Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

  • Time: 149 min
  • Genre: Action | Adventure | Fantasy
  • Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
  • Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans, Josh Brolin, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Don Cheadle, Benedict Cumberbatch, Zoe Saldana

Storyline:

As the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, a new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos. A despot of intergalactic infamy, his goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones, artifacts of unimaginable power, and use them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality. Everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment – the fate of Earth and existence itself has never been more uncertain.

4 comments

  • “14,000,605:1 …. or perhaps just 50:50!”
    Rating: 8*.

    Upfront I have to admit that I’m not the world’s greatest MCU fan, but even I felt a twinge of anticipation on going into this 19th instalment: a film that has had fan-boys frothing at the loins for years. And the film doesn’t disappoint, drawing together most (but not all) threads of the disparate MCU universe into a sprawling epic adventure.

    Thanos (which inappropriately always seems to autocorrect to “Thanks”!) is played by a CGI’d Josh Brolin, first glimpsed after the original “Avengers” movie where his quest for the “infinity stones” was first mooted. This particular McGuffin has been revealed in parts throughout the series, with others being surreptitiously slipped into this instalment. With all six stones, Thanos will be able to fully exercise his God fixation over the Universe. Will the Avengers and their new Guardian friends (“Who are you guys?” LOL) be able to stop him?

    There are shocks and surprises aplenty. Most of these come courtesy of Thanos who, although like all megalomaniac Bond villains is as mad as a box of frogs, has a back-story and a depth of character that is several cuts above most movie villains.

    All of the cast seem to have great fun bouncing off each other. The only performance I found out of kilter was Mark Ruffalo as David Banner who (to me) seemed to be really off his game and false, at least for the early scenes in the movie.

    The special effects are – naturally – top-notch and are clever in trying to smooth the joins between the ‘traditional’ view of the Avengers world and the garish world of the Guardians of the Galaxy crew.

    Cinema staff must hate a Marvel movie as they have to wait til the very end of the credits before they can move in to clean up! And there is a post-credits scene (and a good one) at the very end of the credits here, but the credits are very, very long!

    So, in summary, it’s complete Marvel nonsense as normal, but it’s high-class nonsense, well-written, suitably humorous and providing excellent popcorn entertainment. Directors Anthony and Joe Russo are to be congratulated in pulling off what could have been a disaster. Recommended.

    (For a full review, with a separate spoiler section for further discussion, please visit http://bob-the-movie.com or One Mann’s Movies on Facebook).

    • By the way… I realize I’m showing my age by referring to the Hulk in his TV persona as DAVID (not Bruce) Banner…… my mistake.

  • To call Avengers: Infinity War epic would be a severe understatement. Ten years and 18 films in the making, Infinity War is arguably not only the greatest superhero story ever told but one of the best examples of why the Marvel Cinematic Universe remains the gold standard. That the film manages to both too much and yet not enough is a tribute to its creative team – producer Kevin Feige, directors Anthony and Joe Russo, screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and the host of technicians who are integral to both refining and elevating the brand.

    The blessing and curse of any superhero film is the intrinsic predictability of its narrative arc. The good guys fight the bad and, whilst there may be a setback or two, good inevitably triumphs. That notion is done away with within the first ten minutes of Infinity War – two longtime characters are irrevocably killed – and the filmmakers continue the assault on audience expectations throughout the film. The message is loud and clear: not everyone, even the most beloved and tenured figures, will come out of this alive. Never have the emotional stakes been so stratospheric.

    “It’s not overselling it to say that the fate of the universe is at stake,” states Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). Indeed, alien warlord Thanos (Josh Brolin) is getting ever closer to obtaining all six of the Infinity Stones which, when fully collected, will allow him the power to slaughter half the beings in existence. What renders Thanos so fearsome as the film progresses is not only his brute strength which, reinforced by the stones he already possesses, allows him to treat the Hulk like a rag doll, but a philosophical clarity that imbues Thanos with an unexpected humanity. He understands that he must pay too high a price for his ambitions and, difficult though it may be, he is willing to achieve his destiny whatever the personal cost.

    Lest one forget, two of the remaining Infinity Stones to be collected are on Earth, one in the possession of Doctor Strange, the other firmly embedded in Vision (Paul Bettany). Thus, the Avengers plus the Guardians of the Galaxy must assemble in order to not only thwart Thanos but save one of their own. Their efforts result in reconciliations, begrudging collaborations, and one spectacular battle after another, culminating in a ridiculously thrilling, gasp-inducing, Wakanda-set showdown that somehow manages to top itself at least thrice over before its end.

