Directors: Anthony Russo & Joe Russo
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth & Josh Brolin
Rating: 12A Duration: 149 minutes Release date: 26 April (UK)
You’ve got to hand it to Marvel, they really do have us all right where they want us now. After 10 years and 18 films, the 19th entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe truly is a culmination of everything that came before it and in all honesty, if had been utter shit, it would still have taken all the money in the world. Of course, this is Marvel, and Avengers: Infinity War is most certainly not shit. What it is, is a huge pay-off for all the fans who have been hooked ever since Tony Stark told us he was Iron Man.
It was only six years ago when Marvel had brought together the Avengers for the first time, and what we had there was a film so carefully put together it was a wonder it ever got made, let alone worked as well as it did. There are scenes in that film that still give me goosebumps. For what it’s worth I still regard Avengers: Assemble as the high point for these films and the one which all others must look up to. Back in 2012, when the credits had rolled and we saw Thanos for the first time, we all thought the big purple Bruce Willis lookalike would be up next for earth’s mightiest heroes. What we didn’t know was that Marvel were playing the long game and that Thanos was simply biding his time.
In many ways, Infinity War is Thanos’ film. After seeing multiple heroic origin stories and sequels, it’s the villain that gets the biggest arc. Granted, all he is really doing is here is collecting a bunch of stones which will make him the most powerful being in the universe. When he has them, he will restore balance and destroy half of all life across the universe. What Marvel have achieved here is to create a villain worthy of the title. More often than not, Marvel’s big bad has left us wanting, but not here. In fact, Thanos is so resolute in his quest that he becomes almost sympathetic. Granted, he’s a mad man, but with Josh Brolin’s muscular voice and determined eyes, like all great bad guys – you almost want him to win.
The plot, as thin as it is, merely serves to take us from point A to point B. Thanos’ journey aside, the reason we are all here is to see all our favourite heroes interacting with each other. If you thought getting them together for the first Avengers outing was an accomplishment, then there really is no preparing you for this. As with Assemble, the first 15 minutes or so are the films only real stumbling block as directors Anthony & Joe Russo get everyone together. Once that happens though, the film really gets going and doesn’t let up until the credits start rolling. If you’ve longed for Peter Parker and Star Lord to share the screen, swapping pop culture references or see Thor looking glorious as Rocket nestles on his shoulder or watch Iron Man and Dr. Strange trade blows like the egotistical pricks they are, then you have it all here.
Thanos would be particularly happy with this. After all, the big purple CGI ball-sack is trying to achieve balance in the universe, and things have never seemed more balanced in a Marvel film than they do here. The set pieces are all finely tuned, and thankfully this time there is no threat from the sky finale. There are cameos and guest appearances that no one saw coming – genuinely, if you think the trailers have revealed too much, they truly haven’t. The entire film looks beautiful, as we travel from planet to planet every scene looks like a piece of art. There are funny moments, but they never take away from the drama, and anyone who feared Marvel have become too “silly” or fanciful and have wasted important characters then you need not worry.
There is nary a slip during the films 149 minutes. Those that are noticeable on first viewing are easily forgivable though. The only question that could be asked is how Infinity War plays to those who are not as well versed in Marvel lore as everyone else. That may also beg the question of does it work as a stand alone film? Well, honestly none of that matters. Infinity War is the ultimate fan service and whatever Marvel fans have been asking for, then all their desires and wants are put up on the big screen finally. Whatever the future may hold for the MCU, the first 10 years have given us something truly memorable and with Infinity War, we finally have the big crossover event we have all been waiting for.