The following review will be spoiler free until after the rating.
How does a movie like this work? There are twenty four characters on the poster alone, which is probably only half of the characters that appear in the movie. This film shouldn’t be good. But god it is. It really is. Somehow, through all the noise and punches, Infinity War is a triumph of storytelling. The culmination of 18 movies of character development.
Thanos is coming. Based on his first appearance in the MCU he’s been “coming” for quite some time now, but that’s the message a beleaguered Mark Ruffalo delivers to Doctor Strange. We know what he wants; the Infinity Stones. With all the stones in his power, Thanos can end the universe with a snap of his fingers. Infinity War is his journey to collect them. Two of the stones are on Earth: the Time Stone with Doctor Strange, and the Mind Stone embedded in Vision’s head. If Thanos’ minions can’t collect them, he’ll have to travel to Earth to acquire them himself.
Credit where credit is due: the screenwriters and the directors. Despite zero of our heroes having anything resembling a character arc or journey, we care about and enjoy each and every one of them. Although screen time is minimal, each character gets a chance to show their truest selves. Iron Man feels the weight of responsibility, Spiderman is just trying to help, Starlord wants to look heroic, Rocket tries to buy Bucky’s arm etc. etc. Of course, being a Marvel movie, the one liner quips are generally hilarious, feel natural, and provide levity to moments when they are needed. Abandoned at moments when they are not. Try not laughing when Starlord threatens “to knock that nutsack off your chin” to Thanos. The decision to split the characters off was a good one. Rather than a giant gathering that would look like a Thanos AA intervention, we get to see different groups of previously unintroduced characters interact with each other.
But the best choice made by the filmmakers is probably the least likely. They made Thanos the main character of this movie. Incredibly voiced by Josh Brolin, Thanos is not the grinning cartoon his brief appearances made him out to be. No, he is the hero of his own story. A tragedy if he had to tell it. He’s a villain with a purpose. That purpose is not power, or control. He does not want to conquer. The audience understands him because he explains his goal. He wants to kill half the universe, a culling so to speak. Like trimming a tree to make it healthier overall. His own planet of Titan was destroyed by a populace that outgrew itself. Thanos believes that bringing balance to the universe is the only way to keep us from destroying it. He used to accomplish this through genocide and war. Tactics he admits are horrible. That’s why he’s collecting the infinity stones. With them, he can wipe out half the universe painlessly. Isn’t that a kindness? Not only is he established as the big bad within the first 5 minutes, we also get to experience his emotional journey. One that, because of the amazing writing and voice acting, is incredibly moving.
Infinity War suffers from the same problems the other Avengers movies do: If Thor had better timing we wouldn’t be in this mess. Previous films clearly don’t matter as much as you think they will (Thor: Ragnarok is really hard to watch as a comedy after Infinity War). And Elizabeth Olsen still can’t do a Russian accent. She tried to ditch it, but not completely. It’s such a weird choice.
Infinity War is the first Marvel movie with real consequences (read: actual (probably) permanent character deaths). The ending is thrilling, beautiful, and horrible at the same time. But since this is a comic book movie, and we all know how comic books work, it’s hard to take anything too seriously, despite how dramatic it is.
I can’t say this enough: Infinity War is an incredible accomplishment. It’s like eating a really good meal that’s way too big. You feel a little sick afterwards but you’re glad you didn’t leave out even one delicious bite. Laugh, cheer, tear up, and cry; Infinity War is by far the best Avengers movie. A stunning tale that’s clearly not finished yet. How Avengers 4 tops it is beyond me.
3.5 out of 4 stars.
ANYTHING BELOW THIS POINT WILL BE FULL OF SPOILERS!!!!
What the hell happened to Valkyrie? And Korg for that matter? Did they just get killed in that first attack? Speaking of which, I’ve been looking for Loki to die for years and it finally, finally happened.
Nice try retconning the fact that in Iron Man 3 you blew up all your shit and then rebuilt it. Plan your overarching story better if you don’t want those problems.
Uh, Hulk, where you at?
How sad was that scene where Thor really has to recognize the fact that everyone he’s ever loved is dead?
Hey, Wakanda, I know you have Vibranium and spears that shoot lasers, but like, have you ever heard of artillery? Or emplaced machine guns? Hand to hand combat is cool and all but you really could have saved a lot of your warriors lives. Also you have helicopters, use those to hunt spare monsters down. AND!! how did the bad guys break in to get Vision with the shield up?
I’ve also wanted Gamorra to die for so long so I’m pretty happy about this movie.
Oh man. Tom Holland death sequence. That is the entirety of why Tony was so worried during Homecoming. That exact outcome. Heartbreaking.
Anyone else absolutely positive that everyone who got “ashed” is coming back because of Ant-man/Captain Marvel?
Like for real, how are you going to follow this movie with two movies that take place in the past. That’s bonkers, none of us care. We want to see what happens! Thank god it’s next year.