Back in 2008, when Robert Downey Jr. donned an iconic suit of armor as Tony Stark and proclaimed, “I am Iron Man,” we entered a world unlike anything we’ve ever seen on the big screen. Ten years and eighteen movies later (on top of a handful of short films, TV shows, and comic book tie-ins), there’s a full blown Marvel Cinematic Universe filled with a plethora of beloved characters like Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Spider-Man, and even the previously obscure Guardians of the Galaxy still going strong. Up until now, they were all enough to keep this world safe. But as Nick Fury alluded to all those years ago when he first spoke of the Avengers Initiative, one day a threat would require these extraordinary individuals to unite to fight a foe that no single hero could withstand. And that day has finally arrived in ‘Avengers: Infinity War.’
In the years following the events of ‘Captain America: Civil War’, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes remained fractured. However, when the mighty Thanos and his forces arrive on Earth in search of the Infinity Stones, the Avengers must put their differences aside and join forces with Star-Lord and his ragtag team of miscreants to protect the universe from the Mad Titan that seeks to bend reality to his will.
Before we really get into this review, there’s something very important that needs to be said upfront. For those that have been following our Marvel movie reviews over the years, you already know that we love to delve as deep into these stories as possible without getting into spoiler territory. Although if we were to do that this time around, it would do each and every True Believer out there reading our site a great disservice. It doesn’t even really feel right skimming the surface of what happens because the experience of ‘Infinity War’ works best when the audience knows as little as possible about what is going to happen. So with that in mind, just as we are doing our best for you, please do your best not to talk about anything that happens in the movie out in the open as it might rob someone else of the incredible experience that you just had in that theater. After all, #ThanosDemandsYourSilence.
While there is a lot that we cannot say, we can say that the film does take great care to be balanced. A major concern for many when this movie was first announced was that there were too many characters to cram in. Well, somehow directors Anthony and Joe Russo, writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige managed to craft the story in such a way where each of the main characters gets their time in the spotlight. Each one of them plays their part to a T and fits perfect in this grand puzzle of a tale. And while these characters all have their own journeys and character-defining moments, they’re presented in a much more nuanced way that is sprinkled between the constant action that keeps things moving. The one major exception is Thanos. Since we haven’t spent a decade getting to know every facet of his personality, there’s still a balance to those parts that just work in this story.
In addition to the balance of the characters, there’s an excellent balance to the tone of the film. Throughout the course of the two hours and forty minutes, the audience runs back and forth across the emotional spectrum. But the moments of levity are carefully and thoughtfully placed so as to not overshadow a particularly heavy moment that may have preceded it. Despite the fast-paced action, all the important moments had time to breathe and really connect with the audience.
Going back to the villain of the film, Josh Brolin did an exceptionally good job in the role. When he was first cast, there was some hesitation about him playing one of the biggest bads in the House of Ideas. But his performance definitely exceeded expectations in some very unexpected ways. For instance, some of the greatest villains are the ones that don’t think that they’re villains. Thanos genuinely believes that what he is doing is for the greater good of the universe. Brolin injects great sincerity and empathy into this character that one probably wouldn’t have seen coming. Of course, we’re not saying that anyone will come out of this siding with him. What we’re saying is that Thanos is surprisingly humanized in a very unexpected way thanks to Brolin’s performance.
Another thing that we weren’t expecting to walk away with was an appreciation for the Avengers’ theme. When Alan Silvestri first introduced it in ‘The Avengers’ back in 2012, it was more of a musical cue than a theme. But the composer managed to make that particular piece of music evolve for ‘Infinity War’ in a way that really connects with the characters and what they’re going through. Sometimes a score can simply be background music, but other times it can become such an important part of the story that you can’t imagine a scene without it. In this case, we’re definitely gifted with the latter.
At the end of the day, ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is the culmination of ten years of hard work and emotional investment. It carries the hallmarks of the Marvel films before it such as incredible characters, exciting action, and thoughtful stories that are all infused with a bit of comedy and good old-fashioned fun when needed. And just when you think you have things all figured out, they throw you a curveball of shocking surprises that completely subverts your expectations.
All of this works for the casual moviegoer looking to see some epic battles on the big screen because this movie definitely offers that in spades. But for those of us that have been on the journey from the beginning, this is the pay off that we’ve been waiting for. This is the denouement of the sprawling saga that began with a scientist, a monster, a god, and a soldier all those years ago. And while we survived the battles over the years, war is hell. With this movie being titled “Infinity War”, it might as well be infinite hell, but in the best way possible. This is what we have all been waiting for, True Believers. This is exactly what we need. And the planning and patience and foresight of Marvel Studios finally culminates here in a massively satisfying way. This movie not only lives up to the hype, but it has earned it. And the best part is that the story isn’t even over yet. But waiting for that climax and conclusion is going to be a bitch.
‘Avengers: Infinity War’ featuring an all-star ensemble cast that includes Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Josh Brolin, and more assembles in theaters on April 27, 2018.