Avengers Infinity War
Starring Josh Brolin, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Zoe Saldana, Chris Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Olsen, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Holland
A fellow critic asked the rhetorical question, “does latest Avengers live up to the hype”. What is hype, the excellent marketing Disney (which owns Marvel) telling fans who were already going to buy a ticket and love the film without seeing it to get excited? “Avengers Infinity War” is the 19th entry in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (MCU), meaning all those little nuggets from the past ten years of films culminate here as nearly every Marvel character show up to accept their fate. Understanding of the previous movies and all those post credit scenes are greatly advised to make sense here. The Russo Brothers (“Captain America Civil War”), take big risks with “Infinity War”, one of their gambles is ending the film on a cliffhanger. The second half, still untitled (because it will contain spoilers), won’t hit theaters until 2019.
Picking up where we last saw Thor (Hemsworth), Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Hulk (Ruffalo), the trio find themselves face to face with Thanos (Brolin). A god like being, as tall and muscular as Hulk, Thanos believes in halving populations on overcrowded planets. In his mind, he’s doing favors. The Avengers don’t see things that way, despite their fragmented alliance. Back on Earth Tony Stark (Downey) and Dr. Strange (Cumberbatch) must work quickly to combat the oncoming onslaught of death and destruction. Thanos most pressing goal is to acquire the remaining infinity stones, increasing his power and reach. Vision (Paul Bettany) wears one publicly, Strange will give his life for the one he protects, Gamora (Saldana) is the clue to another, and Thanos will have no mercy.
Common sense knowledge will play a factor in how viewers feel about the ending.
What works in “Infinity War” is how the Russo’s orchestrate so many characters, personalities and actors. Nearly all characters get their moment in the 150-minute film, except maybe for Black Widow (Johansson), that’s important to the catastrophic events. This includes most receiving facetime with the surprisingly fleshed out villain Thanos, who has more screen time than anyone else. Brolin’s performance seeps through the computer effects, the fact that Thanos (despite looking like a character from the 90’s television show “Dinosaurs”) is shaped to look so much like actor, only benefits the undertaking. Dr. Strange role, amongst the other heroes, is far more enjoyable than his solo endeavor. Fans have been speculating for months on which characters survive, but the script offers many unpredictable surprises.
What doesn’t work is the persistent and often unnecessary comical banter, often during times of great tension. As if Dr. Strange and Tony Stark arguing over who I the bigger alpha male wasn’t enough, the same gag is repeated when Thor and Star-Lord (Pratt) meet. While the way Thanos wants to “rule/destroy the world” is a bit different than the numerous past bad-guys, it’s still sort of the same premise we have seen comic-book film after comic-book film. However, the most unflattering element to “Infinity Wars” is something I can only speak to in a round-about way, don’t want to spoil anything. Marvel films, and the entire culture of these movies have a bad track record of repudiating extreme series effecting decisions. Common sense knowledge will play a factor in how viewers feel about the ending. Meaning we have to wait a year to find out how serious this film is about fate.
Delivers the expected spectacle, but history will judge this particular entry on how serious it is about finality.