The end is near. 10 years ago, despite all risks involved and all the signs telling them it wouldn’t work (as it hadn’t before), Marvel Studios began their quest to create their own cinematic universe with Iron Man. Starring Robert Downey Jr, a big risk all by himself, the film went catatonic with stellar reviews and a mega box-office.
A decade later, and the MCU is rampant through the multiplexes bringing us all of the wonders from page to screen with aplomb. Now the stakes could scarcely be higher with Avengers: Infinity War, the third super-hero team-up that brings together all 3,467 of their mightiest warriors to take on the ultimate big bad Thanos, a mad titan from, ahem, Titan.
His one goal, his destiny: wiping out half of humanity to bring true balance. We’ve been here before many times with such threats but the purple monolith means it – and he is going to deliver. Just how he intends doing that is the through story of Infinity War, a tale told mainly from the baddy’s point of view as Earth’s mightiest, scattered across the galaxies after the events of Civil War, Thor: Ragnarok, Guardians Vol. 2 and Black Panther, have to regroup as best they can to stop the impending doom.
Indeed, directors The Russo Brothers and writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have a similar challenge in molding Infinity War for the big screen. Such is the magnitude of both the story and the roster of players here that the directors probably needed a gauntlet all to themselves to bring balance to the film but, against almost insurmountable odds, the brothers have pulled off the remarkable, crafting a story that is as action-packed as all those before it while being perhaps the most emotionally resonant of any that have come before.
Now we know that, with Thanos’ threat’s, things look a little dicey for our Avengers but such is the unpredictable nature of the film that the Russo’s manage to catch us off guard time and time again and not just in the emotional stakes but in the action ones too with some of the grandest and mesmeric sequences we have had yet – one of which is, quite simply, out of this world.
And yet, they and those countless creatives both in front and behind the camera were never going to truly combat the fact that there is just so much going on at all times here. It’s great, don’t get us wrong, but it does feel like at times a little scattered (for good reason) and very much like the “first half” of something even bigger so some bits don’t quite work as well as others but in this instance that’s ok. The fact that Russo’s et al have done what they have here is a miracle, and one that a couple of billion dollars worth of people are going to go ape for – maybe more than once.
To say any more on the plot and story would be a massive disservice (and let’s face it, a real dick move) to all those that have invested their time and money in this herculean cinematic universe but in terms of performances, it’s Cumberbatch and Hemsworth, in perhaps his finest hour as Thor, who are top of the class.
But it’s Brolin’s movie and boy does he own it: buried under the motion-capture suits and white balls, he still comes screaming through as Thanos wrecks his havoc, all the while maintaining some heartfelt moments that shows his softer side but also his extreme determination to be united with his destiny. Indeed special mentions to Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany as Wanda and Vision’s story evolves while Zoe Saldana, too, delivers magnificently. In fact, many of the other countless players deliver in spades.
It was never going to be perfect, nor indeed reach the magnificent heights of The Winter Soldier or that first Iron Man venture, but then it was never supposed to. No, this is just the warm-up for both the next part of the story and, indeed, the next phases of this wonderful cinematic universe. As it is, Avengers: Infinity War is almost everything we hoped for – and this is just half-time. The second half, and indeed added time, are where it really begins.
Scott J.Davis | [rating=4]
Action, Adventure | USA, 2018 | 12A | 26th April 2018 (UK)| Marvel Studios | Anthony Russo, Joe Russo | Josh Brolin, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Karen Gillan, Scarlett Johansson