The Watchers Issue #22: Avengers: Infinity War Review
Hello ladies and gentlemen and welcome to The Watchers.
Marvel's latest addition to the MCU, Avengers: Infinity War, came out last week, and I had the pleasure of watching it with my wife. It is currently blowing up all over the world, so I wanted to take this opportunity to go over my thoughts and feelings of the movie. I'm going to talk about what was good, what was bad, and how it connects back to the comics. If you are interested in hearing Ken and I discuss the movie, we released a special episode of Splash Page where we discussed it, which will be released the day after this is posted. Stay tuned for that.
This review will contain major spoilers, so if you haven't seen the film yet, I high recommend that you do first before reading any further.
Okay, let's start with an overview of the plot of the film. Thanos and his "children" are attempting to collect the Infinity Stones so that Thanos can wipe out half the population of the universe in his twisted attempt to solve resource shortages and overpopulation. The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and heroes not affiliated with either side come together to try to stop Thanos, but ultimately fail. By the end of the film, Thanos has collected the stones, used the Infinity Gauntlet to wipe out half the population, and all our heroes are dead, save for Rocket Racoon, War Machine, and the original Avengers. Hawkeye and Ant-Man's statuses are unknown. The movie ends on a major cliff-hanger where the remaining Avengers are separated or injured and have no ideas on what to do next, while Thanos retreats to the countryside to bask in his victory.
This film excels in most areas. The pacing is spectacular. The entire 2.5hr run time is filled with action from the second the film starts. The very few moments of brief downtime for planning or travel are sandwiched between major points of action or shocking reviews, keeping you on the edge of your seat the whole time. Seriously, this film is a mental and emotional workout.
The acting is spectacular. Josh Brolin delivers a haunting portrayal of Thanos as the twisted god-like being who believes he is doing the right thing, and has little to no qualms about who needs to be destroyed in his quest to do so. A major nod also needs to be given to Tom Holland for delivering arguably the most gut-wrenching moment of the entire film, as Peter Parker clutches to Tony Stark as he dies, crying "I don't wanna go..." That moment wrecked me in the theatre, and is a standout moment of the entire film, even before you find out that Holland improvised the scene.
The heroes are broken into teams that perfectly allow them to play off of one another. The team of The Guardians of the Galaxy (minus Rocket), Tony Stark, Doctor Strange, and Spider-Man see the most egotistical and innocent characters mashed together and have to work with one another. Thor, Groot, and Rocket get together as the team that will bend the rules to do what is needed. Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow, Black Panther, War Machine, Falcon, and Winter Soldier team up as the more "by the book" team as the main line of defense against Thanos' children and their army. The teams allow for great moments of interactions that we don't usually see, such as a stand out moment with Scarlet Witch, Black Widow, and Okoye fighting one of the children.
The special effects are outstanding in this film as well, with particular nods going to the CGI of Thanos and the fight between the Mad Titan and Doctor Strange.
Honestly, there isn't too much bad to say about the movie. Thanos' moments of "humanity," especially between him and Gamora feel a little forced at times. They try to make Thanos an almost sympathetic character at these moments, and it kind of falls flat. The rest of the time is built up making him a terrifying demigod that has no regard for life, so these moments seem a little out of place.
There is also an imbalance of focus on some of the heroes. Captain America and Black Widow in particular get shafted a bit on the attention of the camera. It should be noted though that in interviews, screenwriters have said that they will get their due in the sequel in 2019, and that makes sense as they are among the few still surviving.
Avengers: Infinity War is based off of the limited series Infinity Gauntlet by Jim Starlin, which is (confusingly) the sequel to the Infinity War series. In the series, Thanos has already collected the Infinity Gems (the process of which can be read in the two-part Thanos Quest) and decides to wipe out the universe in an effort to appease Death, the female embodiment of the concept, and to show his love for her. He succeeds, killing off a similar team of heroes. He is defeated through means I won't get into for fear of accidently spoiling the follow-up film, and retires to a quiet farm with a flock of sheep.
In the film, the motivations of Thanos are obviously changed, assumably to make it more accessible for the average movie going audience. Overpopulation and resource shortages are things we are familar with, but a physical personification of death is a little odd, even for movies. Thanos also does not utilize his children as we see them in the film, although Nebula does play a significantly larger role in the comics. The seeds for the yet untitled Avengers 4 (scheduled for release in May 2019) to follow the comic storyline have been laid in previous films, but it seems unlikely that they will take that route.
I absolutely loved this movie. It was ambitious, took crazy risks, and shook up the MCU in ways that could not have been expected for people who don't read the comics. The pacing was spectacular, considering when I saw it was 2.5hrs long, I got concerned about how much filler would be in it. The success of this movie is also all-but guarenteeing huge financial success for Avengers 4, which is always great. I can't wait until we get to see how they wrap this all up, and what long lasting ramifications there will be for the MCU as a whole.
If you want my predictions for what will take place moving forward, make sure you check out the review episode of Splash Page, as Ken and I get into that.
I'm giving this movie a 10/10, and confidently saying it is my favourite film in the MCU right now. It had a couple minor issues, but the strengths outweigh them heavily in my opinion. This was the first film I can remember that left me speechless afterwards for good reasons, not bad.
What did you think? Do you agree? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time, excelsior!