- Release date: April 27, 2018
- Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
- Starring: Josh Brolin, Robert Downey Jr., Literally Every Marvel Universe Actor Ever
- Rating: PG-13
- Run time: 2h 40 min
For everyone’s sake, I’m going to split this review into two sections. The first review will be for those who love all things Marvel and are going to see the movie no matter what; the second section is for those of us who will inevitably be dragged to see Avengers: Infinity War by a loved one, and don’t really care about the Marvel universe.
For Those Who Love Marvel:
See it. You’re going to see it, anyway. So just do it. Fans will delight in seeing multiple Marvel worlds effortlessly collide, beloved characters going up against their greatest foe yet, and the zippy pacing that makes the nearly three-hour film effortlessly fly by. (Which, by the way, was actually slightly disappointing, because I can’t use my “Infinity War? More like Infinity MOVIE!!!” joke. Except I guess I just did. Boy, life sure does have a way of working itself out, huh?)
On a scale of 1 to 10—1 being oregano, and 10 being top-shelf kush—we give Avengers: Infinity War a 5. But who cares what I think. If you’re a fan, you’re going to love it no matter what.
For Those Who Don’t Really Care About Marvel:
Hi, welcome. Glad to see you. Unsurprisingly, this is the camp I fall under. I’ll preface this with a “no spoilers” note—sorry for those of you who came here to find out what happens. The movie can be summarized thusly: Thanos wants to collect six infinity stones, which will make him the most powerful being in the universe. Everyone tries to stop him from getting said stones. That’s…about it.
We’re thrown in medias where Thor: Ragnarok (2017) left off. You’d think I would’ve put the effort into seeing every Marvel film, especially after proclaiming Black Panther to be the best Marvel film to date, but that’s show business, baby! The action in Avengers: Infinity Warkicks off right away, and my number one fear about seeing this movie—not knowing and/or caring about what’s happening—was instantly realized.
We get the cliché “NOOOOOO!” scream; CGI characters slap at one another; and a character (poorly) pretends to suddenly be evil in an attempt to trick another character, all in the first ten minutes. I honestly thought someone might mutter, “We’re not so different, you and I.”
I mean, it’s a superhero movie, I get it—it’s not Shakespeare. But we get lines like, “Give up the stone, and she lives!” and, “Spare his life, and I will give you the stone!” In a post-Black Panther and Spider-Man: Homecoming world, which both had inventive, engaging screenplays, Infinity War feels like a letdown. Superhero movies don’t have to be high art, but they don’t have to be wildly uninventive, either.
The CGI also fell flat for me, particularly in terms of character design. The action sequences are impressive…I suppose…if you enjoy watching things get blown up and civilians flee in terror. Josh Brolin plays Thanos, who has a hefty amount of screen time in the film—it’s his Infinity War, after all, and he’ll cry if he wants to. Brolin is excellent, of course, and I’m sure the digital team Andy Serkis-ed his face with motion capture technology to create Thanos’ expressions, but he simply didn’t resonate with me. Thanos’ minions also seemed two-dimensional, like watching a cutscene in a video game you can’t skip. It’s hard to feel interested in something that looks so blatantly false.
Thanos is an intriguing character, however. He’s obsessed with balance, and, as we soon find out, has a rather Malthusian plan to help planets across the galaxy thrive. The biggest issue with his character, and by extension, the film, is that he’s a little too menacing and all-powerful. The fight between T’Challa and Killmonger at the end of Black Panther impressed because the two were so evenly matched; when a team of superheroes go up against the most powerful being in the universe, the tension reverts back to a non-issue—it’s simply insurmountable. Like when you see your work emails piling up, and instead of answering them in a timely manner, you crawl under your desk and softly cry. Stuff like that. When the stakes are too high, you kinda lose interest. It doesn’t feel like a fair fight.
All that said, if you happen to get dragged to this movie, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the film’s ability to zigzag quickly through storylines and universes with ease.
Iron Man has a starkly different tone than, say, Doctor Strange, but it worked when the characters collided. I was dreading the long runtime, particularly as someone with a small bladder, but it pleasantly flew by. I had a few laughs, primarily from the cast of Spider-Man, Black Panther and Guardians of the Galaxy, and Brolin’s performance saved Thanos from being a cardboard-thin, one-dimensional supervillain.