Sunday, 29 April 2018
Review: Avengers: Infinity War (UK Cert 12A)
SPOILER WARNING! This review discusses and/or mentions a few important plot points. If you would prefer not to have these spoiled, please stop reading now and come back once you've seen the film.
An epic cinematic event that's ten years in the making, Avengers: Infinity War pits the Earth's (and the galaxy's) greatest heroes against the Mad Titan Thanos who is in search of the six Infinity Gems which will give him power over all creation.
Whilst #ThanosDemandsYourSilence (and for several very good reasons), there are some points about the film that can't really be discussed without spoilers. So, if you didn't notice the bold, italiced and underlined warning at the start of the article, here's your last chance to turn back.
Still with us? OK.
So directors Anthony and Joe Russo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War) ramp things up to eleven with the action sequences: the battles are epic, befitting a film of this magnitude. Screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (Thor: The Dark World) deserve massive praise for delivering such a tightly-plotted, well-balanced script. Make no mistake, this film is packed. With over 30 main characters spanning the universe (literally and metaphorically), so much plate-spinning going on, it's a testament that no character feels short-changed or shoe-horned in. Every character on screen has a purpose: they're not just there for the 'hey guys, remember this one?' (which could easily have happened). There are a couple of notable omissions, but these are explained well. Each character also has their moment, which is also good. The humour of characters like Rocket, Thor, and Drax is there and is allowed to flow naturally, which is great. These moments of levity are needed as the drama- and there's a lot of it- unfolds. And not just drama- tragedy, too.
In the first ten minutes of the film, two main characters are killed off, brutally, with no mercy. Thanos and the Black Order aren't messing around. There is a real sense of jeopardy in the film: no character is truly safe, and as things progress, the death toll starts to rise. And you care. You care about who lives and who dies. Marvel have taken the time to build these characters up, over multiple films spanning the last decade, so you have that emotional bond. There were more than a few gasps and sniffles as one particular character died. I even had a lump in my throat.
If I were to discuss the performances, frankly, we'd be here until Avengers 4 came out. All performances across the board are great- some of the actors have been playing these roles for 10 years, so they know the characters inside out; others, such as Chadwick Boseman and Tom Holland, have only played them for a short time, but they have struck upon the essence of their characters straight away- but there is one performance that I do want to highlight in particular: Josh Brolin.
Thanos is dangerously close to being the best villain MCU have put out. That's been a major criticism of the Marvel movies: the villains have sometimes just been caricatures or archetypes. The last few films have shown villains with nuance and with an understandable motive (Killmonger in Black Panther, for instance). Thanos continues that trend: his desire for balance- given what he saw on Titan- is understandable, although taken to extremis by the idea of being able to get rid of 50% of the population of the galaxy with a snap of his gauntleted fingers. He's not just mad; there's a recognisable (albeit twisted) logic to his plan. And whilst you don't sympathise or agree with him, you can at least see where he's coming from. This is paired by some absolutely sterling CG work (not just on Thanos but on all of the Black Order) and a dignified, stoic performance by Josh Brolin.
Honestly, I could discuss and dissect the film for hours. This is a truly brilliant film. See it. See it again. See it on a big screen. It's just superb.
Rating: 5 out of 5