And so, the time has come! After many years of build-up, Thanos has arrived. Earth’s mightiest heroes face their toughest challenge yet, and Marvel Studio’s bring their most ambitious superhero flick to date. The hype for this film has been monumental, with people giving their own theories as to what may happen. Some of you may remember I even did a Top Five blog about what I was most worried about for this movie.
So… where my fears justified?
Short answer – yes and no. Mostly no.
If I had to sum up this film in one phrase, it would be OH MY ****ING GOD WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!?
Ahem, let’s just get to the review.
The Mad Titan Thanos has begun his collection of the Infinity Stones, which have been referenced many times throughout the MCU, to aid him in his quest of mass genocide. With two stones already in his possession, he makes his way through the Universe to collect the remaining ones (two of them still out amongst the cosmos and two on Earth) The Avengers (still fractured after Civil War), the Guardians of the Galaxy and the nation of Wakanda must join forces to take down this threat. But will their combined efforts be enough to stop him?
WHAT I LIKED
Never in any MCU film has the stakes been higher than in Infinity War. With so many characters and storylines to fit in, I was worried that certain characters would get pushed to the back in favour of others. And whilst that was the case with some of them (more on that later), I was actually really impressed with how they were worked into the story. Most, if not all, the main players from the previous MCU films found their time to shine, without feeling like a “Just there to advance the plot” kinda thing. The film even breaks apart certain characters and mixes them in with others (such as Rocket Racoon and Groot joining Thor, Star-Lord, Drax and Mantis teaming with Iron Man, Doctor Strange and Spider-Man, and so forth). This added some unique dynamics in each team that I felt worked very well – like the humourous exchange between Star-Lord and Thor when they first meet. I felt that the story juggled each characters arc very well and never got too bogged down.
This film is arguably a lot grittier than previous instalments, but it does have the typical Marvel humour to mix it up. Some might think it’s getting tired now, but in a film like this, you need all the humour you can get. Especially since there are some really dramatic moments.
I was also worried that they would try and cram in too much of the stories from past films, but luckily that wasn’t the case at all. Sure, they carried on certain themes (such as the Avengers being split apart, Thor’s ship being attacked in the end of Thor: Ragnarok and also the Guardians still reeling from the attack by Ego), but for the most part it felt self-contained. The focus was purely on the Infinity Stones, and what they could do to stop them falling into the wrong hands. Because the previous films had set up a lot of the backstory, they could just throw people into the action and let them enjoy the ride.
And action is one thing this film has plenty of. Right before the opening credits, we see Thor’s ship attacked (and destroyed) by Thanos and Thor and Hulk getting curb-stomped. From then on, the action barely lets up for a second as heroes are forced to fight, whilst also trying to just stay alive. The fight scenes were some of the most epic I’ve seen – you could feel the desperation of the heroes fighting for all life.
It was also really cool to see the return of Red Skull (played by Ross Marquand this time around), of which we learn his ultimate fate after Captain America: The First Avenger. And it was also cool to see Peter Dinklage play the dwarf (who else?) Eitri, who helps Thor forge his new weapon Stormbreaker (Beta Ray Bill anyone?).
And of course, we have to talk about the shows main villain. Thanos was one thing I mentioned in my last Top Five blog, worrying that he may end up being a big disappointment, considering all the foreshadowing films like Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy had done. So, how did he fare?
Thanos. Was. Bloody AMAZING!!!
I would honestly go so far as to say Thanos is one of the best villains in the MCU so far! Josh Brolin was incredible. Thanos dripped with pure malevolence and frightening physical power, even without his gauntlet. Every scene he was in he made his presence felt in a big way, so much so that he was in danger of overshadowing the heroes. In fact, I was amazed at how much he appeared in this film – to the point where he was almost the main character. He felt like a genuine threat that you kept wondering how the heroes could defeat.
And yet, he was also incredibly nuanced – it would have been so easy to play him as a psychopathic murderer, but Brolin also brought great levity to the role. The scenes with him and Gamora were actually kinda soft in a twisted way, with Thanos reverting to a loving father figure at times, showing the audience that he does have a caring side – to a point. The way he went from a doting and caring father, to full on genocidal maniac (the scene where he tortures Nebula by pulling her apart is distressing to say the least) means that you’re never too sure which side of Thanos you’ll get in a scene.
