REVIEW: Avengers: Infinity War
I wanted to hold off the weekend before offering my thoughts on Avengers: Infinity War. Part of this was to give people enough time to have seen it, but the other part is that I needed to see it a couple of times before I could really put my hands on the keyboard.
Before I start, if you didn't get it from the title of the entry, THERE WILL BE SPOILERS IN THIS BLOG ENTRY. I implore you that if you haven't seen it yet, please stop here before watching it. I really think it important for people to not know what is going to happen to fully feel the impact of the film.
So, that said...One more warning
I remember going in like an excited child and coming out like a wounded animal. LOL!
I know it sounds crazy, but if you're reading this and have seen the movie, you know what I'm talking about. Usually, at the end of a Marvel film, you could really feel the audience just cheering whether that is out loud or inside. But, with Avengers: Infinity War, the audience was silent. People were dazed. At one point, we were laughing with the characters seeing incredible action sequences in team ups we've dreamed of for the last 10 years (or, for some of us, even more), the next moment, we are having our hearts ripped out by watching some of our favorite characters dissipate as Thanos watches a sunrise.
This is not a bad thing, though. This is a movie, despite its humor, that has a great deal of gravity to it. If we didn't feel this way, the filmmakers wouldn't have done their job.
The first time I watched it, I went in with all my expectations and with whatever I read online. I went in thinking that there would be deaths and that the film would have a beginning, middle and end. After I watched the film, I thought that maybe they tried to trick us about the beginning, middle and end because, clearly, this is not the end for many of the characters. Its a pretty safe bet that, at minimum, Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) will be coming back because they already have sequels in the works. But, I'm sure most of them will come back. At least the ones that dissipated. I think its a pretty done deal for Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Heimdall (Idris Elba) and most likely Gamora (Zoe Saldana). Interestingly enough, I think the expectation was that one or more of the original Avengers would die, but, instead, providing that Hawkeye didn't dissipate off screen at the end, the original Avengers survived.
Now that I've seen the movie four times (yes, four times!), I actually see that there is a beginning, middle and end if you look at Thanos (Josh Brolin) as really being the main character of the film. Thanos is definitely one of Marvel's most interesting villains. He's more that an evil despot seeking all the power of the universe to snuff out life. He truly believes that what he's doing is right and that he's the only person in the universe to have the guts to do it. He believes the universe has finite resources being gobbled up by living beings. So, his solution is to get rid of half the population so the rest can thrive. Its a fascinating viewpoint despite its genocidal nature.
So, the film begins with his collection of the Infinity Stones and ends with his believing what he set out to do. For Thanos, it seems like a happy ending, despite how much it sucks for the rest of our heroes.
Josh Brolin was incredible as Thanos. This is one of those times where you can really appreciate motion capture acting. While the character looks distinctly Thanos, the expressions are Brolin's. One of the best scenes in the movie, to me, is when Thanos must sacrifice something he loves for the Soul Stone. Gamora laughs because she believes he doesn't love anything, but he loves her as much as a father loves a daughter. And you can see all the pain he feels in what he thinks is a necessary sacrifice for the greater cause. Its a beautiful scene performed by both Brolin and Saldana.
I gotta say that everybody brought their "A" game for this film and, if you've paid attention to any of the 18 films before, there is so much pay off. For example, when I watched Captain America: The First Avenger again, now having the context of all 18 films before Avengers: Infinity War, I noted that, when Red Skull touched the Tesseract (Space Stone), the cosmos opened up and it looks like he is disintegrated. But, I wondered if he actually wasn't killed, but shot into outer space and was trapped somewhere out there. So, it was such a treat when Thanos and Gamora end up on Vormir to find the Soul Stone only to be confronted by the Red Skull (now played by Ross Marquand)!
We also see the events of Captain America: Civil War and Black Panther tie together as Wakanda is now known to the world. We see Captain America's (Chris Evans) return to ask another favor of T'Challa and his being reunited with Bucky (Sebastian Stan) who he left there at the end of Civil War to be deprogrammed through the brilliance of Shuri (Letitia Wright). And, we see M'Baku's (Winston Duke) alliance with T'Challa.
We see Loki finally being that "so much more" Thor (Chris Hemsworth) thought him capable to be as he told him in Thor: Ragnarok. In his last moments, while he had the chance to finally be rid of Thor and continue his quest to rule, he sacrifices himself so that Thor can live and defeat Thanos.
We see Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Wong (Benedict Wong) guarding the Eye of Agamotto and the Sanctum Sanctorum from Doctor Strange. Spider-Man gets his amazing Iron Spider suit first introduced at the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming. We see the results of Nebula's (Karen Gillan) mission of vengeance to kill her father Thanos which had been building since the first Guardians of the Galaxy film. We see the relationship between Thanos and Gamora fleshed out.
Another thing that I thought was amazing is that they actually went there with the relationship between Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) which had been building since Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War. In the comics, they did have a relationship and were even married. To me, it was one of the weirdest relationships in comic history. I saw them hinting to it, but always thought it would be something left unspoken. They make it work in this film,though, because Wanda's powers are derived from the Mind Stone that sat on the Vision's forehead. So, the two are drawn together. And, can I say, this was Elizabeth Olsen's best performance as Wanda.
I know that Chris Hemsworth was a little worried about how the Russo Brothers would handle Thor after he felt he finally hit his stride with the more comedic style of Taika Waititi in Thor: Ragnarok, but I hope he is proud of the result. To me, this was the best representation of Thor I've seen so far on the screen. He is valiant with lots of bravado. Yet you can feel his pain of losing his brother and his best friend. The balance between comedy and drama was just perfect and I honestly felt he was an MVP. When he, Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel) arrive in Wakanda with Alan Silvestri's triumphant Avengers theme playing in the background, I got goosebumps!
I remember there being a video that argued Marvel movies have no recognizable themes in it, but, Silvestri's Avengers theme is iconic whether you want to believe it or not. When you hear it, you know the Avengers are on the scene and you feel good. The same thing happened when we saw the return of Captain America, Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson) and Falcon (Anthony Mackie). My nephew told me it was his favorite scene because of the combination of their appearance and the music.
Another thing that I often hear some people complain about is the "Marvel humor." I honestly don't understand why people object to it. Can you imagine this film without the more lighthearted moments? We would have been left even more of a mess. Plus, humor is the way we relate to each other. For people like my sister and my mom, they like the humor because it humanizes these heroes.
My favorite humorous moment is when Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) and Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) are arguing over the plan and Tony looks over to Drax (Dave Bautista) who is yawning. Peter asks what Drax and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) do and Mantis replies, "Kick names! Take ass!" Tony and Peter look in amazement, speechless as to what to say.
But, what's wonderful about this moment is that they were able to take characters that are tonally different, from the off the wall humorous Guardians of the Galaxy to the more serious Doctor Strange, and make them all work together in one film.
There so many things I can say about this film, but it would make this blog entry as long as the movie. LOL. So, I'll leave it with this. In the end, I think Avengers: Infinity War is a film worthy of the 18 films before it and the 10 years in the making. It entertained us, it made us feel, and it made us think. What more could you ask for?