Its been almost a decade since the release of Iron Man the first film in the now multi-billion dollar Avengers franchise. In that time, the series has been through many highs and lows, and Infinity War very much feels like a culmination of everything that’s come before.
Infinity War’s plot hits the ground running and for better or for worse never really slows down. This time around, The Avengers are tasked with stopping Thanos (Josh Brolin) from gathering six world-altering artifacts known as Infinity Stones to wipe out half of the life in the universe. Normally, telling a narrative on this scale in addition to juggling a cast of characters as large as Infinity War’s would lead to an incredibly bloated film; however, Avengers wisely avoids this by splitting its characters into several smaller groups. Nevertheless, each one has their own goal to try to stop Thanos. This approach not only ensures that most characters get a decent amount of screen time and their own moment to shine, but it also allows for some great interactions between characters who would have no business interacting under normal circumstances. Moments like Tony Stark and Doctor Strange exchanging barbed quips or Thor hitching a ride with the Guardians of the Galaxy lead to some of the most fun and well-scripted scenes in any of the Marvel films. These interactions also help play into one of the film’s greatest strengths. Infinity War feels exactly like the film equivalent of reading a big comic-book crossover event. Characters who logically have no business interacting, such as a Norse God and talking raccoon from space, meet up and discuss strategic maneuvers. Crucial pieces of lore and world-building are casually dropped and explained away almost immediately. Scenes transition to different cities, countries, or even planets in a matter of moments. Even though this pace can be jarring or even overwhelming at times, it’s also what helps Infinity War to feel like a streamlined three-hour experience rather than a grueling slog.
The performances in Infinity War are played very well. Robert Downey Jr. once again succeeds in playing a Tony Stark that is charming, quippy, and charismatic, yet also burdened with extreme anxiety and a guilty conscience. Likewise, Chris Hemsworth’s take on Thor carries on his more comedic persona from Ragnarok. However, he also genuinely comes across as a man who has lost nearly everything that’s important to him. Additionally, Josh Brolin’s Thanos is one of the most compelling and sympathetic villains in a Marvel movie; yet in no small part due to Infinity War’s strong script. The film’s final moments in particular contain some extremely strong performances and its ending is sure to stick with audiences because of them.
While most of what’s on display in Infinity War is strong and well-executed, a few of the many subplots fall a little flat. Vision and Scarlet Witch’s romantic relationship while true to the source material, feels underdeveloped on film. A few characters feel like they miss out on having a “Grand Moment” to shine. Also, one particular subplot concerning the Hulk goes absolutely nowhere. Missteps like this are almost unavoidable with a film of this nature, but it’s difficult not to feel like some potential was wasted.
Avengers: Infinity War is a lot to process. Its scale is massive and its premise is more than a little outlandish. What really sets it apart from other films in its genre is it sheer dedication to its world and characters; nevertheless, it boasts some of the best action scenes in any recent superhero movie. At times it can even also be heartbreaking. While it can be a bit crowded, it is also a movie that celebrates its comic book roots. If you’ve seen it, let us know what you thought about the movie!