Tuesday’s Reviews – Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

infinity-war-poster-e15254492242615_star_rating_system_5_stars My aim was to see this film the Sunday after it first came out. That was already after two of the least discreet people I work with had already seen it so I was still skirting on dangerous spoiler territory. Unfortunately, my plans fells through and I was forced to wait until the Saturday after that before I found out what I’d been desperately waiting 6 years for. That was so many days where I had to hide from spoilers. By that point the vast majority of my colleagues who were ever going to see it had seen it and there was the added threat of the entire fucking internet. I’ve already unfollowed people on Instagram because they were flirting with spoilers. I couldn’t go on Facebook or YouTube without there being some sort of reference to the film that I had to ignore. And don’t even get me started on my misguided decision to check out Buzzfeed one night before bed. Nearly every article had something to do with Infinity War. I managed to get away with only having one thing confirmed to me and it was something I had guessed (and was secretly hoping would happen). It’s something I want to discuss on a different post because I feel this should be entirely spoiler free… if only to prove I’m better than the people I no longer follow on social media. Be the change you want to see in the World and all that. I’m pretty sure Gandhi was talking about movie spoilers, right?

 

Can you believe it was way back in 2012 that we first saw our glimpse of Thanos in The Avengers‘ end credits scene. Talk about a slow invasion. For the numerous fans who have been emotionally invested in the MCU for the past 10 years or so, this was the moment it was all leading up to. Thanos was bound to be the villain we had been hoping for all along. This was the big one. The war that would, most probably, eventually see to us waving goodbye to our old favourite characters and welcoming some new faces. However good or bad it turned out to be, this film and its predecessor were always going to be game changers. It’s safe to say there was a hell of lot riding on this film and that’s before you even consider it’s monster cast list of 30 or so heroes. There was so much that could go right but so much that could go horribly wrong. So, it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I sat down to finally watch it this weekend.

Thankfully, I loved it. It did everything it needed to and it did it remarkably well. Any fears I had about the Russo brothers balancing so many different characters were wiped away almost instantly. They wasted no time needlessly reintroducing us to characters we know and love but, instead, got straight into the action. Each group or person was first seen in a style befitting their previous solo outings so you were in no doubt that everything we knew about them was going to carry through here. As you sit watching, you can feel just how much care and respect went into getting this right for the people who mattered.

And, unfortunately for the people who aren’t as well-versed in the MCU, the people that matter are the fans. This is the kind of film that will be loved by fan boys and fan girls all over the world. If you’ve barely dipped your toe in the waters of this universe then it may leave you feeling cold. If you’re invested, this film will be everything. It will leave you overjoyed and utterly empty when it’s finished with you. It’s quite a ride. A ride that doesn’t give you any time to collect yourself as it picks up almost exactly where the end of Thor: Ragnarok left us. Thanos has infiltrated the ship full of fleeing Asgardians, let half go free, killed the rest, and left the two brothers alive in the hopes of finding his second infinity stone. In the first few minutes, we see just how deadly a foe he is going to be for our heroes and are left with no doubt that this film will be bleak.

The story is a fairly simple one: Thanos, seeking the wipe out half of all life in the universe, travels around the galaxy collecting his lost infinity stones and all of our beloved heroes must come together to stop him. The narrative is a simple one because this film’s major goal is to allow the MCU’s vast roster of heroes comes together for the first time in epic style. It takes the basic idea of 2012’s The Avengers but takes it up to 11. This is, at its heart, fan service to all of the people loyal to this franchise. We see all of our familiar faces coming together to form new alliances in order to reach their goal and we see them bounce off each other in hilarious and heartbreaking ways. We can finally see the people who bond easily and the people who rub each other up the wrong way. It’s all about the banter and it’s perfect.

Infinity War is a long film but, if you love these characters, it won’t feel like it. There is a lot of fun to be hand simply seeing the unlikely alliances that form. Just watching these characters interact with each other is enough so all the action and drama just feel like icing on the cake. And even though, inevitably, some characters get a little sidelined here, there is more than enough chance for each individual to get their moment. No matter who you favour they will have their time to shine. Everyone comes across as strong as everyone else and there is plenty of emotion and humour in each performance. James Gunn and Taika Waititi can both be held responsible for bringing more fun into the MCU and it’s something that Infinity War is happy to keep going. There are jokes flying at you throughout. It is well judged, though, and the film never loses its sense of terror. It makes jokes about out heroes but we are never within any doubt that Thanos is a real threat.

In the past, Marvel films have suffered thanks to underdeveloped villains and weak third acts. Infinity War takes the template that we’ve seen a thousand times before and starts anew. Thanos is the single greatest villain the MCU has delivered us (and I say that knowing just how much Tumblr fucking loves Loki). You get a chance to understand who he is and why he’s doing what he’s doing. Hell, there are moments when you may even find yourself sympathising with him. Or at least understanding where he’s coming from. Cause he may be a homicidal maniac who wants to wipe out half the universe but he’s doing it for intentions that were, at least in the first place, honourable. He sees the blight that so many lifeforms is having on the universe and sees killing half of them as the best way to solve it. This film forces you to see Thanos’ point of view and question his actions. It’s sensational.

And the ending? Gone are the days of huge ships/towns crashing to Earth from the sky and causing utter devastation. This is a whole different board game. We are seeing a Marvel film that doesn’t taper off towards the end but only gets stronger as time moves on. This is the single best ending to a Marvel film we’ve ever seen. It is mind-blowing, emotional, and totally unprecedented. Looking at it critically, it’s not the greatest film out there and there are things I would change if I could. Looking at it as a fan, it’s perfect. There is enough here that means someone who has merely flirted with these films will be entertained but, probably a little, underwhelmed. But we’re 10 years and 18 films in at this point. Infinity War knows who it’s being made for. If you’re a die-hard fan of these films, Avengers 3 is indescribable.

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