Avengers: Infinity War ★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Perhaps one of the ballsiest blockbusters ever made, INFINITY WAR is at least the most daring MCU movie we’ve seen, finally injecting a true sense of mortality and loss for a collective we’ve been following for the past decade. Only, the losses they experience don’t feel rooted in some “this is the end” Final Chapter marketing scheme (though its impossible to deny that’s at least part of it), instead actually interrogating each character and truly wondering what they’d be willing to sacrifice in service of saving literally millions in the process. We (wrongfully) compare so many “dark” episodes of our favorite franchises to EMPIRE STRIKES BACK simply due to the superficial tonal similarities, but this is one of the rare blockbusters where the weight of hopelessness matches that same sensation we felt when Luke lost his hand, and Han was frozen in Jabba’s gangster den.

On a different note, INFINITY WAR also reveals how Marvel has reprogrammed the way we watch movies (in my eyes, for the worse). I’ve already seen a ton of reviews criticizing it for being “half a film”, due to the “cliffhanger” it closes on, but fuck that. We can only call it a “cliffhanger” because we’ve been exposed to the Marvel machine for so long that we simply assume in the next movie they’ll “hit the reset button” or “put it all back in the bottle” or whichever bullshit phrase you want to use. But what if there wasn’t a “next movie”? If you watch INFINITY WAR, divorced from knowing production schedules and contract lengths and so on and so forth, the ending becomes just that: a grim note where we witness our heroes literally fade in the face of a force they finally cannot defeat. Most of us watched EMPIRE knowing there was a RETURN OF THE JEDI, yet we never refer to that masterpiece as “merely a middle chapter”, discarding its genuinely earned emotional beats. Why can’t we do the same here?