The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.
‘Infinity War’ is the film the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been building towards since the first film in the series (‘Iron Man’) debuted in 2008, and it marks the culmination of 10 years and 18 films working towards this moment. It’s a film that brings together virtually all of the major characters introduced in the MCU to date, including originals like ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Captain America’, and newer introductions such as ‘Black Panther’ and the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ who are likely to play a key part when the MCU moves on to ‘Phase 2’. The Russo Brothers (who helmed the past two ‘Captain America’ films) are the directors here and they prove adept at handling the wealth of characters and egos on show, blending them together seamlessly without leaving anyone overly short changed (well, unless you include the couple of absent characters!). It doesn’t lose the comedic tone associated with these films but the focus is on the dramatic and the balance is struck well (which hasn’t always been the case – I’m looking at you ‘Age of Ultron’).
‘Infinity War’ continues the storyline from several previous MCU films that have focused on the supervillain Thanos and his search to acquire all of the infinity stones, with Thanos moving front and centre after several brief appearances. After his impressive introduction in the opening scene and a bit of globe (or universe) hopping in the early parts (including a little jaunt to Edinburgh!) the film mostly settles into action in two locations, in Wakanda and in Titan with various characters split across locations fighting Thanos or his henchman. Thanos lives up to his billing and is comfortably the best villain the Avengers have faced, and one of the best in the MCU as a whole. Despite looking like a swollen purple Shrek and being covered in CGI, Josh Brolin delivers arguably the film’s best performance and manages to find a bit of vulnerability under the megalomaniacal façade and he’s a major reason for ‘Infinity War’ being as good as it his.
One of my main criticisms of previous MCU films (or superhero films in general) is the ease in which characters escape perilous situations and how that removes a lot of the intensity from proceedings. Coming at the end of ‘Phase 1’ allows ‘Infinity War’ to improve in this regard and I did feel a sense of peril that hasn’t always been apparent in previous films and this heightens the stakes immeasurably. The film still contains a lot of set up for the final chapter of ‘Phase 1’, which will come next year, but it feels earnt and the events in this movie carry weight that will have long term consequences for the series, and after a period of indifference, I’m fully on board for the next chapter.
Directed By: Anthony and Joe Russo
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Peter Dinklage, Benedict Wong, Pom Klementieff, Karen Gillan, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Benicio del Toro, Chris Pratt, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Cobie Smulders, Winston Duke and Josh Brolin