Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Based on the Marvel comics by: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Jim Starlin, George Perez, Ron Lim, Steve Ditko, Joe Simon
Screenplay by: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (with input from James Gunn)
Produced by: Kevin Feige, Mitchell Bell, Ari Costa
Executive Producers: Victoria Alonso, Louis D’Esposito, Jon Favreau, James Gunn, Stan Lee, Trinh Tran
Starring: Robert Downey Jnr, Chris Pratt, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Zoe Saldana, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Mark Ruffalo, Karen Gillan, Tom Holland, Josh Brolin, Scarlett Johansson.
Emerging a shaky shadow of my former self after watching the last tantalising scene following the credits for Avengers: Infinity War, I was reminded of some dialogue in one of my favourite films, The Princess Bride. The grandfather has been reading a book to his sick grandson who asks, “Who kills Prince Humperdinck? At the end. Somebody’s got to do it.” The grandfather replies, “Nobody. Nobody kills him. He lives.” The grandson replies, “You mean he wins? What did you read me this thing for?”
And that is exactly how I felt after seeing Avengers: Infinity War. Obviously I don’t want to spoil this film for other fans who have invested the last ten years of their lives building a sense of rapport and family around these Marvel characters across an 18-film arc, but to say I left the cinema feeling the opposite of uplifted isn’t giving too much away (hopefully). At least I wasn’t sobbing into my popcorn like some others in the packed audience.
The film opens fairly much straight after the last scene of Thor: Ragnarok, and from there the action and unfolding plot never let up. It’s safe to reveal that the main focus of the film is centred on the galactic overlord Thanos, who is after all six Infinity stones, whose combined power would allow him to unleash his insane plan across the known universe. Of course some of these stones are currently in the possession of a few of the Avengers, whose lives are imperilled as a result.
The Avengers try to prevent Thanos’ audacious plan from being realised, as we jump across continents on Earth and around far-flung locations scattered throughout the cosmos, re-meeting those heroes we have come to identify as our friends, the people in whom we have invested so much of our emotional energy. I’ve seen all 18 movies in this Marvel cinematic universe at one time or another but don’t consider myself an expert, but I found the plot reasonably easy to follow, and from the bits of exposition anyone not overly familiar with Marvel’s films should still be able to follow the main story line.
The film is awesome in the sense of being a major cinematic event, full of light, action, a majestic score, and breathtaking, incredible special effects, as well as a clever screenplay that ensures the characters get to interact with others, have a moment to shine, and plan their line of defence. The pace seldom lets up while the rare quiet moments between characters are welcome and genuinely heartfelt, their willingness to possibly sacrifice themselves for others is nobly heroic, while the snippets of humorous dialogue lighten the sense of impending gloom.
Even the CGI Thanos (played by Josh Brolin) is convincingly lifelike, unlike that Steppenwolf guy from the Justice League movie, so he’s not your typical 2D evil villain dude. The fact that I could even understand if not condone the rationale for Thanos’ actions speaks volumes for how well his character was developed and portrayed.
One critic thought the film was “funny”, but perhaps they were referring to some of the much-needed humorous exchanges, especially involving the Guardians of the Galaxy crew (whose dialogue was provided by GOTG director James Gunn), since this film overall was not funny in tone, but rather increasingly WTF? and emotionally devastating. If ever a film needed a part 2, this is it, so I hope Infinity War Part 2 is being made right now, otherwise “I will be seriously put out”, to quote Prince Humperdinck.