Avengers: Infinity War Review

Avengers Infinity War

So here we are at last. After 10 years of films and six years since Thanos first appeared on screen, the big pay off… or at least, the first half of the big pay off. To be honest they should have kept the Part I and Part II in the title like they were going to originally, but hey-ho, it’s still a hell of a two and a half hour ride full of amazing fight scenes, amusing banter and a surprisingly (and very un-MCU-like) fleshed out villain at the centre of it. Now more than ever, I’d skip straight to the “Overall Thoughts” at the bottom of the page and avoid all of this review under the *spoilers appear from here on out!* tag if you haven’t seen the film already…

Official Synopsis:

Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk and the rest of the Avengers unite to battle their most powerful enemy yet — the evil Thanos. On a mission to collect all six Infinity Stones, Thanos plans to use the artefacts to inflict his twisted will on reality. The fate of the planet and existence itself has never been more uncertain as everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment.

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters (*takes deep breath*):

Avengers Infinity War 3

Wait a minute… Hulk wasn’t in this battle at all, the trailer lied! Maybe I’ll replace it down the line, when blu-ray screengrabs are available…

Tony Stark / Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) – Ever since he plunged into the other-dimensional hole that opened above New York six years ago, Tony knew in the back of his mind that something else, something bigger was coming… He was sadly correct…

Steve Rogers / Captain America (Chris Evans) – Steve is on the run from his own government after refusing to sign the Sokovia accords. That doesn’t mean he isn’t still fighting the good fight… he’s always a phone call away…

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) – Thor is leading what’s left of his people away from the ruins of Asgard… that is until his ship meets the much larger ship belonging to Thanos…

The Hulk / Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) – Bruce / Hulk is also on board Thor’s ship, and is therefore also in immediate danger from the approaching Thanos…

Peter Quill / Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) – It’s been a good while since Peter had to kill his planet-sized father, but he’s still the same jokey outlaw / do-gooder and he’s still surrounded by his fellow Guardians…

Gamora (Zoe Saldana) – Gamora is a the adopted daughter of Thanos, and knows of her father’s ultimate goal in life: to halve the population of the universe. It’s because of this that she never wants to see him again, which is understandable, but…

Doctor Strange (Benedict Cunberbatch) – Master of the Mystic Arts, Doctor Strange is still relatively new to the Sorcerer Supreme business, but he’s a fast learner… which is good, because he’ll soon have to put his magical ability to use…

T’Challa / Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) – T’Challa is the King of Wakanda, and its protector in the guise of the Black Panther. His nation is still new to the idea of working with other countries, but… you know, when half of the population of the universe is at stake…

Peter Parker / Spider-Man (Tom Holland) –Peter is happy using his powers to help the people of New York, while still putting up with school life… Having said that, when a giant alien ship appears above New York, he’s quick to act, even with the raised stakes…

Thanos (Josh Brolin) – After he saw his own people destroy themselves due to over-population and using up their own resources, despite his plan to halve the population of the planet to save it being proposed, he made a decision: if no-one else wants to bring balance to the universe and save all the other races, then he’ll do it himself… all at once.

Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) – Wanda is on the run after joining the uprising against Iron Man and the Sokovia accords, but she’s not alone. Vision and her have fallen in love, despite all odds, and are off the grid, enjoying their own company…

Vision (Paul Bettany) – Vision is entirely synthetic, but with the Mind Stone in his head, he is far more than an android. He is able to love, to want, to care for… and he is also a target of Thanos…

Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) – Black Widow is also on the run from the US government after helping Captain America and the Winter Soldier escape custody two years ago.

Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) – Bucky is living in Wakanda after having his mind cleared of Hydra control. He knows sooner or later that he will be pulled into war again, but until then he’ll enjoy his life of peace…

Sam Wilson / Falcon (Anthony Mackie) – Falcon is a close friend of Captain America, and therefore has also spent the past two years on the run. He still has his flying suit though!

James Rhodes / War Machine (Don Cheadle) – Rhodey was crippled during the Civil War, and although he is able to walk again thanks to technology, what he went through is still clear in his mind, to the point where signing the Sokovia accords may have been his greatest mistake…

Drax The Destroyer (Dave Bautista) – Drax is a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and holds a major grudge against Thanos for killing his wife and child…

Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) – Rocket is a genetically modified Raccoon-like being that’s also a member of the Guardians. He like guns and money, but has just enough of a soft side that he sticks with his new friends…

Groot (Vin Diesel) – Groot has now reached his teens after re-growing from a seed… which is a weird sentence. Anyway, he is a member of the Guardians, but is more interested in computer games right now.

Mantis (Pom Klementieff) – An empathic member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. She is very kind and naïve, but willing to help in a crisis.

Ebony Maw (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor) – Maw is a member of the “Children of Thanos” and loyally serves his Master in his culling of half the population of various worlds…

And many more! *finally begins to breathe again*

The Good:

Avengers Infinity War 2

I’m also pretty sure at this point he had four Stones… That crazy trailer, keeping some things secret!

Looking back, it makes the most sense to start with the bad, as in the villain of the story: Thanos. So much of the criticism of the MCU films is that they don’t develop the villains, so it comes as a very pleasant surprise to see the Mad Titan so well developed here. Now, I’m not going to say I “felt sorry for him”, but he does have some emotion weight to him. He saw his own people get wiped out despite his technically correct plan of randomly culling half the population to save his entire race being thrown back at him. He actually felt sorry for and came to love Gamora, even though she hated him for all his obvious flaws as a person… admittedly, in order to get the Soul Stone he had to sacrifice her life, but it did genuinely break his heart to do it, so… *ahem*… Yeah, anyway, finally his plan to wipe out half of the universe is solely so no race goes extinct the way his did. He sees himself as a savour, and technically he’s right, but… you know, there are other ways to do this that don’t involve trillions dying.

