Avengers: Infinity War(2018) Review
Cast : Robert Downey Jr., Josh Brolin, Zoe Seldana, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Sebastian Stan, Tom Hiddleston, Peter Dinklage, Chris Patt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper
Genre : Superhero
Synopsis : Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk and the rest of the Avengers unite to battle their most powerful enemy yet - the evil Thanos. The fate of the planet and existence itself has never been more uncertain as everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment.
And just like that, after ten years, eighteen films and one cruel snap of the fingers, we've arrived at this truly spectacular moment that's completely tipped the balances.
"You're part of a bigger universe, you just don't know it yet" - Nick Fury[Iron Man(2008)]
When Samuel Jackson uttered these words to a bewildered Tony Stark, who would have thought of being led on an ambitiously laden odyssey filled with multiple crossovers, recurring characters and the punchy bright-colored fun that are synonymous with Marvel films? Who would have thought then that all the individual storylines were infact one big arc moving towards the same endgame that was to culminate in a surprisingly bleak but truly epic final chapter that includes 22 superheroes that we've cheered for the last decade.
I remember coming out of The Dark Knight Rises(2012) thinking why can't Marvels ever make films like that where the stakes are raised and the characters we love die. One of the most common criticisms of Marvels is its adherence to a clear formula. Movies have a distinct feel based on the present heroes, but each have the same broad narrative and tonal beats, right down to the tight defeat of the villain at the end. Why does everything have to always be a joyous blend of humour and heroism, and not for once show us a film that's not just rooted in grim reality, but also rises to a higher thematic level? Will we ever get a Marvels film that's not the usual kapow, blam-boom!?
Fret no more for that film is finally here. That Avengers: Infinity War manages to finally achieve this colossal attempt is one thing, but to do it whilst still retaining the fun and tone of the previous films as well as having the monumental task of giving full justice to every character whether big or small is no mean feat. Never before has a film in the superhero film genre strayed this far into unchartered territory, and never before has a film this big taken a giant leap of faith by taking such a phenomenal risk. I'm still shaking and I so wish I could speak more about those final ten minutes that elevate not just the film, but the entire story arc of the Marvel Cinematic Universe(MCU). However, professional courtesy disallows me from speaking any further about it, and so I shall leave it at that.
It's a well known fact that Marvels has always had a villain problem with the notable exceptions of Loki and Killmonger. Most Marvel villains are painfully underdeveloped and uninteresting, which often leads to diminished stakes in the overall conflict. It's pretty obvious that the screenwriters at Marvels simply could not afford to screw up this time, especially when you're writing Thanos as a villain that's worthy of the biggest crossover in the MCU till date.
What makes Thanos such a fascinating villain is that while you never root for him, you understand the conviction behind his actions. While his actions are horrific, they mask the noble intentions underneath. Make no mistake, Avengers: Infinity War is Thanos' movie all the way since his quest is more important than anybody else's as he truly believes he is doing it for the greater good. His drive to destruction doesn't mean he lacks empathy. He understands all that he has lost and is pained by what he must do.
Unlike the cliched supervillains of the past, world domination is not his sole aim, but a means to achieve a higher purpose. His quest to find the Infinity Stones is more spiritual than diabolical. Unlike the megalomaniacs we've seen so far, he does not do anything to bolster his ego. He is a villain who is content with simply watching the sunset whilst reflecting on his triumphs without the applause of an adoring crowd. Thanos' story is a tragedy and that's what makes him such a compelling villain.
Although masked by layers of CGI, Josh Brolin who plays Thanos, gives him enough emotional heft to make him a supervillain for the ages, and not just some random purple dude who's intent on wiping out half the population of the universe.
The Russo brothers ought to take a deep bow! Right from giving us a nearly three hour space odyssey that has the look and feel of a Star Wars movie to juggling between the storylines of multiple Marvels films to ensure plot continuity minus the loopholes to providing an explosive start to the conclusion that appeals to die hard fans and neophytes alike, to simply juggling between the almost two dozen superheroes and ensuring that each one has their moment to shine without taking away the entertainment factor.
Of course, Tony Stark's wisecracks will have you laughing, and of course, his conversations with Benedict Cumberbatch's Dr. Strange will be like listening to two narcissistic beta fish trapped in a tank. Of course, Captain America will have an entry sequence that will make you cheer out loud from your seat, and of course, you'd be awestruck by the new contraptions in Peter Parker's Spidey suit. Of course, Thor's encounter with the Guardians of The Galaxy will have you guffawing painfully. And who can forget, the Black Widow, Wanda Maximoff and Okoye fighting side by side to display some real girl power. However, what really works here is the fact that this film is much more than that.
At almost three hours long, the film's length might frustrate some people, but how else do you justify an infinity war that's worthy of being one of the final chapters in Marvel's enviable collection of films. And as the great Roger Ebert once said - "No good movie is too long and no bad movie is too short enough", this one takes its time to take Marvel to dizzying new heights, and the wait is worth it.
I'm going with 4/5.