Avengers: Infinity War

avengers_infinity_war_ver2STARS3.5There’s no denying that Avengers: Infinity War is a most impressive undertaking. The internet recently confirmed this back in March when a series of memes dubbed the movie “The most ambitious crossover event in history” followed by alternate examples of when two other fictional pop culture universes collided. Infinity War is the apex of a decade’s worth of installments. All eighteen films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been leading up to this picture, or at least that’s what we were promised. A drama in which all, or at least most, of the Avengers would unite against a common threat. You see there’s this evil guy named Thanos. He wants to collect these things called Infinity Stones so he can destroy half of humanity. We’ve already seen this brute pop up in The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy and Age of Ultron. But now he’s taken center stage. The antagonist is made to be the central focus around which all of our favorites can unite against.

This is a saga about what happens when good faces off against evil in a series of combat scenes. The action is connected by quieter moments in which people discuss things. The good news is, these moments of conversation are well written. Let’s give credit to a screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (all three Captain America films – The First Avenger, The Winter Soldier and Civil War) that manages to juggle a ridiculous amount of speaking parts and still captivate our interest. The best parts of Infinity War are the opportunities to see allies that have never shared the screen, interact with each other. Instead of a wild open-ended free-for-all, it deftly commands some organization by compartmentalizing like-minded personalities into vignettes.

Certain individuals really get their moment to stand out. Watching alpha male Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) go toe to toe with another dominant spirit like Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in a heated exchange is a comical delight. The same goes for when megalomaniac Tony Stark / Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) converses with the egotistical temperament of sorcerer Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). During another encounter in Wakanda, the Scarlet Witch has her back up against the wall in a clash with Proxima Midnight, one of Thanos’ crew. Black Widow and Okoye come to her aid in a rousing display of female sisterhood. Unfortunately, the script must reduce some characters to surprisingly lackluster personalities in their designated scenes. With his beard, Chris Evans feels more like Paul Bunyan than Captain America in his limited appearance. On the other hand, Thanos as the villain of the piece is given an incredible amount of attention. He’s fully a CGI creation with a facial motion capture performance by Josh Brolin. Granted the entire plot is built around Thanos but I would have reduced his role for the opportunity to give some other people a chance to shine – Black Panther for example. His screen time is frustratingly restrained.

In many respects, Infinity War is fashioned around the Guardians of the Galaxy and it is these heroes, along with Thor, that are utilized the most. In particular, Thanos and Gamora have a prior history that informs much of the storyline. I’m not sure if I completely bought into his inner turmoil, but I’ll give the script points for trying to inject some emotional stakes. What ultimately keeps me engrossed is a sense of humor. This often takes the form of memorable one-liners that touch our funny bone. Star Lord has always been good for some hilarious observations. I’m not saying it’s the wittiest thing he’s ever said, but once Star Lord calls Thanosโ€™ chin a giant ball sack, I couldn’t unsee it for the rest of the film. #unsettling. Another nagging feeling that affects me in all these pictures, is when some character suddenly manifests an unexpected burst of power that makes you wonder why they waited so long to do just THAT. Okoye gets perhaps the funniest quip when the Scarlet Witch finally decides to join the confrontation in Wakanda.

If you’re already invested, as millions already are, you won’t be disappointed. Avengers: Infinity War does not present a self-contained, single-part story.ย  It wasn’t advertised as such, but this is essentially part 1 in a five-hour movie.ย  Part 2 is ostensibly due May 3, 2019, when Avengers 4 will be released. What can you really say about a simple narrative where who lives and who dies is the ultimate spoiler? That’s not what captivates our attention. You came to a production like this to see the camaraderie of champions you love, amusing jokes and big fantastic battles. It delivers in that realm. As a bombastic piece of entertainment that unites at least 27 characters with speaking parts along with an assortment of other entities, it’s miraculously enjoyable. In an adventure where the stakes are the very existence of the entire universe, it’s hard to take anything very seriously. You know things aren’t always as they seem. The ending is a somewhat less than satisfying experience, but I suppose that’s the price you pay for a cliffhanger. Avengers: Infinity War promises a doozy. Bring on Avengers 4!

04-26-18

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9 Responses to “Avengers: Infinity War”

  1. Eric Robert Wilkinson Says:

    This was somehow the most doom-laden yet purely enjoyable AVENGERS movie yet…technically

    Liked by 1 person

    • If we’re talking the 3 Avengers films only, I did enjoy this more than Age of Ultron. For pure joy, however, The Avengers from 2012 is still tops among the three films.

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  2. Completely enjoyable film. Funny, exciting and a little sad. I thought they really used all the characters in a satisfying way. I would see this again. I agree, bring on Avengers 4. 4 stars

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  3. A surprisingly emotional journey down the back stretch on this one. I agree, bring on 4!!

    “Instead of a wild open-ended free-for-all, it deftly commands some organization by compartmentalizing like-minded personalities into vignettes.” Really well said, and this is what i really got the biggest kick out of. In close second was Brolin hamming it up as Thanos, but had juuuust enough gravitas to make this movie feel more serious than the rest

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    • Yes, Thanos was a rather serious villain. I do enjoy the campy fun of someone like Hela (Cate Blanchett) from Thor: Ragnarok. But Thanos was out to kill half of humanity, so not really much room for laughs I suppose.

      ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, aside from his “ball sack chin” haha. That was a classic line. Classic.

        And while i loved the Drax “I am invisible” episode, man, I was surprised that stuff survived final cut. No wonder the run time was 2.5 hrs…. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

  4. smilingldsgirl Says:

    I basically agree with all you said except the ending play for phony emotions irritated me.

    Like

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