Marvel Studios has always been taunted as a studio that hesitates from taking tough decision. The origin stories follow a set pattern of hero fighting against an evil version of themselves (Iron Man, Ant-Man, Doctor Strange). Deaths happen rarely and even when they do, they are not permanent (Loki, Bucky, and even Phil Coulson). The heroes never are in real danger and every time the movie ends on a happy note. Well, it seems with Avengers: Infinity War, the director bros Russos did exactly opposite of everything they had been doing in past. But before we dwell any further, let me iterate a certain obligatory warning below.
*SPOILER WARNING: The Avengers: Infinity War review contains spoiler, so if you haven’t watched it (seriously, WHY?), now is the time to turn back!!*
Let me start with giving a standing ovation to every cast and crew involved with this film for pulling off the toughest task of their lives successfully. Avengers: Infinity War is the culmination of a decade long storytelling that started with Iron Man on 1st May 2008. The hype for the film grew exponentially ever since the mad titan showed his face in the post-credits scene of The Avengers. The directors Anthony and Joe Russo had a daunting task of making a film that in every sense is the finale of MCU as we know it today. They had to juggle over 75 characters, develop a convincing villain in Thanos and deliver an action spectacle “hitherto undreamt of”. And boy, did they deliver.
With such a humongous cast and a new villain searching for six McGuffins, on paper, Avengers: Infinity War should have never worked. It’s a recipe for disaster – go watch Justice League if you don’t believe me. But thankfully for the fans and the Russos, barring just two characters (Etri and Thanos), every other character was established in the 18 movies preceding Infinity War. Their behaviour, their actions, their thought process, everything was known to the viewers. And this allowed Russos to concentrate on the one character to whom Avengers: Infinity War truly belongs to – the Thanos.
Because the Avengers and Guardians were already established before, much of the Avengers: Infinity War is told from Thanos’ perspective. Russos take a bold step that no director had ever done in 18 films before – they gave Thanos a backstory. Through this backstory, the viewers get a peek in the mentality of the mad titan. Thanos truly believes that he is the hero of this story. He wants to wipe out half of the universe’s population so that they do not suffer the fate of his people. He feels pain on loss of his children, yet he marches forward relentlessly towards achieving his goal. The team of Josh Brolin, Russos, Screenplay writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely do a terrific job of sculpting this fearsome god-like character. This film could have easily become another Age of Ultron had Thanos did not come through.
We seriously need to talk about the bold decisions that the film took. Russos weren’t kidding when they said you will get to know how dangerous and powerful Thanos at the start of the film. Indeed, in the first five minutes, not only did Thanos make a mockery of the incredible Hulk, he stabbed Heimdall and broke Loki’s neck. No resurrections this time, he said. That was pretty much the studio saying Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is gone for good. RIP the god of mischief. Right then and there you knew that the studio (and Kevin Feige) is not kidding around. Everyone is fair-game in this war. Somewhere in middle they kill Gamora off in gut-wrenching manner. And so, when Thanos impales Tony with his own weapon and pities him saying “I hope they remember you”, you know this is the end of Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man. Though he is saved by the other Sherlock, that ill-feeling that even Tony Stark is not safe, is something I had never expected from a Marvel movie.
But all of those shocking twists turn pale in comparison to what happened in the end. Thanos had revived Vision to only kill him again by tearing the mind stone. His gauntlet was complete and there was nothing to stop him from wiping off half the universe population. There is a feeling of hopelessness in the air. So, when Thor’s new weapon Stormbreaker plunges deep in Thanos’s chest, the entire hall erupted with joy. After two hours and twenty minutes of despair and sadness, finally there is happiness. But it was just Marvel (Russos + Feige) making fun of the audience.
Never in my wildest dreams, I had imagined that they would actually do the SNAP. The injured Thanos uttered the dreaded words “You should’ve gone for the head”. And before Thor (or even the audience) could react, Thanos snapped his fingers. We were warned twice about the snap in the film before and so, we knew something disastrous had happened. I really loved the way they used music to represent this chaos. There was no wave of energy or a beam of light shot upwards. Instead, the background music stopped abruptly and all you could hear was the howling of winds and leaves falling slowly. And after this brief silence, characters that we loved and adored started disintegrating and vanishing in the air. Since everyone was fair game, nobody knew who was gonna be erased next. And that is what made the finale moments of film psychologically terrifying.
If it wasn’t clear until now, Avengers: Infinity War got almost everything right. There were a total of three action sequences, and all of them were magnificent. The pairings between the characters were bang on – Thor with Racoon and Groot, Egoist Tony with Doctor Strange, Spider-Man and Guardians, Black Widow with Okoye for a mini-battle. And even though, the film was dark as a whole, there were still Marvel’s signature one-liners sprinkled all throughout. And, this time, unlike Thor: Ragnarok or Guardians of The Galaxy vol. 2, these jokes were not slammed on your face and did not cut the emotional scenes like Korg’s remark during Asgard’s destruction. All the heroes in the film were the ultimate version of them and were brilliantly played by their respective actors.
The one complain that I have with the film is the way they portrayed Black Order. Except for Ebony Maw, the Black Order felt bland and didn’t leave lasting impression. I expected Ebony Maw to stick around longer, but when the scope is this gigantic, it is understandable to brush aside the side characters in service of the others.
I would be lying if I said my opinions expressed here are unbiased. It’s not. Avengers: Infinity War is the perfect gift Marvel Studios could have given to their loyal fans who stick around from last ten years. The hype for Avengers: Infinity War was surreal and there was every chance of the film falling shor. But thanks to some false advertising and brilliant direction, acting, writing, Avengers: Infinity War exceeded everybody’s expectation and served a satisfying beginning of a grand finale.
- Best MCU villain ever - Thanos
- Grand & Creative Action Sequences
- Appropriate use of music and sound effects
- Sidelining of some fan-favorite Avengers
- Unimpressive Black Order