Thanos gets two thumbs up, he was one of the big successes of this movie!
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Whilst the film did a very good job of finding roles for all the major players, unfortunately some characters were reduced to cameos. Pepper Potts only made a brief appearance, Wong from Doctor Strange got abandoned, and poor Hemidall barely gets one word of dialogue in before getting killed. And fan favourite Korg from Ragnarok doesn’t even get a look in. I guess this was inevitable and to be honest, it didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the film too much.
The Children of Thanos (who I think are called the Black Watch in the comics) didn’t really do anything for me. They didn’t really have any character to them (aside from maybe Ebony Maw, who was pretty cool) and were just there as punching bags for the heroes. I personally think the film could have been just as good without them.
My biggest complaint has to be, ironically, Thanos’s motivations. Now don’t get me wrong, I thought Thanos was a genuinely terrifying villain – but his desire to destroy half the Universe was, for me, a little weak.
In the comics, Thanos has a creepy obsession with Death – that is the deity Death. He has murdered countless lives to offer a tribute to her, but she has rejected him at every turn. So there is a lot of rage to Thanos, as all he wants to do is show Death his love. In the film, however, he wants to murder half the population of the Universe so as to prevent mass extinction – due to the fact that overpopulation was responsible for his own world falling apart. This to me wasn’t nearly as epic as it could have been, and some (like this article) have pointed out a potential plot hole. Because if Thanos is basically a god when he has the stones, why doesn’t he just make more food for the people of the Universe?
However, in response to this, the films in the MCU have made it a point about how much of a nut case he is (he’s call the Mad Titan for a reason!), such as when Nebula told Gamora how she was torn apart by Thanos when she lost a fight. So you can’t really apply logic to this situation. At the end of the day, Thanos is a psychopath and he is set in his goal, so no amount of reason will dissuade him from it. But I do wish they kept in the whole Death-loving thing. The after credits in Avengers seemed to suggest Thanos was interested in courting Death, but never mind.
WHAT SHOCKED ME
Being that this is based on one of the most apocalyptic events in Marvel history, I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised with how it ended. But I thought Disney would want to take on a “Happy ending to it.” How wrong I was!
From the very beginning, we are scared for our heroes, with both Loki and Gamora being killed off. In the case of the former, I was kinda pissed – not just because of Loki dying, but how he was unceremoniously bumped off. And in the case of the latter – that was just hard to watch!
Throughout the film, the characters fight what seems to be a losing battle against Thanos and his hordes. But hope remains as the Avengers and the Guardians come together to defeat Thanos. It looks like they would as well, with Vision sacrificing himself by letting Wanda destroy his Infinity Stone – with a really emotional “I love you” before he dies (no joke, that choked me up). But all this was quickly undone when Thanos used the Time Stone to put time back and grab the last stone. Thor makes one valiant effort to kill Thanos – but fails. And Thanos clicks his fingers.
After that, you can only watch in horror as half of your favourite heroes get wiped out in seconds. It was heart-breaking seeing so many valiant souls die on screen – the ones that hit me the hardest were Groot and Spider-Man. And after it is over, the heroes mourn their failure and Thanos sits in another world, smiling peacefully.
Normally, the end of a superhero film leaves you feeling awestruck and energised. But this film does the opposite. It leaves you empty and soul-drained. Even the end credits don’t have their usual verbose nature like previous films, possibly to let your tears dry up. It’s a film that has left the heroes in an impossible situation – one we wonder how they can come back from.
However, maybe we don’t have to fear. After all, Doctor Strange did look into many millions of possibly futures – and there was one where they won. So maybe this is all part of the plan. And if the after credits is anything to go by, Captain Marvel will have something to say about it.
Whilst a couple of things stop this from being a perfect film (such as a weak motivation and some pointless characters), Josh Brolin’s goliath performance as the Mad Titan brings a lot of levity and depth to it. It’s a film that will shock many viewers – and no doubt break their hearts. Despite this, Avengers: Infinity Wars is a game-changer that shakes up the MCU like no other film before it. Like the comic it is based on, I suspect it will be a talking point for many years to come.
I was excited as much as I was depressed at the outcome, but I am looking forward to seeing how things go from here – and the overall impact it has on the franchise as a whole. All things considered, few films have made me feel so many emotions as this one.
FINAL SCORE: 5/5