Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans
Running time: 149 mins
You will go to see Marvel’s Avengers:Infinity War belonging to one of two possible camps. You will either be an ardent fan of the Marvel cinematic universe, of the original comics, or both; a person who has watched every Marvel Studios offering since 2008’s Iron Man, your hope and excitement expanding each time a film was released that had satisfactory reverence for the source material. The second camp houses the casual spectators, who like a good blockbuster, but would typically leave the cinema when the closing credits of a Marvel film begin. While I think each camp’s opinion of the film is equally valid, I do believe this film’s intended audience is the fans. I am writing this review as I listen to The Avengers Assemble theme on full blast, so you can guess which camp I belong to. A fan of the characters since early childhood (thanks Dad!) and the films since I saw Iron Man aged 12, seeing this film was nothing short of a seminal moment for me, and it didn’t disappoint – Avengers:Infinity War is undoubtedly the best superhero film ever made.
The third instalment of The Avengers, details alluding to this film have been laced throughout each of Marvel Studios’ films. In this film, The Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy have a common goal to stop their most powerful adversary yet – the evil Thanos. On a merciless mission to collect all six Infinity Stones, Thanos plans to use these artefacts to indiscriminately destroy half of the entire universe.
Infinity War’s long runtime is the first reason it can be perceived as a love letter to the fans – 2 hours and 29 minutes will undoubtedly feel like a long time to some, but the film was so richly packed with immersive action I never felt a pang of impatience or tedium. The film is a war unfolding in front of you – forget exposition or intimate scenes of character development, those are few and far between, yet the film does not suffer for it - testament to the superb decade of character development from the films that have preceded it. The fans know what they want from this film and it is the epic battle, as the characters have already been fully fleshed out in previous films. As a result, this film got down to business with exquisite flair.
Here we discover that this film will not be holding any punches - anything is possible, and nothing is sacred.
The opening scene sets the pace for the whole film – the action takes place immediately after the last scene of Thor: Ragnarok. There is barely time to get comfortable before you are besieged by scenes of darkness and abrupt peril - you are thrown into the action midway through, with an unforgiving passivity that tells the audience the stakes are heightened like never before. Here we discover that this film will not be holding any punches - anything is possible, and nothing is sacred. After this opening scene, each scene surpasses the one before with its jaw dropping impact, and the film has many more abrupt moments to come – like the heroes, we are thrown into the deep end with barely enough time to prepare ourselves.
The fact that the action takes place across different planets makes the scale of the film seem even greater. Our heroes are separated into groups who have one common aim, which is how the film deftly tackles the potential problem the huge cast could cause. The size of the cast could easily have endangered the audience’s ability to digest the film, were it in less capable hands. This structure also helped the film have more light comedy moments, as the focus successfully moved from intense struggles of one of the groups, to less perilous parts of the other team’s progress towards the goal. Thor’s early interactions with Star Lord proved amusing, as the latter sees Thor - with his apparently angelic looks and deep voice - as a minor threat to his masculinity. Drax is also on top form throughout the film, with many laugh out loud moments originating from his dialogue. The interplay between characters has always been what has set Marvel Studio’s films above the rest. Action packed to the brim, the film also has memorable, non-formulaic, skilfully thought out battle scenes that will leave fans in awe.
Thanos is the centre point of this film and he is an expertly crafted foe. The mad titan has a warped moral compass - he believes irrevocably that he is a force of good. Marvel has sometimes struggled with creating engaging, non-throw-away villains, with the exception of Loki. They often have a nefarious plan and a sinister voice, and not much more. Brolin’s performance as Thanos is measured, chilling and engaging, a performance that is jewel in this film’s crown – or a stone in its gauntlet - that if lacking, could have jeopardized the effectiveness of the whole film.
Avengers: Infinity War also packs an extremely hefty emotional punch. The press were barred from releasing spoilers in the run up to its release, so crucial were they to the core of the film. Without giving anything away, as the credits of the film rolled, there was an awed silence in the cinema. I have never seen anything like it.
Did you know? Tom Holland was not allowed to read the script for the film after revealing too many spoilers during interviews for Spider-Man Homecoming
Avengers: Infinity War is currently showing on every screen, in every cinema in the UK