Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War ★★★½

A culmination that started with Jon Favreau’s Iron Man (2008) has brought ten years worth of content that overall established a distinct, ambitious, and grand cinematic universe; a success that we have yet to witness fruitfully matched in the medium. Taking from the trends, rules, and concepts of it’s source material, it’s comic book roots have effortlessly found it’s way translated into the cinematic format, removing the incapable and rigidly specific aspects of the art form in order for such to make sense and of significant impact in it’s filmic form.

With a reach that aims to inspire and entertain, Marvel Studios have found ways to take such beloved icons and the format’s distinct composition and allowed it to be deeply consumed through these series of films. With by it’s 10th year, have provided enough variety and substantial milestone - mostly churned out in the studio’s third and latest phase - and through this, an optimistic sign is shown that diverse and creative things could erupt from the brand, in ways that many of us probably didn’t expect. And though I am well aware of the shortcomings that the formula carries, the point where we now find it has been well beyond what I had initially anticipated.

Now reaching Infinity War, the third instalment in the Avengers flagship title, one that promises to act as a pinnacle and also crossroads of everything that the brand has established up until then. Concerning an enormous cast and a promising enormous storyline, excitement and hype are sure to be had with such a release, one that extends beyond the assembly that it’s flagship titles have previously been able to provide. Did such meet my expectations? In a way, yes, but it is not one without it’s own set of flaws.

Continuing forward with the disassembly of the Avengers, heroes scattered, and relationships strained, we find our players faced upon an imminently growing threat; Thanos bursting into the scene with determination and malice, hoping to collect the dispersed infinity stones as a means to attain substantial power to fulfil his role for the universe - to end half of civilisation in order to establish balance, order, and peace to the world. Thanos opposed by the protectors who are determined to arrest from such a catastrophe from being realised are faced with confrontation, some personally with Thanos himself, witnessing a moment that seemed somewhat improbable in the films that started the whole thing.

Almost as if following within the trends that this third phase handles this antagonist, Thanos - played here by Josh Brolin - has surprisingly a lot of scenes to chew on, with much of his screen time dedicated on not only getting the stones but in deconstructing his aspirations and the significant relationships that define him. It may seem all too sudden and condensed, given that this character just had his debut, but the intention to include such character exploration is wonderful, ensuring a somewhat empathic and thoughtful gesture in our connection with such a character; making up for the character’s repetitive doom and gloom motivation that synonymous films have painted and justified their villains with. Heck even somebody at the theatre yelled out in agreeance when Thanos exposed the rationale behind his intentions.

The film is constructed in such a way that is reminiscent to the developing structures of the original Avengers film, notably in that film’s first two-thirds, where we find our heroes somewhat inadherent with one another, out separated in the hopes to succeed in their individual plans to stop Thanos from reaching any of the stones. The banter is wonderful, and these moments do allow for a platform to witness characters jumbled in random, finding combinations that we have yet to see from the universe, finally colliding to convey the links between them all. For a major part of it, I was on board. I thought such an approach did allow development to be conveyed for these characters, even if minuscule given the film’s large cast, while also encouraging new inter-character chemistry that would bring alternative opportunities for future projects; I certainly had fun with the Thor/Rocket and Tony/Quill combos.

I did, however, find such bulkiness in setting-up lacking in cohesive motivation, constantly interrupted by zipping across different narrative tangents, of which does succeed in creating that intended scale. But since all of this is merely building blocks for the upcoming flagship sequel - out next year - much of it still remains still emotionally lacklustre, knowing that certain moments don’t feel as permanent given that things are still to be paid off or further enhanced in the next film. This is a feeling that is synonymous to my viewing of Harry Potter series’ final two films, where the initial half, though crucial in it’s existence and goals, lacked an emotional connection as the pay off has yet to be revealed, thus such a film managed to only cast a more positive light from me when viewed upon retrospect, when I already had all the pieces of the overall puzzle.

One cannot doubt the impressiveness that Infinity War was able to bring from a visual perspective, providing the audience with a sense of scale and action that has yet to be tapped from the franchise at this degree. I was wowed with the entrances of certain characters and fight scenes certainly had the splendour that one would expect from the Russo Brothers, of which this would be their third film for the studio. Although I am sure after the release of the upcoming film and me having the opportunity to finally absorb it all in and see the entirety of it’s arcs, I would feel the true weight of it all.

To iterate again, Infinity War has a number of good things to offer, and for an appetiser, the film delivers in more fronts than it fails, however, crucial emotional anchors feel less apparent and impacting having seen only half of the picture and knowing that much more is to develop and emerge in the events to come. Avengers: Infinity War is undoubtedly a milestone, and for such to be applauded is warranted under this reviewer’s eyes. If you asked me 10 years ago if such a feat would be reached by the studio, I would have responded with a great deal of cynicism, but now that we are finally here, it’s hard to imagine the studio being able to deliver anything less.

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