10 years, 18 films, and billions of dollars (both spent and made) have all been leading to this. Infinity War. There was a lot that had to be done in order to make this film work, and despite all the hype, it still had to deliver. So, did it? In my opinion, it did, however, it was not a perfect film, and there are some flaws that hold it back from being a masterpiece. Allow me to explain in this Avengers: Infinity War review.
WARNING: There will be spoilers in this review. You have been warned.
Let’s get right to the heart of the matter, and no, I don’t mean the Avengers or the Guardians of the Galaxy. This film has to live or die on the back of Thanos. The Marvel Cinematic Universe hasn’t always had the best luck with villains. For every Loki or Kilmonger we get, we got a Malekith, a Yellowjacket, or a “Colonel” Zemo (still mad about that one for the record). Thankfully for EVERYONE…Thanos isn’t just magnificent, he’s arguably the best MCU villain ever, which compared him to Loki and Kilmonger is no small feat. Personally, he’s my new favorite.
Now, some will be mad that he’s not the “Mad Titan” who kills and conquers to please Death (the literal entity whom he loves), and there is a consequence to this, but, for the most part, it works. Especially because it gives him death. He’s no longer a mindless machine (not that he was that in the first place, I’m just using the term to paint a picture) with a simple goal, he’s a being in the universal who believes with all he has that he has to “balance” the universe by wiping half of it out. Only then can the universe survive. While that makes him sound like other villains, like Red Skull, its how Thanos is portrayed during his mission that gives him great weight.
He’s not heartless, just the opposite, he does love, and that’s a key storyline in Infinity War. His scenes with Gamora are both terrifying and touching. When you learn of his origin it’s the same. He’s not a man “burdened with glorious purpose”, he’s a man who watched something he love die, and he’s not going to let that happen to the universe he lives in. And if it costs 50% of life everywhere to make that happen? He’ll do it.
Josh Brolin totally nails the tone of this Thanos, he’s intimidating and cunning, but can also speak softly and speak with passion. Mind you, he’s also a major physical threat, which the 3D animators and other artists who brought him to life perfectly show. The way Thanos uses the Infinity Gauntlet is epic, and with each stone he gets, he gets even greater power, and you can’t help but say, “Crap.” as he does, because you know bad things are coming.
Now, as for the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s honestly a bit of a mixed bag. I’ll start with the good. As always, the interactions with the characters are almost always on point. Great scenes include Star-Lord promises to kill Gamora should she fall into Thanos hands, numerous “mentor-pupil” scenes between Tony and Peter, and in a surprise, just about every scene with Vision and Wanda, who are now a full-on couple. Thor also gets some good screen time and has a storyline to accompany that, and his interactions with Rocket and Groot were both funny and meaningful. To be fair, all the characters get at least one good scene, but those are the main focus.
I should also point out that the set pieces and vast reaches of the universe we got to are incredible. We see both familiar places and new worlds/areas we’ve never gone to before, or even heard of. Including the location of the Soul Stone, which may start out as confusing, but once a certain arrival (who I won’t spoil) arrives, it all makes sense. And then it REALLY makes sense, and then you’ll cry. You’ve been warned if you somehow haven’t seen the film and are (for some reason) still reading this).
The battles of the film are really cool. I’ve already talked about the fights with Thanos, but his “children”, the Black Order also get some great spotlight via their fights. Every one is unique, and you get to see it in the film, and seeing them battle with the Avengers and either hold their own or straight up win was really cool.
Sadly though, not everything worked. First up, the much-hyped “joining” of the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy was anything but what was advertised. As the trailers showed, the GOTG meets Thor, and that’s funny…while it lasts. Then, Peter, Drax, and Mantis meet up with Tony, Doctor Strange and Peter, and that works…but it’s short. And though I loved the meeting of Groot and Steve Rogers, Rocket doesn’t even get a mention…but he does get a great scene with Bucky…and yes, he asks for the arm.
The point is, aside from some great comedy moments, the joining is kind of rushed outside of Thor’s “arrival” on the team. In fact, I don’t think Tony or Dr. Strange even ask who they are, cause they don’t tell the Avengers that they’re the GOTG. And what’s worse, the “ending” (which I will spoil) makes the “joining” even more of a wasted opportunity.
Then, there’s the fact that despite some major storylines coming due, like the return of Steve Rogers to the fold after the events of Civil War, there’s so much going on that he honestly doesn’t get much to do outside of fight and lead. This also goes for Natasha, who only says like two words to Bruce Banner. Other characters don’t get much better due, and a certain Avenger doesn’t even get to grace the screen. You know who I’m talking about.
On that note a key Thor Raganrok character doesn’t show up on screen at all either despite her being on the ship at the end of the movie. Yep, Valkyrie is not in the film at all, which is both odd and illogical. Cause we know she’s not dead. Speaking of logic flaws, there is one key instance in the film where the use of the Time Stone could’ve saved everything, yet it wasn’t used, or even thought of for some reason. And Doctor Strange doesn’t a very out-of-character thing in my opinion which helped contribute to the ending.
Ok, BIG spoiler incoming…
At the end of Infinity War, Thanos literally snaps his fingers and destroys half of the universe. He does it, full-stop. As such, and added to four key deaths before this moment and two during the end-credits sequence, 15 major characters died. 15! And some of them were major Avengers who have movies coming up after Infinity War Part 2 (or whatever it is called) arrives next year.
On one hand, this is a reference to the legendary Infinity Gauntlet arc from the comics where Thanos did the same thing. However, unlike the comic (where you technically didn’t know where it was going to go), this decision has some of its weight taken away due to WHO was taken away. In short, all but two of the Guardians of the Galaxy are dead, including Star-Lord and Gamora. Black Panther and Spider-Man are also killed. While this was good in that it showed EVERYONE was vulernable to this 50/50 chance of life and death…we know they can’t stay dead. Spider-Man and Black Panther are going to get sequels, and GOTG Vol.3 is coming as well. So these characters HAVE to come back to life, else the movies can’t happen.
Now, whether the next movie follows what the comic did is uncertain, but we know things have to be undone. And while I think it’s fair that not EVERY character who was killed (for there were some minor characters taken out) has to come back, a vast majority absolutely have to. Moreso, both Tony and Steve survived this, that seems a bit odd to me.
Finally, especially in the beginning of the film, it was very disjointed. We were following multiple teams and people on various planets and areas of space and the bouncing around sometimes hurt previous scenes. Yes, they did mesh for the most part by the end, especially with Thor’s storyline, but it was still noticeable.
In the end though, as I hope my Avengers: Infinity War Review proved, there was a lot of great stuff in this movie. Thanos was a boss through and through. When the characters were allowed to shine, they did. And the battles were incredible. But, some logic leaps (some of which I didn’t mention in order to keep this review a bit shorter), questionable character choices and decisions and more makes it so that the film didn’t stick the landing as much as it would’ve liked.
Still, it’s very much worth seeing, and you’ll definitely want to stick around for that end-credits scene.