The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe. (from IMDB)
What does ten years of movies consisting of 18 films culminate to? Marvel Studios' impressive arsenal of feature films have been leading up to this event: Infinity War. Ever since Captain America: The First Avenger introduced the teseract, which housed the space stone, in 2011, we've seen Marvel pave the road to this cataclysmic event. But it all began in 2008 with the introduction of Iron Man and S.H.I.E.L.D., which first laid the building blocks to the Avengers in 2012. Each film has added a new piece to the puzzle, with new characters, places, Infinity Stones, and more. Now, a decade later, Avengers: Infinity War is here.
Infinity War is the third Avengers film, and it opens only mere hours after the events of the mid-credits scene from November's Thor: Ragnarok took place. (It was actually Thanos' massive ship we see looming over Loki and Thor as they gazed outside the window into space.) But this film so beautifully brings so many well-plotted things together. Last year's Spider-Man: Homecoming works to further the surrogate-father relationship Tony Stark has with Peter Parker, Stark and Pepper have taken their relationship to the next level, we see how the events of Captain America: Civil War has affected the team and how the Avengers operate, and we see how much the Guardians of the Galaxy have grown as a family. The one thing you don't get in this movie, however, is a glimpse of Hawkeye or Ant-Man (who are both dismissed from this film in one line about them being on house arrest as part of a deal struck with the government to keep them out of jail - following the events of Civil War). But the real charm of Infinity War is getting to see so many beloved Marvel characters together in one place - and interact with one another. If you'd thought, while watching 2012's Avengers, "How could it get any better than this?" Infinity War is your answer.
The Russo brothers previously gave fans Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War -- both great films in their own right that offered different and unique superhero fare with loads of heart and entertainment value. Some have heralded Winter Soldier as one of the best in the entirety of the Marvel franchise, and it's certainly up there. Infinity War is the first Avengers film (not counting Civil War) that hasn't had Joss Whedon in the director's chair. But, comparatively, the Russos' Avengers feel like a healthy mix of Whedon's approach and the past two Cap movies. With a story as weighty as Infinity War, comic relief is paramount, and the Russos (and the cast) deliver in spades -- without cheapening the emotional heft of the film in the process. Because, believe me, there's significant emotional weight here.
I'll do my best to not spoil anything from the film (unless you count knowing ahead of time that you won't see Hawkeye or Ant-Man this time around a spoiler), but the Russos make good on their promise that there would be (irreversible) deaths in this film. Granted, there are some ambiguous ones (that are less likely to actually be "deaths") but there are definite ends to the lives of some characters that are tough to watch if you're a fan of these films. Also, tonally -- again, I'm trying not to spoil anything -- Infinity War concludes on a bit of an Empire Strikes Back note. It's bleak (as one would expect), and a bit of a cliffhanger, leaving viewers wondering what might transpire in next year's Avengers 4. The post-credits scene (which brings back some familiar faces and is worth sticking around for) gives us a glimmer of hope, but otherwise, the movie ends leaving you anxiously awaiting the next chapter.
That's really the only "negative" to the film's story. It's virtually a 2-and-a-half-hour "Part One" to a larger story (then again, each movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been part of a grander story). Also, some may feel a little cheated by some of their favorite characters not getting a whole lot of screen time. However, I found there to be a pretty good balance struck amongst the characters. I may have wanted to see more from some characters (like Cap or Bucky or Hulk), but everyone -- every single character -- has at least one moment to shine. And many of them will make fans giddy. There are quite a few references or gags carried through from other films too -- little things that seemed relatively insignificant in another movie that are mentioned or have a great pay-off here. But it's these kinds of details that make following all of these films so worth it. I could go on, but I'll just say this movie leaves me eager for each upcoming Marvel movie.
When it comes to content, it's definitely rough, but mostly on an emotional level. The film is dark -- in look and tone, but that should be expected. When a character is looking to wipe out the galaxy as we know it, you can expect the film not to be a fluffy one. Again, there's a great balance of humor used in the film to help alleviate the intensity of the film, but rest assured - it's still intense. As expected these days, there is some profanity, but it's kept to being relatively infrequent, considering. There are a handful of uses of the "S" word, 1 use of "eff" (said just like that), 1 incomplete "mother--" in the post-credits scene, a few each of the "a" word, "h*ll," and "d*mn," and several uses of "Oh my G-d" as exclamations (I don't think they're meant to be blasphemous, however). There is a scene where Star-Lord flashes the middle finger, and in another scene where the Guardians are asked what master they serve, Star-Lord sarcastically questions the inquiry and says "Who are we supposed to say? Jesus?!" It's an iffy moment that especially sounds odd coming out of Chris Pratt's mouth, given the actor is a devout Christian. Otherwise, the film has some very intense sequences that show characters dying, saying goodbye to each other, confessing love for one another, etc. There's an emphasis placed on the theme of sacrifice, and everything adds up to a lot to unpack for a film about fictional superheroes and magical Infinity Stones. There isn't a lot of graphic content, but we do see a monster's severed hand burned on one end after a portal closes on its arm, a bunch of monsters get torn into pieces as they try to break through a barrier, blood coming from a couple characters' mouths in different scenes, scrapes and cuts on their faces, a couple characters looking discolored after death, and other violent imagery.
Avengers: Infinity War is something worth talking about amongst fellow fans for hours after viewing. It's a powerful, entertaining, fun, thrilling, emotional, memorable and impactful film that you'll want to see again as soon as you finish processing what you've just experienced. It's a magnificent achievement in filmmaking as well. I'm sure Avengers 4 -- which is slated to release this time next year -- will make or break this film (Empire Strikes Back remains my second-favorite film of all-time, but I'm sure it's only so good also because we know how things resolve in the follow-up film, Return of the Jedi). Until then, Avengers: Infinity War is a lot worth getting excited about.- John DiBiase (reviewed: 4/28/18)
Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not exclusively on content. However, if the content really affects the reviewer's opinion and experience of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's overall rating.
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