Avengers: Infinity War
Directed by: Anthony and Joe Russo
Written by: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely
Starring: Everyone. Seriously. ALL THE PEOPLE.
Review by Stephanie Cooke
Avengers: Infinity War is the product of Three Phases of movie planning over the last decade or so. Everything in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been leading to this film and it’s finally here.
Kicking off right where Thor: Ragnarok ended, Infinity War revolves around the Mad Titan Thanos as he seeks out the Infinity Stones. He wants to harness the powers of each stone so he can control the universe and bring “balance” to it. Naturally, our heroes aim to stop him. They travel throughout the galaxy to come together to face a villain more powerful than anyone or anything that has come before.
With a few exceptions, all our heroes are back to make appearances, as is only fitting.
I’m not sure if it was the large coffee I drank before entering the theatre or just the fact that the stakes were high in the film but I had some low-grade anxiety consistently throughout the entirety of the film. It’s not like it’s edge-of-your-seat thriller type action, but there is so much going on that you can’t keep your heart from racing. Especially after so much speculation online has had my mind racing for months as to who’s going to walk away from Infinity War and who’s gone for good (I promise that I will not spoil anything for you).
I feel like I need a nap now though. Avengers: Infinity War is like binge-watching a 22-episode TV series all in one sitting. There are so many characters to follow and storylines to keep up with within this over 2h30 minute movie. It’s almost too much. Well, it kind of IS too much. The Marvel movies are no longer for the casual moviegoer. These films have evolved into something beyond massive and you can’t simply see one in the current day and age without having seen everything that has come before. I mean, you CAN, but you’ll definitely be missing out on a lot of the bigger picture.
Of course, this was always Marvel’s intention, to a degree. To build a film franchise so vast that it would change the world forever! While they have yet to change the world forever via a comic book event (I’m not bitter…), they’ve certainly done so within the movie world, so kudos, I guess.
I don’t know what to really add in as far as the cast goes. Each character is given an incredibly limited amount of time on screen in order to cram everything possible in. They all do well within their respective roles, especially after they’ve spent so much time over the years being those characters. They’ve literally all been waiting for this moment, just like us. Probably. Maybe. That being said, with little to work with, each actor does their best to shine within Infinity War. Tom Holland is a gem amongst everyone as Spider-Man who continues to bring delightful quips and humour to the table, but he’s not alone in this. Thor and Star-Lord have some fun banter and interactions, as does Bruce Banner with Hulk, and other variations.
Infinity War definitely makes sure to include a lot of fun elements so you’re not bogged down with the overall more serious tone of the film. It doesn’t go nearly as far as Thor: Ragnarok did with its humour, which was much more in sync with the Guardians of the Galaxy films than the previous Thor films, but it makes sure that you’re enjoying these characters as they come together for the first time like this. Ultimately, it’s a film about your favourite Marvel characters going to war with the ultimate Bad Guy.
There are lots of moments that will leave you stunned and wondering what’s to come, and while I have some problems with the how accessible the film is in a broader sense (and a few other things), it has entertaining popcorn blockbuster written all over it.
One of the things that bothered me outside of the general vastness of the film (and MCU) itself was that Infinity War has made it abundantly clear that the women of the MCU can’t exist without some attraction to one of their male counterparts. Pepper Potts, Wanda, Gamora, and Black Widow all of storylines that tie them to another character (Tony Stark, Vision, Star Lord, and Bruce Banner, respectively). None of these women can simply exist within this universe to just kick-ass; they need to also be in some sort of relationship with someone else to up their stakes. I know this is something trivial and many of these relationships exist within the comics, but in a film packed with storyline after storyline, some of the romantic angles could’ve been cut. Gamora and Star-Lord, especially. That relationship feels particularly forced to me after Gamora spent so much time not being interested in Peter Quill. To give them an empassioned love at this juncture feels like a move made to manipulate the audience’s feelings. Which, I mean, it IS, but it wasn’t overly effective for me. I couldn’t stop thinking about how little time had been put into building these relationships, with the exception of Tony and Pepper.We cram in these moments instead of giving them other stakes. Why is it that these women can’t simply have their own agency?
A further nitpick that I have is dumb (I admit that) but I hate that they’ve made Black Widow a blonde. I HATE IT. I don’t really have anything further to add to that outside of I just hate it. But I digress.
None of the characters get a ton of screen time, as you can imagine. They’re split across the universe and we bounce back and forth between them all, trying to keep up with everything that’s happening. Hot off the massive success that was Black Panther, Wakanda does get quite a bit of screentime but like the rest of the Avengers ensemble, we do not get nearly enough time with the characters from that world. It is nice to see them, but I would’ve loved some more time with Shuri, Okoye, and M’Baku. You’re okay too, T’Challa, but let’s be honest: your sister is way cooler.
Regardless of what I say, you’re all going to see Avengers: Infinity War (probably multiple times), and you should. I didn’t love this epic culmination of the MCU, but I did enjoy myself while I watched it. I was entertained, and excited for what unfolded before me. It’s just a LOT, and it feels almost like a disservice to the characters we’ve spent years getting to know.
And if you’re hoping this is the penultimate film for the MCU, you’ll be sorely disappointed as the finale remains separated from Infinity War which means that you still have quite a while until you’ll get to see the true ending to this saga.