just the snap of his fingers. And just why does the mad Titan want to wipe out half of the universe? Well it seems Thanos is a bit of an extreme environmentalist as he believes that the resources of the universe are finite, and with the current overpopulation, extinction is just a matter of time. Killing trillions is the logical step.
Of course our heroes don’t quite see things that way, so they all must put on their big boy pants and saddle up to face Thanos and his many evil minions. And we are talking a lot of heroes and a lot of evil minions. Avengers: Infinity War is broken down into three simple threads with various heroes teaming up to prevent Thanos from collecting all six of the Infinity Stones: Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) find themselves far out of their comfort zone when they head into deep space to take the fight to Thanos on his homeworld; then there is Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) who end up in Wakanda with Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) as they try to hold off the “Children of Thanos” from ripping the Mind Stone from Vision’s (Paul Bettany) head; and finally we have Thor (Chris Hemsworth) running into the Guardians of the Galaxy after his encounter with Thanos left him stranded in space. Thus we get Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Drax (Dave Bautista), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Mantis (Pom Klementieff), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), and Groot (Vin Diesel) thrown into the mix.
The Russo Brothers set themselves quite a task in trying to organize such a full roster of heroes in a two and a half hour movie, but what impressed me the most was the core emotional moments that anchor the film – Gamora’s tragic history with Thanos being the stand-out moment in a film full of stand-out moments – and we really do get a sense of the stakes at play here. The possible death of trillions of people across the universe is too abstract to have any real emotional weight on an audience, so the Russo Brothers give us characters we have grown to love over a decade of movies and puts them all in harm’s way, asking the question, “What would you sacrifice to save countless lives?”
Avengers: Infinity War isn’t the best superhero movie ever made – I’ll let others debate which film that would be – but it is one hell of an achievement with the culmination of characters and story arcs that we saw built up over a decade of movies, all in the service of a balls-to-the-wall action film that should delight even the most jaded movie goer. The biggest criticism I can half-heartedly lob at this movie is that it is very much a part one and its “To be continued” cliffhanger could leave some viewers with a sour taste in their mouths, but at least we only have a year to wait to see how our heroes can pull the universe’s collective fat out of the fire. P.S. Don’t forget to stay for the all-important credit cookie.
• Spider-Man had a much larger part than I expected and his Iron Spider suit kicked ass.
• Once Thanos has a few of the Infinity Stones, the script has to fudge things quite a bit so he doesn’t instantly destroy several heroes.
• Some of the trademark quips and jokes undercut the tension and drama a couple times.
• Peter Dinklage as a giant dwarf was brilliant.
• A certain cameo involving a cloaked character was awesome.
• Something like the Time Stone is always going to be a problem.
• I love teenage Groot.