Avengers: Infinity War ★★★

I was going to start this review with something snarky like, 'yep, this is definitely a film'. And as I thought about it, I realised that I wanted to say that about most of Marvel's efforts, so maybe I need to categorise it separately in my brain. Maybe Marvel's 10 year stint at the head of blockbuster film-making has been so successful because it aligns so neatly with the growth of long-form episodic television culture, and the success of that. How ironic would it be, if the success of Marvel's experiments in franchise film-making, stemmed from the popularity of the oh so un-cinematic Netflix experience.

And that's how I've viewed Marvel's films recently, as the next episode in a hyper-budget, hyper-successful long-form episodic series. Just one that's been going on for 10 years, and releases 2 or 3 episodes a year. I mean, each film is a pre-cursor to an over-arching story line, and this is a build-up to the long awaited season finale, this is a Game of Thrones style Episode 9. But maybe, instead of poaching a Dinklage with a horrible English accent, it should have poached the Game of Thrones route of allowing for TRUE casualty. I don't want to drag out the Thrones metaphor, but Infinity War is less like the character-focused, dialogue-driven early seasons, it's closer to the fun, if disappointing seventh season, that focused on moments, more stuff happening does not a great film make, especially if the tragedy is unlikely to maintain.

It's a hard phenomenon to discuss spoiler-free, but the ending here feels like an unearned moment. There were multiple *actual* tragedies in this film, ones that would land sweetly in a more focused film, but the major one here is too false to matter. I just found myself thinking, 'that's it?' This just suffers from the same problems that just about every Marvel effort to date has suffered from. Poor attempts at humour, a lack of finality, a tendency to rush its characterisation, and an over-reliance on moments. Of course there are positives, that like and 3 stars didn't come from nowhere. But largely these positives are ones that come from 'manufactured enjoyment', I won't go in to the whole fleshlight metaphor that I made when talking about GOTG 2, but you get what I mean. People will tell you that this breaks ground, it doesn't, it's another 'previously on' before the season finale starts.

I liked Vision's Before Sunset reference.

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