Film

Avengers: Infinity War (Film Review) – A Phenomenal Cinematic Achievement

Avengers: Infinity War is a superhero film directed by Joe and Anthony Russo and it is the nineteenth instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film boasts a huge ensemble cast which includes Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Chris Pratt, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Chadwick Boseman, Don Cheadle, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans and Josh Brolin.

The story of Avengers: Infinity War takes place two years after the events of Captain America: Civil War which tore the Avengers apart. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) has given up the mantle of being Captain America and Thanos (Josh Brolin) has come to Earth to acquire the remaining Infinity Stones and attain access to the full power of the Infinity Gauntlet. This will give Thanos the ability to bend reality to his will and he can accomplish his goal of destroying half of the universe’s population to, in his view, achieve balance. The Avengers must unite once again and join forces with the Guardians of the Galaxy to stop Thanos.

My Expectations For Avengers: Infinity War

When the MCU began with Iron Man in 2008, no one could conceivably imagine what was to follow over the next ten years. Comic book fans marvelled (hehe) at how the MCU progressed to a stage where the possibility of seeing films such as The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: Civil War actually became a reality. With the benefit of hindsight, it is clear to see that the MCU has been laying the groundwork for a culmination of the franchise as we currently know it.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner and and Benedict Wong as Wong in Avengers Infinity War

I contest that the untitled Avengers 4 will be that culmination seeing as this will end Phase 3 of the MCU and usher in Phase 4 which, from all accounts, is going to be radically different than anything we have seen so far in this franchise. Still, I can see why Avengers: Infinity War is being classed as this type of film. Never in the history of the MCU have we seen all of our heroes unite in one film to face a common enemy that has been teased since The Avengers.

Thanos Needed To Deliver For Avengers: Infinity War To Succeed

I am, of course, talking about Thanos. Until the most recent MCU instalments, this franchise has, for me, been incapable of producing amazing villains on a consistent basis. Thankfully, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Black Panther provided fantastic antagonists in the form of Vulture and Killmonger respectively. Because of the build-up Thanos has had since The Avengers, a lot of pressure was on Avengers: Infinity War to deliver on his villainous potential.

Indeed, he has been marketed as the main character of Avengers: Infinity War. Hence, if he succeeded as a compelling character, then the film would succeed too. I was going into this film pretty confident that it would be both good and, at the same time, subvert expectations when it comes to events. I would have no problem with this because I go into every film with an open mind about how the events on-screen will transpire.

Josh Brolin as Thanos in Avengers Infinity War

Moreover, it seemed like we, the audience, would not be prepared for what was to unfold in Avengers: Infinity War. Nothing was off the table when it came to this film. I could not wait to experience what I hoped would be an amazing, unique theatrical event as well as an MCU film that had the potential to rank amongst the best in this remarkable accomplishment of a franchise.

My Thoughts On Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War has supplanted Guardians of the Galaxy as my favourite MCU film. It is a phenomenal cinematic achievement that works on every major level. It succeeded beyond my wildest dreams when it came to its story, humour, themes and its villain. Certainly, Thanos is one of the best villains I have had the pleasure to watch in the MCU. While his aims are abhorrent, I completely understood his motivations. I related to him in the film when it came to his belief that what he was doing was right based on his past experiences.

Thanos had a lot of depth and, to be honest, Avengers: Infinity War was his film. He was well fleshed out as a character and I also thought that his relationship with Gamora (Zoe Saldana), his adopted daughter, was really enhanced with this film. Their relationship has been referenced in previous MCU films but not explored and developed in the way it was in Avengers: Infinity War.

The Guardians of the Galaxy in Avengers Infinity War

The scenes between these two characters were amongst the best in this film, particularly when it came to an incredible sacrifice Thanos had to make in order for his mission to succeed. It was a heart-breaking thing to witness and it weighs heavily on Thanos which helped to increase my sympathy towards him in the process.

