Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo (Contains small spoilers)
Hearing the news that the latest superhero franchise, Avengers: Infinity War, has broken the Box Office opening-weekend record, Avengers: Infinity War has clearly been a much highly anticipated movie for many, and with this comes the question on everyone’s lips; does this film live up to the hype?
So many characters. With the majority of superheroes from different worlds appearing in this movie one would be bound to find joy in seeing their favourite character(s) work and interact alongside other heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and seeing how new relationships are quickly formed and developed. My particular favourite pairings were Iron Man and Spiderman teaming up with Dr. Strange, and Thor teaming up with The Guardians of the Galaxy. These interactions created many humorous moments, a necessity the audience needs for a broadly dire, tense situation. With so many heroes, one would assume that not everyone would play an important role. This was not the case. Although some characters had more screen time than others, the film made every role significant. Everyone had a part to play and every hero had their time to shine. As for the villains, well, maybe with the exception of Loki (Thor) and Eric Killmonger (Black Panther), Marvel has been accused of producing lacklustre ones, but here, Thanos‘ and his meddlesome crew make up for that. It is not necessarily their demeanour that is frightening, but their actions driven by their motives. They are deadly, and when Thanos says he wants to get rid of half the population in the entire universe, he means it.
Fun and action packed. Right from the get-go, a real sense of urgency and danger was presented, and one could feel the impending threat upon the lives of all characters throughout the entirety of the film. The fighting and action scenes were fun and enthralling. From Wanda and Vision’s fight and flight, to Iron Man, Spiderman, Dr Strange and The Guardians of the Galaxy fighting Thanos, to the final Wakanda battle scenes, not one surpassed the other. One noteworthy scene was when Wanda, Black Widow and Okoye (Black Panther’s Bodyguard) teamed up to take on the only female villain. This briefly evoked resonances and continued the actualisation of female empowerment that the “Black Panther” film successfully portrayed.
Emotional. Accompanying the action were emotional character developments, particularly the relationship between Thanos and Gamora. We learn a great deal about both their pasts and the events that drives them. We are encouraged to understand their motives and state of mind, and thus, are more emotionally attached to them, though they are seen as evil and cold. Emotional scenes were few, but when they did occur, they were powerful. They pulled at the very heartstrings of what makes most of these characters so likeable, and it is these scenes that prevent this movie from being just a typical action flick.
Jump to the future. There were a few pieces missing, or at least part of the story we didn’t get to see. The biggest example occurs at the beginning. We somewhat start from where Thor: Ragnorok left off. Thanos is aboard Thor’s ship trying to get to the Space gemstone Loki holds. We see dead bodies everywhere, so it is assumed that a battle of some sort has occurred. But we didn’t get to see this, and so we did not get to see the characters we liked in Thor: Ragnorok, such as the humorous Korg, and the brave, yet drunkard, Valkerie. Another example is the fact that we see Thanos with the purple Power gemstone. The last time we saw this gemstone was in the safe hands of the Xandar government in The Guardians of the Galaxy, but we are only briefly told that “two weeks ago” Thanos stole the gemstone and, while he was at it, demolished the planet. One tiny part of the storyline which was overlooked was the love interest between Wanda and Vision. Although emotionally rooting for the pair, not to actually see their relationship develop from the start made any feelings for them seem forced. As someone who has developed a great interest in the MCU and its characters over the past decade, I want to see every important thing that happens to them, and I mean EVERYTHING. So not seeing Wanda and Vision throughout the course of their relationship meant that their fate at the end of the film had less of an emotional impact than it should have done. Perhaps there will be more footage in an extended Blue Ray Disc, but one likely reason for the edits is because....
The Film is two and a half hours long. Understandably, because of the huge impact that forgoes in the storyline, and the involvement of so many superheroes, this film had to be enduring and expansive. For some, sitting through a two and a half hour film may be uncomfortable, and while I admit that the film dragged just a teeny tiny bit, I had so much fun with this film that the majority of the two and a half hours flew by.
No Hulk. Technically they still had the Hulk, but it was in the form of Bruce Banner. Huge fans of Mark Ruffalo would be pleased to see more of him on screen, but for those who wanted to see the green skinned monster, disappointment. Furthermore, no Hawkeye or Antman. Their absence was briefly explained, but one would expect that during this universal annihilation they would turn up at some point.
The ending is not the end. We all know that this is a two-parter, so we all have to wait another year for the conclusion. The consolation is that we have other superhero films to enjoy until then: Deadpool 2, Antman and The Wasp, and Captain Marvel (and to an extent The Incredibles 2).
So did this film live up to the hype? For me, it did. Just about. With new and old characters intertwined, an immense storyline, big action sequences, all mixed with a drop of emotional nuance, this film will bring so much joy to young kids and make most adults feel like a kid again. Definitely go see it, but be warned; its a long rollercoaster ride.