Avengers Infinity War
Starring Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johannson, Mark Ruffalo, Chadwick Boseman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, Peter Dinklage, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Don Cheadle, Elizabeth Olsen, Kren Gillan, Zoe Saldana, Pom Klementieff, Sebastian Stan, Idris Elba, Tom Hiddleston, Letitia Wright, Paul Bettany and Josh Brolin
Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo
The biggest challenge I am going to face in writing a review of this film is to not spoil anything. The problem is that there is so much story to tell that it is almost impossible. So bear with me as I do my best and forgive me if I spoil anything for you.
First things first, this is an epic movie from start to finish. The scale of it is huge and it manages to accommodate it’s incredibly large cast of characters. Everyone is given their moment in this film and many of the characters are given the opportunity to elevate, especially Zoe Saldana’s Gamora. Her history with Thanos serves a backdrop for her part in his plan as well as a secret she’s been hiding from everyone since the first Guardians of the Galaxy film.
To break down the plot: The film begins after the events of Thor: Ragnarok. The ship holding the fleeing Asgardians is attacked by Thanos and his Black Order which consists of Cull Obsidian, Proxima Midnight, Corvus Glaive and Ebony Maw. Thanos has decided to take a more active role in events and is on board the ship as well, leading to a confrontation with his former partner Loki. What happens next leads to Hulk being returned to Earth before the Asgardian ship is destroyed.
The means of sending him back draws him directly to the Sanctum Sanctorum and Stephen Strange. I loved the scene between Strange and Wong before Hulk’s arrival. It was very natural and almost felt like an improv riff that the two were making up on the spot. Bruce’s return prompts Strange to seek out Tony Stark and for them to strategize on what to do with the threat of Thanos approaching. Unfortunately, they won’t have long as Cull Obsidian and Ebony Maw descend on New York to retrieve the Time stone.
What happens next splits the narrative into different locations. The road to get there is full of spoilers, so I won’t discuss them. Needless to say, one team is in outer space, another on Earth and the third at a location that is the most dangerous in the galaxy. The reason why the story works overall is that none of these locations feels like a waste. Each one is significant for a different reason and they play a role in crafting the story as well as grounding and connecting the characters.
All of the performances are top-notch and the interactions between certain characters are amazing to see. Drax’s infatuation with Thor is hilarious. Stark and Strange have great scenes together. Spider-Man and Stark continue their relationship from Spider-Man: Homecoming. The evolution of Rocket is funny to see as well. To the film’s credit, at no point did I feel that any of the moments between characters was filler and having ten years of a cinematic universe to draw from, the interactions are on par with your impression of how they would speak to each other.
Josh Brolin’s Thanos is amazing. His presence commands every scene that he’s in and there is a level of empathy that is undeniable. You can’t want him to succeed, but you also can’t easily dismiss his reasoning. He’s not a typical villain, mostly because of his dispassionate manner. He has no anger or animus for the heroes he’s fighting. He doesn’t hate or despise them. He almost talks to them the way he does to young Gamora in the film. He believes they are children who simply don’t understand that he’s trying to do what’s best for them. It’s a brilliant performance.
I will tell you right now, this movie will make you angry at times, sad at others and leave you bewildered at the end. There are some intense action scenes and moments that might scare younger viewers, so be prepared to answer some questions later. The entire end of the film feels like the building crescendo of a symphony and it ends with the feeling that the rest of the song is about to begin. The Russo brothers delivered on the promise of the MCU in a huge way and audiences will definitely be talking about this film for a while.