Avengers Infinity War Review

The Plot

Almost every hero from Marvel’s vast cinematic universe are drawn together to face the ultimate threat to the Universe from god like supervillain Thanos, a seemingly unstoppable foe determined to obtain absolute power over the cosmos with apocalyptic consequences.

The Good

Marvel’s game changing creation of a fully integrated cinematic universe incorporating their entire vast archives of mighty heroes and sinister villains reaches a dramatic crescendo in Infinity War after over a decade. It’s simply impossible to understate just how well Marvel has succeeded in the daunting task of bringing each iconic character to life while also fully integrating them into an ongoing connected story. It is an act of world building on a truly unprecedented and miraculous scale.

Gathering together countless iconic characters Infinity War offers an endless array of novel interactions between them, adding up to blockbuster action unlike anything fans have seen before. It’s pure comic book heaven to finally see Tony Stark, Doctor Strange, Star Lord and Spider-Man trading quips side by side in the same film. When the Avengers first assembled that marriage of combined acting talents added up to simply awesome levels of screen presence. Infinity War yet again raises that bar even higher. Each character has distinct individual arcs and these are only brought more vividly to life by the interactions between them. Seen in combination it becomes clear just how much core characters have grown during the franchise and how quickly new characters have established themselves as equally important.

The Guardians of The Galaxy were initially viewed as Marvel’s most obscure and audaciously original addition to its cinematic universe. In hindsight they are actually one of the most vital components at the heart of the MCU’s biggest story arc. The Guardians not only helped expand the Marvel universe in weirder cosmic directions, it also provided a perfect comedic counterpoint to the darker and occasionally sullen tone adopted by other characters. Infinity War takes full advantage of that invaluable comedic charm, with Chris Pratt and Dave Bautista in particular on undeniably scene stealing form throughout.

The film readily relies on the Guardians to not only offset the film’s more heart-breaking moments with laugh out loud respites, but also to carry the bulk of responsibility for adding depth and purpose to god like villain Thanos.

Under director James Gunn’s the Guardians films have perfectly slipped surprising emotional depth in amongst wisecracking intergalactic action. It’s brilliant to see Infinity War follow that pattern, with Zoe Saladana’s Gamora and Bradley Cooper’s Rocket in particular taking their performances to even more soul searching levels.

Josh Brolin also deserves special praise for his portrayal of Thanos. Having been teasingly introduced across several past films his character’s awe inspiring power is finally fully unleashed in Infinity War, providing the ultimate adversary for all the collected Marvel heroes. Due to Brolin’s skill and flawless visual effects, it’s easy to forget that his performance is a work of CGI and motion capture magic.

It’s surreal to observe just how effortlessly Marvel can make a full CGI character the centre of its entire universe whilst DC can’t even manage to get rid of Henry Cavill’s facial hair. While it’s perhaps cruel to make such obvious comparisons, it’s also helpful in assessing just how spectacularly well Infinity War succeeds to compare its minor flaws with just how bad the hot mess of DC’s hastily assembled Justice League was.

Avengers Infinity War raises the bar yet again for Marvel, pumping up the stakes for characters and audiences while setting a perfect stage for next year’s climactic conclusion. It will be an agonising wait for part 2, but at least it gives fans time to digest and celebrate Infinity War and everything Marvel have given us.

The Bad

While Infinity War is often brilliant it does also occasionally suffer from the incredible burden of having to hastily introduce so very many characters to both audiences and each other; whilst simultaneously trying to explain and advance a sprawling plot as big and complex as the Universe itself. With so very many strands of storytelling to tie together after a decade of disparate adventures it’s a constant challenge to give each character their ‘moments’ during this long awaited climax.

While the film undeniably succeeds in so many ways it is sometimes a little fractured as it swiftly jumps literally from one side of the universe to the other. More casual viewers of the Marvel movies may also find themselves occasionally overloaded with information and less rewarded than those dedicated fans who have an intimate knowledge of all of Marvel’s past big screen outings. As a specific example anyone who missed the superb Thor Ragnarok will struggle to keep up with Infinity War’s starkly dramatic opening moments.

Predictably some fans may also feel agonised by the fate of both individual characters and the wider MCU, but it’s important to remember that this is merely the first half of a two film journey, with next year’s as yet untitled sequel undoubtedly addressing many of the uncertainties and anxieties likely to be left by this first chapter.

The Ugly Truth

Avengers Infinity War is a satisfyingly vast and epic super hero adventure that seamlessly brings the wondrous Marvel cinematic universe together in even more profound and poignant ways than any film to date in the decade long franchise. Infinity War demands immediate and repeated viewing as many fans will find it takes time to process everything that happens and all of the seismic shifts that take place in the MCU.

Review by Russell Nelson

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