Avengers: Infinity War is an important film for a number of reasons. For Marvel it has been 10 years in the making, with more than 18 movies in its wake. It's also the beginning of the end of third phase in the Marvel Studios cinematic universe. For fans it has been billed as the single biggest movie event in history, and perhaps more importantly Infinity War aims to bring a grand conclusion to characters that have been on the screen for the past decade.
As such, there is plenty at stake, with the previous films starring Earth's Mightiest Heroes proving both wildly entertaining and a little lacklustre. The task put before the Russo Brothers (Captain America: Civil War) has been exacerbated by the fact 25-plus superheroes need to share the screen this time round, not to mention the fully fledged introduction of the Mad Titan Thanos (voiced by Josh Brolin, Oldboy).
So does it all manage to come together at the end?
There are several moving parts to Infinity War. It kicks off straight after the events of Thor: Ragnarok, with the Asgardians being attacked by Thanos and his Black Order acolytes. Without giving too much away, the first few minutes of the film set up how things will unfold during the rest of the story. As such, the Avengers quickly realise just how outgunned they are in tacking on Thanos, and some fan favourites will unfortunately meet an untimely demise.
It's a necessity though. One, to illustrate just how much of a threat Thanos poses; and two, to open up a bit more space for different storylines to play out. The result is a fairly well executed juggling act by the directors, with the splintered parts of The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy teams each trying to tackle the threat of Thanos in their own way.
One of the elements that is great to see play out on screen is the mixing of different heroes. Watching Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) exchange witty jabs is great, as is the jealous quips made by Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) when Thor (Chris Hemsworth) makes all the Guardians of the Galaxy weak in the knees.
What about the big bad? Well they don't get much bigger or badder than Thanos, with the Mad Titan showcasing from the outset just how powerful he is, even without the Infinity Gauntlet. There is one scene in particular where Thanos chooses to shed his golden armour as he begins to collect the six Infinity Stones, proving just how formidable he is.
One intriguing element of the Thanos story is the exploration of his motivation to get all of the Infinity Stones. In his mind, the galaxy is out of order, with too many mouths to feed and too little food to sustain them. Snapping his fingers while wearing the Infinity Gauntlet would wipe out half of all existence, and 'return' balance.
In a strange way, you're almost made to empathise with the Mad Titan, right up until the point you realise that he's willing to sacrifice everything to reach his goal.
His use of the Infinity Gauntlet is also something to behold. Using the Power Stone to destroy entire spaceships by simply clenching his fist, or pulling moons out of orbit with it. He's also quite inventive with the Reality Stone, warping the world around and creating illusions. As such, despite being immensely destructive, the Infinity Gauntlet when wielded by Thanos makes for superb action sequences.
Changing the narrative
As mentioned earlier, Infinity War is going to change the way people think about the MCU. There are going to be notable deaths. There are characters who will no longer be a part of the next Marvel Studios phase. And there are going to be major shake ups, and perhaps even a tear or two shed by the end of the film.
It's quite refreshing to see, as it's not just the bit part players that reach their end in this flick, but some of the major stars too. If Infinity War is going to have the watershed effect that Marvel and the Russo Brothers want it to have, it needs to violently change the narrative. As such, it’s advised not getting too attached to any particular superhero or superheroine.
If you're looking for a happy ending with neat little bow tied on top, Infinity War is not the comic book movie for you, and that's actually a good thing. Hopefully Marvel aim to stick to this shifting narrative for what follows.
Infinity War has a big load on its shoulders. Juggling multiple story arcs while giving each superhero their time to shine, as well as aiming to change the future of its cinematic universe, was never going to be easy. Luckily it successfully does all of this.
Thanos lives up to the dire threat that he's been built up to be, as well as making for one of the conflicting Marvel villains. Each character gets good screen time, with the jumping between different locations lending itself to the story instead of stifling it. Lastly the end is a vast departure from what previous Marvel movies have done, and will be difficult to accept for some.
SCORE: 9.0 out of 10.