The first review after such a long time had to be something big. And what’s bigger than the “most ambitious crossover in history”? Avengers: Infinity War, directed by the Russo Brothers, presents the biggest threat that the universe has witnessed, and as you would expect, the film has taken the world by storm. Some have loved the film, others have hated it… So, is the Avenger’s latest adventure any good? Let’s find out!
Thanos continues to look for the remaining Infinity Stones in his quest to balance the universe. With the Power Stone already in hand, he will try to find the other five gems (Space, Time, Reality, Soul and Mind) in order to wipe half of the living creatures from existence. Completely blinded by this mission, he will become the biggest threat the Avengers have ever faced. Luckily, this will be the biggest superhero team-up in the Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, so they will have a chance to fight back.
In order to prepare for this review, I’ve read both Infinity Gauntlet and Infinity War. Despite its title, this film is loosely based on the former, but I must say that the adaptation is not as precise as I had expected. In fact, the very end of the movie happens in the first of six chapters the comic-book has! I don’t think I know Marvel’s lore properly enough to draw detailed comparisons, but I will say that the motivations of the villain have been severely changed. In the original, he is a guy trying to get the attention of the woman he loves: Death herself. He blindly follows her orders in order to get her trust, and that love is his biggest weakness. However, in this new take on the story, as stated earlier, it is his own mission, which makes him even more menacing.
That scary nature of Thanos is the driving force of the film. It is quite unusual for the bad guy to be the protagonist of a superhero flick and it works wonderfully. His motivations are very clear, it’s more than obvious that he is willing to do absolutely anything to achieve them. Quite arguably, he is the best villain yet in the MCU (which is not saying much, but… I guess it’s something). It’s quite a shame he is a huge CGI dude, though. I mean, it’s not terrible or anything, in fact the facial expressions of actor behind the character, Josh Brolin, can still be noticed, but computer-generated effects aren’t all that terrifying.
He is joined by… well, basically everyone you already know. There’s well over 15 main superheroes playing big roles, so they are divided in smaller, more manageable groups, with each group having specific objectives in a grand villain-stopping scheme. The groups are quite diverse, with characters from different films put together to create new relationships. These new chemistries work really great, but I wish there are characters that never meet, which leaves the audience wondering what other cool combinations could’ve been made. Maybe we will get some answers when the sequel arrives. Individually analysing every character would take a long time, so let’s just briefly cover the main groups instead.
Team Iron Man is probably the most interesting of the bunch, with the lovely Stark/Spiderman duo creating lots of memorable moments you may have already seen in memes. We already saw them together in Homecoming (a rather forgettable movie) and their relationship is still as cute as it was back then. Dr. Strange plays a big role in this team too, and the chemistry with Iron Man is just amazing. They understand reality in different ways, so they are concerned with each other’s methods constantly, resulting in lots of witty lines.
Team Captain America doesn’t feel like a new team, at least until they meet with Wakanda’s heroes, but they definitely are a bunch of them: Captain America, Black Widow, Vision, Scarlet Witch, War Machine, Hulk and Falcon. Their relationships had already been explored in previous films, so this is probably the least interesting group in the movie. It doesn’t feel bland or anything, it’s just that we’ve already seen them together.
Finally, Thor gets the help of Rocket and Groot when trying to get a new weapon. There’s no much to say about them, but they create lots of fun moments throughout their journey, so it’s definitely a good addition. The rest of the Guardians are with them during the first few scenes, but go elsewhere with their own mission pretty early in the movie.
Performances are alright, basically what you expect from the actors we have seen so many times on-screen already. There’s no big letdowns nor surprises, which I consider to be a positive thing considering the overall quality of the cast. The highlight, together with Brolin, is Chris Hemsworth, who has the most interesting character arc of them all. He does an amazing job as Thor, and I think it’s pretty unfair his character has had awful movies so far. Infinity War ends that terrible streak and gives his character proper motivation, problems to face and relationships to build. He is super handsome with that short hair too. Just sayin’.
Thanos isn’t the only computer generating character in the film, as Iron Man, Spiderman and others are just that. In fact, lots and lots of the locations and elements shown throughout the runtime are digitally created. The overall quality is fantastic, but there are certain backdrops that really detract from the presentation. Therefore, there are many situations in which the suspension of disbelief is pretty much shattered. I guess this will vary from viewer to viewer, but at least from my point of view, the key scenes in which the stakes are at their highest do not suffer from this problem, and are fully enjoyable even by CGI hating fans. Watching the movie on the big screen was a great experience, but re-watching it at home delivers a more than decent experience too. For instance, I’ve just watched the film for a third time to prepare the review, and it has been on a 4K 24” monitor, and the quality of the image holds up very well.
Camera work is good overall, with some pretty imaginative shots sprinkled here and there. On the other hand, lots of runtime is shot / reverse shot over and over again, which makes the conversational parts of the film quite mediocre. The same can’t be said about the action scenes, though, as the Russo Brothers once again prove they now how to make the most of a fight. Taking into consideration the vast amount of action-packed sequences, it’s more than clear that the directors have made a big effort, and it has definitely paid off.
They have managed to create a perfect tone and atmosphere too. Most recent MCU flicks have had a problem with uncontrolled humour just for the sake of it, but Infinity War surely knows when giggles are appropriate and, more importantly, when they’re not. The very first scene makes this obvious, as the movie kicks off with a crude scene in which a beloved character dies. This is not child’s play anymore. In addition to this, I was surprised how well the more emotional moments were handled, as I’m rarely touched by action films, yet this one did manage to create powerful scenes.
Soundtrack, however… is still pretty bland. The tunes used during sequences in Wakanda are the best it has to offer, as those tracks reminisce those of Black Panther. Other than that, generic Marvel tunes here and there, and nothing more. It’s a shame that they haven’t been able to establish a title song for any of the characters the way DC has. The Batman theme in The Dark Knight Trilogy, Wonder Woman’s theme in the DCEU… They sure have nailed them. Marvel only has one memorable song, which is the Avenger’s theme, but it isn’t that good either. (Fun fact: every time I try to hum it, I end up singing the main song from The Incredibles by accident)
All in all, the Avengers haven’t let us down. Infinity War is part of the history of cinema due to its ambitions, and while the end result is nowhere near perfect, it’s still great. Rewatches don’t add a lot, and the long runtime (150 min) does feel a little bit too long once you know what the beats will be. However, this is a must for any MCU fan, as it completely feels like a culmination to all the Marvel films we’ve been watching for a decade. And that’s quite an accomplishment, without a doubt. 7/10