Avengers: Infinity War (Review)

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⭐⭐⭐ (Good)

Director: Anthony & 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, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt
Certificate: 12A
Run Time: 149 mins

Avengers: Infinity War is the culmination of the successful nineteen Marvel Cinematic Universe thus far and the anticipation for it has been unprecedented. The titular Avengers now face Josh Brolin’s mad titan, Thanos, who has been teased for a rather long time in previous films, whose aim is to recover all of the Infinity Stones to wield the Infinity Gauntlet. Avengers: Infinity War is directed by brothers Anthony and Joe Russo, who have carved quite the reputation after directing Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War. Although both films have their problems, both were very positively recieved and the directors particularly excel in their attention to narrative continuity and the construction of realistic action sequences.

Avengers: Infinity War begins very strongly with some bold choices in its narrative. The Russo’s manage to juggle all the character arcs well and manage to craft a coherent, unified narrative that doesn’t feel overstuffed. Unfortunately, the film runs into problems as it then starts to involve too many characters which impact the film tonally and then makes a cheap, poor choice in its conclusion which was really frustrating.

There is always the risk in these kind of tentpole films to lose focus when there is a whole roster of characters to follow and whilst each superhero does get their moment to shine, some inevitably do get more screentime than others. That said, the Russo’s clearly have tried their best and the choices they have made are generally sound in terms of characterisations.

The Russo’s have also admirably attempted to adapt the character of Thanos to the big screen, with Josh Brolin putting in a scene-stealing performance. The idea they had that this film was going to be from his perspective is an interesting one and this would have really worked well and made the film more fresh if they had actually gone in this direction and focussed on him more. There are a number of scenes from his perspective where his motivations are made clear and Brolin’s villain is one that can be empathised with. Thanos has to make a number of key decisions, some that bring a lot of emotional pain and this is dealt with really well.

It’s just a shame that what the film amounts to in its climax is cheapened by some poor judgements, particularly by the promise of death from Marvel. Without going into spoilers, the ending clearly paves the way for the second part of this story but I think the misstep costs my personal excitement in the sequel as the ending is so cheaply thought out and undoes all the good work the film, despite being tonally imbalanced at times, generally does.

Ultimately, there is a lot to like in Avengers: Infinity War if you can forgive its ending. The Russo’s have somewhat managed to achieve success in a lofty job and for the most part, the film is thrilling and it’s satisfying to see all of these characters that we have got to know on-screen over the last ten years interact together. It’s going to be difficult for the Russo’s to rescue the ending in the upcoming sequel, which I think is a major mistake, but I will watch it with an open mind. An increased focus on Josh Brolin’s villain will also help to save the sequel. As for Infinity War, it’s a frequently strong film that is marred by an unsatisfactory ending.

⭐⭐⭐ (Good)

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