For a film to make me care and relate to the struggles of a vllain in the way Avengers: Infinity War did with Thanos is an incredible feat. He is absolutely alongside the Vulture, Ultron and Killmonger as being one of the best MCU villains. For the most part, I have been really impressed with the most recent villains the MCU has given us and I hope this streak continues for as long as possible.

A Compelling Story With A Great Blend Of Comedy, Action + Drama

As I previously stated, Thanos would be key to the success of Avengers: Infinity War as a film and he absolutely worked as a villain. It was then fantastic to see that everything else in the film worked just as well as Thanos did. Indeed, from the very beginning, the story in this film is compelling and leaves you reeling at just how ruthless Thanos is. Because of this, I had no idea what was going to happen as Avengers: Infinity War progressed from its gut-punch of a beginning and the film never lets up from that point.

Josh Brolin as Thanos using the Infinity Gauntlet in Avengers Infinity War

For one, the stunning cinematography kept me engaged from a visual perspective and the story had a superb mix of comedy, drama and action which kept me invested throughout. A big part of the success in this blend was down to the ensemble cast. The interactions between our heroes were the best I have ever seen in an MCU film. Whether it was comedy, action or drama, all of them shone in at least one of those aspects and, in some cases, all three.

For me, the MVP’s of Avengers: Infinity War were, besides Thanos, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). I loved the arcs that Thor and Doctor Strange went through in this film and they were well developed as characters to a much larger extent than they already had been. While I would have loved for Captain America to have had a larger role than he did because he is my favourite character in the whole franchise, I can accept him not being the focus in Avengers: Infinity War.

A “Part 1” Film With A Definitive, Crushing End

This is because he, as well as Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), will have a larger role to play in Avengers 4 given what we saw at the end of this film. Indeed, Avengers: Infinity War is, in my opinion, a “Part 1” film that, remarkably, has a devastating, definitive ending. So, without further ado, let us get into some major spoiler territory. Both Iron Man and Captain America survive the events of Avengers: Infinity War. While this was a relief given how much I like them as characters, it also signifies that their roles in this story are not finished just yet.

Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, Chris Evans as Captain America, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Sebastian Stan as the Winter Soldier in Avengers Infinity War

However, that is about the only positive outcome that came out of an absolutely crushing ending to Avengers: Infinity War. Indeed, in this film, Thanos went on a journey to complete his mission of obtaining the Infinity Stones and wipe out half of all life in the universe and he succeeds. Despite the best efforts of our heroes, Thanos wins and it gives us an ending which, in isolation, was incredibly ballsy. I was speechless during the credits as a result of what happened in the final moments of this film.

Because Thanos succeeded, a lot of our heroes perished. They literally turned to ash and I was shocked to see that characters such as T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Drax (Dave Bautista) and Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) among many others all perished. Important characters in the MCU such as Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Gamora had also died well before the ending of Avengers: Infinity War which was also shocking to see.

A Great Ending Undermined

As I said, this film is quite ballsy in the way it killed a lot of important characters and its ending left me speechless but this was only the case in isolation. Sadly, the announcement of future MCU films in Phase 4 such as the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and Black Panther 2 undermines the impact of a lot of the deaths in Avengers: Infinity War. This is because some, if not all, of those who turned to ash in the final moments of this film are very likely to be resurrected in Avengers 4. Certainly, I would be amazed if Black Panther or Spider-Man stay dead.

Tom Holland as Spider-Man in Avengers Infinity War

It is not the fault of the film that the impact of the ending is undermined. Instead, it is the known slate of Phase 4 that unfortunately does this. Still, this only dawned on me some time after I saw Avengers: Infinity War. It does not take away from what was an incredible cinematic experience in addition to a film which, like Star Wars: The Last Jedi, I have no huge issues with. It succeeded on every major level it needed to succeed in and it became my No. 1 MCU film in the process. I cannot wait to see what will happen next in the MCU and to see Thanos and our remaining heroes return in Avengers 4.

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