Rating: 4 outta 5!
*Non-Spoiler* Short Review
(scroll down past the comic for spoilery full review!)
Well here we go guys. That movie us Marvel nerds have been waiting a decade for. Expect this review to be like that one time in high school you really liked that person, was kinda shy about it, and then wrote this overly long note explaining why they’re amazing. Not the love of your life amazing, but still- note worthy.
The Lead Up:
The past 10 years have been “The Decade of The Nerd” - and a big part of that? The Marvel Cineverse. “Iron Man” (2008), with Robert Downey Jr playing lead role Tony Starks, made comic movies cool. Sure, we had X Men (and its horrible sequels), the Blades (I’m a HUGE fan of the sequel) and a few here and there that blot our Superhero Movie Timeline, but arguably, it wasn’t until Iron Man and the beginnings of the Marvel Cineverse did superhero movies reach a larger demographic and “become cool”. And YES, I know, we had the Supermans and the Batmans...but they only reached so far- and even at that, their fires went out pretty quickly in Hollywood. Superman and Batman are household names, but its a way smaller group that know their history- let alone read and celebrate their comics.Being a comic artist and vending at comic conventions for the past few years- every year I saw an exponential increase in the numbers of attendees - everyone knows of and wants to be Iron Man, Thor, Captain America now. Marvel became “the cool kid”, setting the bar for superhero movies, and smartly established “The Marvel Way” of cinematically creating and maintaining a franchise. The entirety of said franchise, a collective effort in the building and lead up to one of the most epic superhero movies of our time- Avengers: Infinity War. BOOM! [cue explosions]
From the very get go, AIW cuts the bullshit. There’s no catch up, there’s no preparation for the first few scenes. Its Go Time. The movie starts with a scene of a battle aftermath- Asgardians, strewn all over the ship- bodies everywhere. Thanos, the Mad Titan, standing over a defeated Thor. This was so powerful a moment in establishing the strength of our main Villain. The fight that ensues moments later after Loki coyly states, “We have a Hulk” caused the audience to cheer as The Green Giant jumps into scene, pummeling Thanos- that is, until Thanos starts pummeling back. In what seemed like too easy of a defeat, the Hulk’s defeated body is thrown onto the ground, Loki and Heimdall are killed, the ship (lit aflame) explodes as Thor weeps over his dead brother...and we fade to black and then to title screen, “Avengers: Infinity War” .
This intro sets the tempo and tone for the rest of the movie. No more waiting for end credits to catch a glimpse of the impending doom ahead. No more teasing the end of the world- it’s here, and his name is Thanos. This is the worst threat our Marvel Heroes have ever fought- and AIW makes sure that you know that our heroes know it. Watching an ensemble cast of this record breaking size (19 movies worth) fight for not only the fate of the world, but their very existence...only Marvel Studios could’ve pulled off something this size so successfully. My one critique on the Marvel Cineverse is that in large parts, it’s a bit too “polished” - for most of the movies, although very entertaining, there never seems to be any “real” threats. Sure, there’s the “world ending” power of [insert film villain & movie of any Marvel Movie in Phases 1 & 2..and a couple in 3], but as with anything Marvel there exists a “Marvel Way” for plot & character development- formulaically done well, with a neat bow tied on top. .In AIW, it’s a bit different.
From those first few scenes of the movie, it’s a race against annihilation. The battle’s already been lost, and our protagonists fight that realization….there’s a desperation in each and every epic fight (and believe me, they are ALL epic). Our heroes have never fought a threat of this magnitude, and are visually giving everything they got. For the first time in a long time at a Marvel Movie viewing, I felt for the heroes, and I rooted for them as they fought the impossible odds. So many moments of protagonist defiance, AIW sets a speed and stays steady- expertly balancing a gradual plot development amongst several parallel subplots, leading to the final stand against Thanos.
There’s literally all (excluding just a couple) of the ensemble hero cast in this impressive ensemble movie- and personally, I feel we see some of the best out of these characters in this film. A handful worth mentioning would be Stark, Thor, and Thanos. Stark’s been haunted by visions of Thanos since the first Avengers movie, and watching him fight his demons while beating up bad guys in this film felt like one of the more sincere versions of Tony Stark we’ve gotten. Stark’s desperately trying to sort out a plan- while doing this, contending with other egos (like Doctor Strange and Star Lord) and stubbornly having to convince himself he can’t defeat Thanos alone. Stark’s ultimate defeat at the end, the audience feels it with him. Robert Downey Jr has given us some of his best acting through Iron Man, and this performance as that character is one of the best. Thor’s had some weird luck with his solo movies, but within the Avengers film, I think we see better shades of his personality and character. AIW is no different, and with his Asgardian people, best friend and brother being killed in the very beginning of the film, the sad, revenge-driven ( but still humorous) Thor we get here serves as one of the better character performances. Thanos up to this point has been a buncha one liners with limited screen time - I wasn’t sure exactly how his character was going to be flushed out but I was happy with the direction he was written, including the character’s motivation for “balance”. AIW not only serves as an end to an era, but funny enough, as an epic, ironic version of a “Marvels Origin” film for him- telling a bit of his backstory (through his relationship with Gamora) with the resolution being the defeat of the movie’s “enemy(s)”...which are our heroes. Literally every other Marvel Origins film follows this formula, though the endings are always the defeat of a single villain by the hero….considering this film is the defeat of an entire universe of heroes, literally single-handedly by a villain, you could say Thanos has the best “origins movie” so far (wink wink).
AIW does an AMAZING job of fan servicing- there’s so many awesome collab moments us fans have been waiting for- some of my favorites: Doctor Strange and Tony Stark trash talking each other- Thor & Rocket’s (aka, “Rabbit” ’s) mini quest - any scene that involved any member of the Guardians of the Galaxy- and of course, the finale team-up big battle on Wakanda- a battle that found me as excited as I was on that first viewing of Avengers 1. Watch this movie on the big screen - AIW deserves this, as well as you.