What started in 2008 with the simplistic superhero origin story Iron Man has rocketed into a galaxy far, far away. Never did little ten-years-younger me believe I’d ever see the day where something as ambitious and as big as Avengers: Infinity War would be released in theatres, but here we are. Eighteen films spanning ten years have all been building towards this. As of this week, all around the globe, Avengers: Infinity War will finally be unleashed. And wow, none of you are ready. This is a big, bold, unrelenting superhero epic that’s truly going to be one for the ages.
Never before has a cast this big been brought together for a film so massive in scale. It’s an overwhelmingly brutal, hilarious, unrelenting epic that balances its several tones and several hundred characters perfectly. Screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (the duo behind the Captain America trilogy) take a very Empire Strikes Back approach to this two-part finale, which, yes, I know is an overused statement to imply a sequel’s darker than previous installments (which this is), but here, it rings true. These characters are tested and broken in ways you won’t see coming, and if you’re hoping for everyone to get a happy ending, you may need to prepare yourself.
A common complaint amongst MCU films are their villains, but at this point I can’t even remember the last time we had a noticeably bad Marvel villain. With Infinity War, we get one of, if not the best villain yet. Brolin’s Thanos is the very definition of brutal. He’s an insane, frightening being with the ominous potential to be so much more of a threat, and as his quest for power unfolds, his insidious nature comes to light, yet he retains a sense of humanness that grounds him in reality. I can’t say I side with him as I did with Black Panther’s Killmonger, but you understand the importance of what he’s doing. He’s a deeply flawed character with endless layers, and unraveling him is part of the fun. Plus, visually, he looks extravagant.
Winter Solider and Civil War directors Joe and Anthony Russo return to the director’s chair for their third go-around, and they retain their knack for epic superhero showdowns. This whole movie is the Civil War airport scene on steroids. Right from the opening sequence this film let’s you know it means business, and from there, it’s a journey of insanity in which the Russo’s perfectly balance emotional stakes with big, extravagant set pieces. There’s not a mediocre action sequence in sight. Each one finds new, shocking and creative ways to confront these characters, and the Russo’s handle everything with elegance. The battle for Wakanda is particularly impressive, and holy crap, that ending....
Avengers: Infinity War has a lot going for it. So much so that I’ve barely scratched the surface in my review here, but Marvel fans need to prepare themselves. It’s everything you’ve dreamed of, yet nothing you could possibly imagine. My rating is what it is. But I did only see the film yesterday. Given time, and perhaps even a second viewing, I can definitely see myself bumping it up half a star. The flaws, while there, aren’t all that degrading. This is a superhero masterpiece of epic proportions.
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