Infinity War review Chris Pratt Pom Klementieff Dave Bautista Tom HollandYear: 2018
Director(s): Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writer(s): Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Region of Origin: USA

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1, (1.90:1 IMAX version)
Rating: PG-13
Digital, Color, 150 mins

Synopsis: The Avengers must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos. (Source)

At 19 films in, the Marvel Universe has been almost everywhere and done everything, leaping between genres, introducing us to countless characters and growing exponentially to the point of combustion. Still, Avengers: Infinity War represents another first in Marvel’s already large list of risky propositions and charming spectacle. That’s right, Infinity War is the first true, superhero epic of the modern age. It’s an experience ripped straight from intergalactic comic book spreads, grand and operatic, in a way that pays things off for fans that have been there since the beginning. Firing on all cylinders, the film is a tribute to everything that’s made these films work. The character interactions are incredible, the showdowns are the biggest they’ve ever been, and the deep struggles that tie us to every sacrifice are 100% on display. This latest chapter also signals the end of an era, challenging what we expect and introducing some game-changing stakes.

It’s hard to get too much into the story without spoiling things, but basically, everything revolves around a hulking, purple alien named Thanos (Josh Brolin). Teased since the first Avengers film, this is where Thanos steps into the limelight, on the hunt for a series of cosmic artifacts which will allow him bring balance to the universe. This form of balance, is the ability to snap his fingers in order to wipe out half the universe. He believes that resources are scarce, people can’t handle what they’ve been given, and the solution is genocide. It all makes sense under certain narrative framing which I won’t go into, but, anyways, Thanos’ exploits pit him face-to-face with a fractured Avengers. Scattered throughout the cosmos, the Avengers are forced to regroup as best they can, in order to preserve life as we know it.

The film’s big draw, of course, is that after a decade of Marvel films, this is where the entire universe finally connects. For a story that jumps back and forth between galaxies (yes, multiple), cleverly curated superhero teams and a villain’s devastating schemes, the film feels organic and fluid, never overstuffed or meandering. Every scene is rich with detail and newness thanks to everyone finally meeting up, and then, immediately fighting to stay afloat thanks to a relentless chain of dire situations. It’s true that the focus on Thanos turns the Avengers into supporting acts, but its a necessary evil that pays off, still giving everyone their moment even as the rug’s ripped out from beneath us. From the otherworldly visuals, to the genuine terror that looms over every urgent scene, this is peak blockbuster spectacle. It’s rooted in just the right amount of existential quandary, carrying an honest-to-god darker story, and replete with an endless supply of quotable, crowd-pleasing moments.

Infinity War review Josh BrolinThough the cast is great on all counts, it’s Brolin’s Thanos that really makes the film work. If it’s true that heroes are only as good as their villains, then Thanos is a presence that really puts things into high gear. Despite being completely CG, Brolin delivers someone who is hauntingly sympathetic. We know what he’s doing is maniacal, yet its rooted in a very primal and even spiritual place. For a character that’s been pulling the strings from behind the curtain for so long, this film really makes him a valid, impressively relatable threat. Second up, Gamora has an important role that gives Zoe Saldana more depth than allowed in either Guardians of the Galaxy film. In some ways, she gives the film its heart. Straight for wreckin’ it in Ragnarok, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor comes in swinging, on a special quest that takes his powers even further than before. Hemsworth’s comedic timing is perfect with the Guardians’ Groot and Rocket, while Robert Downey Jr. and Benedict Cumberbatch are a match made in heaven as Stark and Strange. The list goes on, believe me, but these are my personal faves.

There’s so much more that can be said about this dizzying and gargantuan film. It’s A LOT to process, and a single viewing just doesn’t feel like a enough. Credit to Marvel, however, for playing the long game, patiently building up to this slice of cinematic lunacy and constantly setting a new standard. People talk about superhero fatigue, but chapters like this prove that there’s still so much more to explore. While the first Avengers film was a marvel in and of itself, Infinity War is a miracle that takes things to another, unforeseen level. And like that, Marvel has earned itself another landmark achievement, putting literally all hands on deck to pull off the most ambitious film of its kind. I already need to see it again, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

SG