A fitting installment in the Marvel Universe
“Avengers: Infinity War” is riddled with loss. Loss of hope. Loss of everything you expected from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Loss so incredible that you are wide-eyed and slack-jawed through a movie that refuses to play it safe with your emotions. In the end, you’re either left in a stew of your own tears, excited for Part 2 or contemplating the meaning of the 10-year wait.
Hard Core Marvel Fans (No Spoilers), you know Thanos has been quietly treasure-hunting his way to the six Infinity Stones (Mind gem, Soul gem, Space gem, Power gem, Time gem and Reality gem). Like any super villain, once he has bedazzled his gauntlet with the gems, he will use his omnipotence to eliminate half of the universe’s inhabitants to reduce waste and the depletion of the universe’s finite resources #humanitarian. Naturally, a sampling of the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, most of Wakanda and Dr. Strange show up to stop him. While the comedic wit of the franchise has been a staple, the heartfelt discourse between characters establishes relationships and connections that transcend the comic-thriller genre. The actors – all of whom have displayed immense range and depth-of-life in other films – are finally permitted to let their souls unravel with impassioned fluency in the MCU.
For Action Fans, Sci-Fi Fans, Comic Fans and Casual Marvel Fans (Spoilers), five stories intersect in a dazzling melee of visually sadistic action. The plot is unsophisticated but the execution is superb. This CGI defies articulation. It is so seamless, so attractive that you can be fully immersed in the experience and not realize much of each scene is artificially generated. With over 28 main characters, the development is splotchy but assumes that you come equipped with operational knowledge of each character and storyline. If you are not well-versed in all things MCU, you may be confused by the intersections and cross-team moments.
As always, the attack begins in New York City. Stark deploys a new nano suit for Iron Man and a nano-space-ready suit for Spidey while Banner wears the Hulkbuster armor to mitigate Hulk’s performance issue. Together they team up with Strange to face-off with Ebony Maw in space. Because super heroes don’t keep up with the latest news, Vision and Scarlet Witch are jumped by Proxima Midnight and Corvus Glaive but both get rescued by Romanoff, Falcon and no-shave-November Cap’n America. They team up with Rhodey and travel to Wakanda where T’Challa, M’baku and the Dora Milaje host the intergalactic battle like an epic “Lord of The Rings” soiree. Meanwhile, somewhere in space, Thor teams up with “sweet rabbit” Rocket and a teen-aged Groot to travel to Nidavellir where an ironically 30-foot-tall Peter Dinklage (Tyrion “GOT” Lannister) forges the enchanted battleaxe, Stormbreaker. The other Guardians back-up Gamora as she confronts her adoptive father, Thanos, and tries to stop him from gaining the Soul stone.
For those who are emotionally invested in the characters of this 19-movies-long franchise, be warned that the end is shocking. It will leave you speechless and wrought with agony. While every actor brings their A-game to this endeavor, Josh Brolin – voice of Thanos – delivers charisma, tenderness and abject cruelty in the purple, crevice-faced destroyer.
Fans who love all things Marvel: 5 out of 5 Infinity Stones.
Action/Sci-Fi Fans/Casual Marvel Fans: 4 out of 5 Gems.