Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Director – Russo Brothers
Writer – Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Starring – Everyone
Rating – PG-13
Genre – Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Metascore – 68/100
Rotten Tomatoes – 86%
For a long time I have been unimpressed by the faux epics that Avengers movies tend to be. Age of Ultron was vastly uninteresting and The Avengers was notable simply because they pulled it off. Infinity War learns from the aimless mistakes of Age of Ultron, finally breaking the mold of every Marvel movie thus far by raising the stakes and delivering on its horrific promises.
Avengers: Infinity War is a story not about the Avengers, or the Guardians, or any of the heroes: It’s about Thanos. Thanos is a man of fixed, unforgiving principles. He believes in his mission with his entire person, and presents himself as an unstoppable, ever approaching force of destruction. Thanos distinguishes himself from other movie villains, who are often created with the singular goal of defeating the hero. Thanos is different. The Guardians, the Avengers; they mean nothing to him. They are mere pests standing between him and his will for ultimate power. Thanos’ character is perfected in Brolin’s steely and reserved performance, especially when the Mad Titan’s guard is lowered and we see the heart of our foe. We have recently been gifted massive upgrades in Marvel villains, starting with Spiderman: Homecoming and Black Panther, but Infinity War is proof that Marvel has finally hit its villain stride. Not only is Thanos an unequivocally powerful villain, but so are his henchman. Rather than just cannon fodder, the “children of Thanos” are well designed, engaging villains in their own right.
Every Marvel movie lives and dies by its tone. They relieve emotional gut shots with quips, and at times remove severity with an untimely one liner. Infinity War succeeds in finding a notable balance, despite a tonally heavy story, but at times brings comic relief prematurely causing us to detach from the tension or emotional toll. The Hulk, in particular, is relegated to an impotent punching bag of lackluster comic relief. The Russo brothers enfolded some of the seriousness and gravity of the former Black Panther, which brought a new depth of tone to the decade of Marvel adventures.
The highest merit I have found in Infinity War is it’s epic storytelling. It harkens back to Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, both of which have had enormous success in telling a story of meaning and loss. The Avengers truly feel the cost of what might come if Thanos claims the infinity stones. They suffer under Thanos’ perilous will, just as Harry suffers in his quest to destroy Horcruxes or as Frodo is crushed from the weight of the One Ring. The only missing element from this epic is a score that matches the depth of story. Although after a decade of storytelling we finally are able to have an epic experience that felt new. I found myself not wanting this adventure to end, even at it’s incredible 2 hour and 40 minute runtime. Infinity War pulls no punches, delivering on horrific promises in a universe previously populated by indestructible heroes.
Authors: Jesse Ingram and Josh Johnson