Speaking of trillions dying, Thanos actually completes his plan! What an ending, eh? I mean, I’m fully expecting the Guardians, Spider-Man and Black Panther at least will be brought back to life in Avengers 4 because they all have sequels in the pipeline (or in Panther’s case, his film was so successful that a sequel will blatantly be made…) but it doesn’t take away from the emotional punch of Thanos winning, the heroes that are left hanging their heads in shame while the Mad Titan looks at a sunset pleased that he finally “helped the universe out”. Looking forward to A4 now, interestingly the lead Avengers left, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and Hulk, are all the original ones whose contracts are up with the next movie…

On to the good guys. There are some really fun pairings here that lead to some great fights. The main one is Doctor Strange, Iron Man and Spider-Man, while the latter two already know each other, it’s fun seeing Strange and Stark trade egos. I laughed when Parker arrived to help Iron Man against one of Thanos’ minions and asks what’s going on, leaving Iron Man to respond “Aliens have landed to try and a steal a necklace from a wizard”, and Spider-Man just goes with it. Strange’s fight with Ebony Maw is good, but his part of the battle with Thanos was amazing. It’s good to see his power be so well on display. The whole scene on Titan, with Iron Man, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Star-Lord, Drax and Mantis all battling and very nearly beating Thanos was the highlight of the film for me. It was so well choreographed and shot. Strange said over and over that he would never hand the Time Stone over to Thanos, and yet he did to save Stark… although after he used it to view several million possible outcomes of their battle. I’m convinced he knew what he was doing would lead to victory, otherwise it would be rather terrible writing as I’m sure he could have just kept the stone in his … dimension or where ever it was he hid it.

Meanwhile, back on Earth: The scenes with Scarlet Witch and Vision are really sweet, which is a nice nod to the old comics. Vision using logic to say that they should destroy his stone to save half the universe made sense, and I’m glad she eventually went through with it, even if Thanos just used the Time Stone to undo it and grab it back… then she was one of the randomly chosen to be turned to ash, so… that thread’s gone for now! The rest of the good guy cast gathering at Wakanda was a good idea, and lead to a nice sweeping battlefield shot, and the death of the rest of Thanos’ cult. Thanos very quickly dispatching everyone on his way to Vision was suitably epic, and a good final display of just how utterly over-powered he is.

Then there’s Thor, who goes on a quest to get a new hammer, meeting the legendary blacksmith Eitri (played by Peter Dinklage!) and eventually getting the Stormbreaker Axe and tearing up the Wakandan battlefield and landing a near-fatal blow to Thanos… but not fatal enough to stop him from wiping out half of the universe… Oh well, can’t have ’em all!

Hulk / Banner have a mini story as well, as after getting easily beaten by Thanos, Hulk refuses to appear, leaving Bruce having to fight for himself, which he eventually does via the Hulkbuster armour. It’ll lead to a nice air-punching moment when he finally gets over his fear and emerges to fight again in the next film.

Oh and the Red Skull returned! After his vanishing act with the first Infinity Stone in Captain America: The First Avenger, it’s revealed that he was given the task to guard the Soul Stone forever as punishment, to be so close to what he wanted to take, but never allowed to take it. It was a nice extra bit of continuity to get tied up.

The Bad:

Avengers Infinity War 1

Star-Lord and Iron Man… One of the last “weird to see them interacting with each other” moments left in the MCU!

Not a lot, really! As a massive team up movie about Thanos collecting the Infinity Stones, it is what it is. It opens with action, a few minutes later there’s action in New York, and it just never stops… I guess that’s sort of a criticism, but given what the movie is and how it also told Thanos’ backstory well, fleshed out several of the relationships like Vision and Scarlet Witch and…I didn’t mention the great romantic scenes between Quill and Gamora, did I? … well, that was also a good relationship plot thread, and generally was quite the thrill ride. Just don’t go if your expecting a well plotted drama, go for the action, humour and spectacle.

I will mention how the cliffhanger ending does make this feel like Part 1, as it was originally advertised, but I’m used to things being partly to set up the next Episode, as it were, so it doesn’t bother me. Part 2 is out in a year, and in two years I’ll have both parts next to each other on my shelf, so… no hard feelings for the next 12 months of leaving me hanging…

I will say that staying to the end of the credits (and subsequently leading me to just miss my bus and having to wait for 25 minutes at the bus stop…) was not worth it this time. Nick Fury and Agent Hill see people start to vanish via Thanos’ will, leading to Fury managing to get a message out to Captain Marvel, setting up her film early next year, before vanishing into dust himself (and nearly saying “Mother Fucker!”… had to happen sooner or later with him!) It… just wasn’t up to much.

Overall Thoughts:

Avengers Infinity War 4

“New York is under threat from aliens?! … again?!”

Infinity War has an impossibly large cast to juggle, and yet somehow manages to do it, all the while fleshing out its lead villain into a well-rounded character and moving several others forward. It has wall-to-wall action and some amazing fight scenes, as well as some legitimately funny moments. As a celebration of 10 years of the MCU, this is a real blast… now I can’t wait for the other half…

5 Star Watch

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