Silver City, NM- This weekend marked the release of Avengers: Infinity War, which serves as the latest entry in Marvel Studios’ Cinematic Universe and is the culmination of every movie released by the studio over the past ten years.
Infinity War tells the story of Thanos, a giant purple alien despot who is bent on collecting six colorful rocks called the Infinity Stones that will give him absolute power over the entire universe. Standing in his way is the combined might of the Marvel Universe- Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and the rest of the Avengers, Spider-Man, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange and, of course, Black Panther.
The film’s cast is massive, merging the major characters of almost twenty films and continuing storylines from over the past ten years. That said, Infinity War doesn’t exactly stand as an entry-point for the Marvel films. While you don’t need to have seen every movie in the series if you want to pick up the major story-beats, it helps to have at least viewed the first two Avengers films, the two Guardians of the Galaxy films, Captain America: Civil War, Thor: Ragnarok, and Black Panther.
Also due to the large cast and the numerous story-threads, the film clocks in at almost three hours, though the movie never feels bloated or over-long, unlike 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Despite having a cast of over thirty characters, eighteen of which are the stars of their own superhero franchises, each character has their own distinct moment in the spotlight. No one is wasted or simply left in the background of this movie.
Normally, unless you’re Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight, superhero movies are usually known more for their action than their acting. However, while Robert Downey Jr. and the three Chris’s, namely Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth and Chris Pratt, give their usual charismatic performances as Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and Star-Lord respectively and Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Chadwick Boseman are all fantastic in their roles of Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and Black Panther, the true stand-outs of the film is Josh Brolin as Thanos. Despite being a motion-capture character, Brolin makes Thanos a multi-layered character; one who is simultaneously terrifying and evil, yet also sympathetic and understandable. Marvel has had a track record for lame villains in the past (looking at you, Maleketh from Thor: The Dark World and Rhonan from Guardians of the Galaxy) but Thanos is definitely one of the best. Like many of the best villains in fiction, Thanos is one who truly believes that he is doing the right thing as opposed to simply being evil for the sake of being evil. In many ways, Infinity War works best if you see Thanos as the protagonist and the assembled Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy as the antagonists.
I can’t get into the story too much without getting into spoilery territory, but I can say that the film is almost wall-to-wall action from beginning to end and definitely lives up to the hype. However, while there is still much of the trademark humor that one finds in a Marvel movie, the overall tone of the film is far more serious than the normal. Right from the get-go, we are shown that the stakes in Infinity War are far, far higher than any previous film in the series. Also, as expected, this film has a body-count, and not a small one either. The film also has a cliffhanger ending that puts both The Empire Strikes Back and The Matrix Reloaded to shame.
Avengers: Infinity War is the culmination of almost twenty films and ten years and it is well-worth the hype. There’s great action, great characters, a solid story and, well I’d mention the ending but I’d hate to spoil it. If you’re a fan of Marvel movies, action movies or just want to be part of things, then definitely check it out.