    Despite all of its moving parts, Infinity War never feels bloated and overstuffed. In fact, most of the film functions in shorthand – one doesn’t necessarily have to have seen the previous 18 films to understand what’s going on – and the Russos maintain a propulsive pace that nevertheless allows for the MCU’s trademark levity and banter. That Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Doctor Strange don’t exactly embark on a bromance is amusingly expected; less so is the rapport between Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and his new friends Rabbit aka Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Tree aka Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), the latter’s “I am Groot” language Thor understands because apparently it was an elective in his home planet of Asgard. Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is not exactly welcoming of this far more handsome and muscled man, especially since both Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Drax (Dave Bautista, perhaps the MCU’s most consistent scenestealer) are so admiring of the Asgardian. “It’s like a pirate made a baby with an angel,” Drax proclaims. Bruce Banner’s (Mark Ruffalo) unsuccessful attempts to call forth the Hulk are also a terrific source of humour.

    Yet its serious moments are equally affecting – the complex family dynamics between Thanos and adopted daughter Gamora, the renewed realisation that Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is still but a boy, that ferocity in Captain America’s (Chris Evans) eyes as he fights Thanos, and the sense of defeat that begins to pervade each and every one of our heroes. Then there’s that jaw-dropper of a cliffhanger that is both shocking and bracing in its boldness. Those final five or ten minutes have to be one of the most terrifying, surreal, heartbreaking, did-that-just-happen sequences in recent memory, and which is sure to leave audiences in a state of darkness and uncertainty until next year’s conclusion.

    Click here for more reviews at the etc-etera site

  • (RATING: ☆☆☆☆ out of 5 stars)

    GRADE: B

    THIS FILM IS RECOMMENDED.

    IN BRIEF: A superhero movie with a puny and weak plot and non-stop action.

    JIM’S REVIEW: Superheroes. They come in all shapes and sizes, with varying super powers and enough attitude and skill to fight against evil and protect mankind. More importantly, they rake in millions at the box office. The DC Comics and Marvel universe have taken over the movie business and offer critic-proof blockbuster after blockbuster for the insatiable moviegoing public.

    But perhaps my favorite crusader comes from neither source. He’s a little big man by the name of Buzz Lightyear whose famous catch phrase and mantra was…”To infinity and beyond”. That classic line may be over two decades old, but this toy oracle saw the future of cinema back in the mid-nineties. Which leads us to the 18th film from the Marvel Studios series, Avengers: Infinity War, the latest pop entertainment from one of the most successful and profitable franchise in cinema history.  

    In this installment, we discover that there has been a rift among superheroes. There is Team Ironman and his loyal crew of major and minor characters (Thor, Spiderman, The Hulk, Doctor Strange) versus Team Captain America and his colorful line-up of rogue groupies (Black Widow, Vision, Scarlet Witch, War Machine, White Wolf, Winter Soldier, Black Panther, Falcon), plus the Guardians of the Galaxy crew. Lots and lots of superheroes with little time to spare for deeper character development but lots of time for CGI and action stunts. Yet what will unite them all?

    Why, of course, a truly bad villain, namely Thanos, who wants all six of the magical infinity stones in his possession in order to dominate the world! (Maybe, collecting trading cards of all of the assembled superheroes might have been a more challenging goal for our conflicted outlaw.) Yes, the plot is puny and weak, but the consequences to stop this megalomaniac are of the life and death variety.  So all you need to know is that the battle lines have been drawn over the prized McGuffin, with one battle scene leading to the next for maximum enjoyment. ACTION is in not in short supply, even if logic and high drama take a backseat to the frequent combat sequences. 

    Anthony and Joe Russo ably direct and keep the pace at warp speed lest they disappoint their youthful target audience. A screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely juggles the misadventures on the different planetary destinations with varied results, some are simply more interesting than others. To its credit, it establishes many likable quirky characters and their camaraderie is infectious due to the actors’ personal stamps on their recognizable roles. Yet the movie has a hard time spreading its narrative with a balance of equal screen time and does little to advance the development of some central characters and their interrelationships. Too often the numerous sub-plots and mini-expeditions with such a large ensemble wears thin. Dialog has some clever humorous retorts but rarely aspires to any real poignancy or gravitas.

    The gangs all here, with an all-star ensemble that includes Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Bossman, and in lesser roles: Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Benicio del Toro, and others too numerous to name. Josh Brolin effectively plays the evil Thanos and creates a strong adversary who allows power to corrupt his soul.

    The CGI is impressive throughout. Less effective is the editing and handling of transitions. At times, the well staged combat scenes intercut some of the action. Too much planet hopping interrupts the overall flow and gives the film an episodic vibe…the sum of the parts never making a very cohesive whole. Yes, there is much to hold one spellbound with its big budget cast of thousands approach and the film’s fine production values, but all the rigmarole and commotion almost exhausts the moviegoer rather than enthralls.

    One eagerly awaits for the fractured teams of heroes to meld into an unstoppable force, but it never truly materializes and the cliffhanger ending is far from satisfying. This long and epic film literally comes to a stop with no clear denouncement, taking Mr. Lightyear’s phrase and deciding not to settle anything soon, just looking beyond…to the next installment, with no end in sight.

    In Avengers: Infinity War, the war rages on and on…and the Marvel franchise lives long and prospers…to infinity.

    Visit my blog at: http://www.dearmoviegoer.com 

    ANY COMMENTS: Please contact me at: jadepietro@rcn.com

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