Frances Winston feels that Avengers – Infinity War has more action and less heart than previous Marvel offerings, but leaves you wanting more
Directed by: The Russo Brothers – Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt
Ten years and 19 movies in the making, this epic offering sees almost every single star of the MCU (that’s Marvel Cinematic Universe to the uninitiated) come together on the big screen. Although people are dying to know what it’s about, we’ve been asked to write spoiler-free reviews, which is going to prove difficult though, as there is barely a scene in this movie that doesn’t contain something that would qualify as a spoiler.
What I can tell you is that they are brought together in their quest to defeat an evil entity called Thanos, who is collecting Infinity Stones, which will give him the ability to bend reality and end the universe. Thus The Avengers are forced back together, working alongside The Guardians of the Galaxy to try and stop him.
With so many superheroes on the same bill, the focus here is very much on the action (and if you’ve never seen a Marvel movie before, you will be completely confused). From the opening scene which sees Thanos taking on Thor, it rarely stops for breath with action-scene after action-scene after action-scene. I’ve often written that movies like this are roller-coasters, but Avengers – Infinity War is more like visiting Six Flags Magic Mountain (a roller-coaster theme park, where you can ride roller-coasters all day).
This, however, is often at the cost of the emotional arc that usually accompanies Marvel movies, and is part of their formula for success. With so many characters kicking so much ass, it is hard to become invested in any one story, and because of this Avengers – Infinity War loses some of the heart that is usually at the forefront of Marvel films. Yes, it’s big and noisy and bloated and expensive, and you will get swept up in the spectacle, so much that you won’t notice the missing character arcs until afterwards, but you will have a niggling sense that this is different.
Also with so many superheroes vying for screen-time, it was always going to be impossible to give them all the attention they deserved, and there are a few who really do barely get a look-in. I actually found myself trying to figure out if it was a case of the bigger the pay-cheque the greater the screen-time (although there are one or two exceptions to this.)
And with so many characters to keep track of, there is the necessity for a lot of exposition, to bring those who are unfamiliar with all the past movies referenced up to speed. This leads to a lot of scenes where people are introducing themselves, and basically explaining their whole back-story. Which is great if you’re a newbie (although you’ll still be confused) but detracts from the enjoyment if you are a seasoned Marvel fan.
That aside, all the actors give fantastic performances (as they should at this stage given how often most of them have played these characters) and everyone really does seem to be having great fun. Our own Tom Vaughan Lawlor is even in there, but I won’t spoil it by telling you who he plays. See if you can spot him. There are some very witty moments in the script – Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, and Chris Pratt in particular fare well with the one liners – and some brilliantly-thought-out throwbacks for diehard fans of the comics and movies.
Although there are many, many, many, action-scenes, each one is stand-alone, and they look fantastic and are as spectacular as you would expect. It probably helps that this story spans several countries and planets, so they had plenty of scenarios to choose from. Avengers – Infinity War never lets up its pace, which by the end of the 149 minutes is somewhat exhausting. However, this running-time is necessary to encompass the story fully, and somehow the Russo brothers manage to keep the balls in the air throughout, and never allow this to dip.
Since Avengers – Infinity War is a two-part movie, it is not a spoiler to say that it leaves you hanging, which is somewhat dissatisfying. Especially following on from the numerous OMG moments throughout. I’m not sure what the record for saying “Oh my God!” while watching a movie is, but I’m pretty sure I, and many other reviewers, broke it at this screening, and everyone seemed almost shell-shocked by the twist it took. I can honestly say I did not see it coming, but rather than getting excited about it, I was almost disappointed to have been taken on such a journey for that particular payoff.
If you’ve never seen a Marvel movie, don’t make Avengers – Infinity War your first one. Seriously, you will be totally lost. However, I’m assuming most people reading this have at least a passing familiarity with the MCU, and if this is the case, you should check this out, as it is an important part of the Marvel canon, and a history-making movie.
Avengers – Infinity War is big and brash and lacking the depth of some previous offerings. But it is also thrilling and exciting, and a total spectacle. It will leave you conflicted and confused, but also wanting to know what happens next. Avengers – Infinity War lives up to its hype and then some, however it will leave you feeling slightly cheated. But I’m now counting the hours to the sequel, so I guess it has done its job.
In Cinemas April 26th! See trailer below: