Avengers: Infinity War, 2018.
Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo.
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Josh Brolin, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Don Cheadle, Peter Dinklage, Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira, Karen Gillan, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Carrie Coon, Pom Klementieff, Terry Notary, Sean Gunn, Benedict Wong, Benicio del Toro, Gwyneth Paltrow, Idris Elba, Tom Hiddleston, Winston Duke, Florence Kasumba, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, and Stan Lee.
Having finally had enough of his underlings failing to take down Marvel’s assortment of superheroes, Thanos (Josh Brolin) decides to take matters into his own gauntlet sporting hands, by collecting the remaining Infinity Stones in order to wreak havoc in the universe.
In what has seemed like an eternity, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has reached the culmination of everything that’s come before it as Josh Brolin’s Thanos arrives to claim the Infinity Stones. Joe and Anthony Russo direct a compelling, emotional and visually stunning entry in the MCU with Avengers: Infinity War that hits all the right notes.
With a cast of nearly two dozen, it could be impossible to keep track of them all and still maintain a balance within the film. That is thankfully not the case with Infinity War as the film feels pretty balanced between the various groupings of Avengers, though some do of course get a bit more screentime than others. The amount of balance the film achieves is still quite impressive and its a joy to see members of the Avengers interacting with the Guardians of the Galaxy. These pairings are not only enjoyable, but makes sense within the story as to who would be with who. The trade off, however, is that none of the heroes, save for perhaps Iron Man, Thor, Scarlet Witch and Gamora, really have an arc in the film as they continuously react to events.
The story moves along at a brisk pace from the very start and never lets up. There are very few moments where scenes feel like they’re dragging or unnecessary, creating a pretty concise plot that keeps pulling the viewer in. There is also a steady build in tension as Thanos’ quest comes closer to fruition with several surprises along the way. Its clear the Russos, scriptwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, as well as Kevin Feige and the rest of Marvel Studios, put a lot of care into the plotting of the film. After all, Infinity War does pay off on 18 films and their care to the story is rewarding for fans.
Out of the large cast, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Pratt, Chis Hemsworth, and Zoe Saldana give some of their best performances yet as their respective characters. Tom Holland is also great as Spider-Man as he gets caught up in an event that is usually way beyond him and Elizabeth Olsen gives a surprisingly emotional performance as Scarlet Witch, especially in the latter half of the film. The other cast members, such as Chris Evans and Chadwick Boseman, also give memorable performances, but there’s really one cast member that towers above them all.
Brolin’s Thanos is the star of the show here. After so many years of build up, the risk for disappointment was high, but Infinity War sticks the landing with Thanos’ character, both as a credible and truly dangerous threat to the Avengers and as a well rounded character in his own right. Of all the characters, Thanos has a proper arc from beginning to end as the film takes the old adage that the villain is the hero of their own story and applies that with the Mad Titan. Brolin makes Thanos a compelling, evil, deadly figure while also making him somewhat relatable and even tragic with his goals. Thanos is hands down Marvel’s best villain and its largely thanks to Brolin’s portrayal.
One area the film could have done better, however, is with Thanos’ ‘children’. The Black Order is a fairly recent addition to Thanos’ entourage in the comics, but they became memorable quickly. Infinity War is a different matter, however, as they are unfortunately mostly forgettable and don’t reach their potential. They’re used well in action scenes, but when it comes to getting to know them the film doesn’t do that great of a job, especially when compared to Gamora and Nebula’s relationship with Thanos. The only thing that really makes them stand apart is their physical appearance. Aside from that, not enough is done to differentiate them from the others in terms of personality, except for maybe the Ebony Maw who gets the most lines among them.
The visual effects in the film, particularly on the Black Order, can be at times better. There are a few moments where the Black Order’s motion capture could have been improved, as well as some of the other action shots. For the most part the action and choreography are clear, but some things can get lost in the movement of so many characters onscreen and people to follow on the battlefield. The Russos do juggle the action well enough and, as I said earlier, the film is visually stunning with some great effects on Thanos and others. Certain parts just could have been worked on a bit more.
Overall, Avengers: Infinity War delivers a great deal of emotion and story into this much anticipated film. The entire cast does a remarkable job, but Brolin steals the show as he gives Thanos a compelling and proper entrance to the MCU. While some aspects of the film, such as the visuals and the Black Order, could have been better developed, the Russo Brothers succeed in making a balanced and emotive film in the superhero genre.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie ★ ★ ★ ★