An admirable attempt, but ultimately flawed.
Thanos, heads for Earth in search of the missing infinity stones, leaving behind a heartless, empty trail of disappointment across the galaxy. Infinity War, for me at least, can best be described as a missed opportunity. A film that could — no — should have been great. An accumulation of 10 years of storytelling and character building...for this.
Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad film by any means and what it does right it does really well. And yes, I know there is a second Infinity War movie coming out next year (whatever it ends up being named), I just can't help but feel that this movie was a massive anti-climax.
Avengers:Infinity War is big in every way. The running time is big, the cast is big, and the action is big. Unfortunately, bigger doesn't always mean better, and that is certainly the case here. Compared to some of Marvel's more recent releases (Thor: Ragnarok, Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther, etc.) Infinity War falls short in several ways. However, it is saved from falling into mediocrity by some excellent on-screen chemistry and superb super-hero match-ups. And this is Infinity War's greatest forte; its cast and the efficiency with which it handles so many big-name heroes on screen. The structure of the film allows for some unusual groupings (Thor and the Guardians being one of the most entertaining), and seeing these characters meeting and reacting to one another is an absolute treat. There are far too many actors involved in this film to be detailing everyone's performance, but I think it's fair to say that everyone was terribly good. Honourable mention goes to Tom Holland (Spiderman) and Josh Brolin, who worked really hard to make Thanos as intimidating, and as big a screen-filling a presence as possible.
In many ways, Infinity War is Thanos's movie, and Josh Brolin is able to make it his own. Due to his performance, Thanos comes across as more than the usual zealot hell-bent on destroying the universe and more of a troubled soul who has been burdened with the knowledge that the universe can't sustain itself. Unfortunately, he never feels as intimidating as he should, due – in no small part – to the way the film is structured.
I, like most people, knew going into this film that some of the characters would die. In fact, I was banking on it. The problem is, the film is set-up in such a way that any of the deaths can be rescinded on a whim, and as a consequence, none of the deaths really had any emotional impact. Clearly, I can't really elaborate on this point much more than I have thus far for fear of entering spoiler territory, but this made the movie feel cold-hearted and seemed like a missed opportunity for something special; a melancholic and poignant superhero movie.
Visually, most of this film is fine. However, there is some unforgivably bad CGI to be found throughout. (Hulk fighting Thanos looked awful.)
This has been a problem with Marvel films for some years now and really shouldn't be happening anymore. The problem Infinity War has is that it relies too much on CGI, which is a drawback when you're not that good at it.
With Thanos and his "children" all being computer generated – something that works for Thanos, but is a bizarre design choice for the others – and the usual over the top leaping through the air and punching each other through walls, the movie promptly started to feel nauseatingly familiar.
Regrettably, I can't go into any more specifics about the things that really bothered me in this film as I'd end up to my knees in spoiler creek without a paddle. But I think (for me at least) the film seemed like too much of the same, and far too many of the little annoyances Marvel films often accommodate, and far too long. The film does sort of take risks; killing a throng of characters that you'd perhaps not expect to see die, but ultimately, it's meaningless.
I know this review has perhaps seemed unreasonably negative, and as such, I'd like to end on the more positive aspects. Infinity War was inevitably going to be an enormous undertaking, and on the whole, the Russo's have done a commendable job at keeping it all together. Particularly impressive is how they've handled so many different actors and their intertwining storylines. The humour is on par with what you might expect from a Marvel movie and works well throughout. The cast of characters are all brilliant, and Thanos is exemplary in every way; impressive for a CG creation.
Maybe if I were more invested in the characters or the Marvel universe in general, I might have enjoyed the film more. There's no doubt in my mind that for its main audience, the film will be seen as a remarkable success. Should you see this film at the cinema? Absolutely! Would I buy it on release? Probably not.