In AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR we finally see the culmination of 10 years and 18 films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Does the movie live up to this incredible build-up? The simple answer: yes.
I could wrap up my review there, and for those of you who want to remain completely spoiler-free, stop reading and JUST GO SEE IT. But if you who want to know why AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR kicks butt and get yourself hyped for the film, here we go!
Marvel films have single-handedly taught audiences to stay in their seats through the credits, basking in the film score as we eagerly await post-credit sequences. All those now-classic MCU tags have led up to INFINITY WAR. In 2012 we saw Thanos for the first time, revealed in the first post-credit sequence of MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS. In this sequence we learn that Thanos is pulling Loki’s strings throughout THE AVENGERS when he tried to take over Earth in the Battle of New York.
Three years later we glimpsed Thanos in AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, this time holding an empty Infinity Gauntlet. The Infinity Gauntlet is meant to hold six Infinity Stones, most of which have gradually been introduced to the MCU throughout the years. (For a complete rundown, this article on ScreenRant breaks it down) AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR is the culmination of these films, as Thanos attempts to conquer the universe by seizing control of all six Infinity Stones. The Avengers must join forces with the Guardians of the Galaxy to try and stop Thanos from adding all the stones to his Infinity Gauntlet.
How did the directors Anthony and Joe Russo manage to keep track of 24 superheroes and villains? Very, very well. It’s as if they tossed all these characters into a lottery ball spinner and spat them out in fun groups. Because each hero has been established in a film or films of their own over a span of 10 years, we’ve really gotten to know these characters. Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), alpha male, has to contend with Thor’s (Chris Hemsworth) deep voice while Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and the rest of the Guardians appreciate Thor’s assets. Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) makes cracks about “that wizard” Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). And watch out – when Peter Quill and Spider Man (Tom Holland) meet, it’s a pop culture reference party! (Footloose, anyone?)
Speaking of that friendly neighborhood Spider Man, he is an absolute breath of fresh air. His young, happy-go-lucky take on all the heavy adult stuff going on lends a different energy to his scenes. He injects humor without meaning to, as he references another “really old movie” out of the 1980’s. This will infuse the MCU as it embarks on the next 10 years.
Now to the meat of the story – a father-daughter relationship! Did you ever think a superhero film would circle around such a thing? This connection is absolutely essential to INFINITY WAR and makes Thanos a surprisingly sympathetic character. Thanos has adopted children over the years and we’ve met both Nebula and Gamora. Gamora is by far Thanos’ favorite daughter. Their scenes together are surprisingly touching. In fact, without this relationship Thanos would just be a “big bad.”
INFINITY WAR is not all roses and rainbows, however. There was one glaring omission – Captain America’s shield. I miss it. Cap gave it up in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR because Tony Stark’s dad made it, and the two supers aren’t the very best of friends right now. Instead Captain America uses shield “gauntlets” provided to him by Shuri in Wakanda. They may be made of the same vibranium material, but they definitely aren’t as sexy as the original red, white and blue shield that Cap throws around and catches with masterful grace.
What I miss in Cap’s shield is partly made up for with Dr. Strange’s Cloak of Levitation. Can I get an indestructible anthropomorphic object by my side, please? The cloak is AWESOME and even saves Dr. Strange from certain death a couple of times. Captain America’s shield and the Cloak of Levitation should have their own movie.
There is so much going on in the film that it’s impossible to cover it all. I will say that Black Panther, Shuri and Wakanda got a huge cheer in my theater. They play a role in this movie but it is definitely not “BLACK PANTHER 1.5” as some of the Trailers made it out to be. In fact, the only downside to so many super heroes in one film was the limited amount of time we had with each one. There are certain scenes (I won’t reveal which here for fear of spoilers) that would have been more emotionally impactful had we more time to spend on them.
INFINITY WAR is 2.5 hours long and the final scenes really punch you in the gut. As the last frame faded I was expecting to see the film continue, but credits rolled instead. Now we have to wait A WHOLE YEAR for the conclusion? Give me INFINITY WAR 2!! If nothing else, AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR certainly gets you hyped for the sequel. So grab a friend, some popcorn and head to your nearest theater to see INFINITY WAR today.