Everything in the Marvel Universe has been building to this movie and I suspect a lot of us have been holding our breath practically waiting for the moment it arrived. It’s been known for a while that this film would be the game changer, bringing together characters from all the known Marvel movies to tangle with the biggest villain of them all, Thanos (Josh Brolin). I’ve wondered for a while just how well they were going to execute bringing all the diverse elements together into a cohesive whole, not to mention keep momentum to carry the storyline into the second part. The story is executed well, the characters will make you cry and while the storyline held few surprises, it was exactly what it needed to be to build to the second half of Avengers in Part II of Infinity War.
The beginning of the movie begins almost exactly where Thor: Ragnarok leaves off with the Asgardians decimated, ships destroyed and Thanos come to collect on the Tesseract or more precisely, one of the six Infinity stones. Without giving away how, he manages to obtain the stone and leaves Thor (Chris Hemsworth) behind, wounded on a crippled ship. In the process of fighting Thanos, Heimdell (Idris Elba) manages to send Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) back to Earth. Thanos sends his soldiers, The Black Order, after the stones on Earth and continues his search for the other two stones in the wider universe.
Hulk lands in Dr. Strange’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) house. Once he explains that if Thanos obtains all six stones, he plans to wipe out half the lives of everyone in the universe, the pair track down Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr). Together, Tony along with the other Avengers try to prevent Thanos from getting his hands on the stones. This is made more difficult by Dr. Strange, who holds the stone of Time, being unwilling to be protected. Even worse, no one knows where Vision (Paul Bettany) is, who is imbued with life by the last stone. Even with a plan, it is uncertain if the Avengers will manage to hold off Thanos, especially once he arrives on Earth with his army.
There are so many elements that are working so well in this movie. But there’s only so much paper and time. Let’s start with how the story was put together. By beginning with Thor, the writers are able to capitalize on his placement in space to bring together several disparate groups, like the Guardians and Thor. By sending Hulk back to Earth, this also brings in the Avengers. While I don’t want to spoil the storyline, I will say the writers do a great job of building on the relationships between each group and weaving the different groups together into one cohesive storyline.
Even better, with this many characters, it would be easy to lose parts of what makes them unique. After all, the egos between Stark, Strange and Starlord (Chris Pratt) alone would fill a large building but the writers manage to tell the story while streamlining the backstories of the various characters smoothly. They manage to keep the essential nature of each character but without dragging down the story all while injecting humor into the dialogue over all those egos!
Another element that just sticks with me is the dialogue and humor. This is a movie with some poignant moments. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to tell you that not everyone makes it. The director and the writers build some beautiful moments increasing those heartbreaking scenes. But there are also some dialogue, especially between Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and Stark that just made the audience burst out in laughter. That balance of lightness is well needed to highlight those scenes that inevitably happen in a movie labeled Infinity War.
Most reviewers are probably going to touch on the fight scenes. I never for once doubted those were going to be brilliant. Marvel has always had a way with making the action sequences kick ass and this film was no exception. The scenes in Wakanda, in particular, were stirring, the dervish of activity amazing and the Wakandans, Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Shuri (Letitia Wright), Okoye (Danai Gurira) and M’Baku (Winston Duke), were one of my favorite parts, most especially because of how important they and their country were to the plot. I was pleased at how critical the writers made their piece. The best entrance to a fight is in this sequence, although again, trying not to spoil too much for my readers! There was not much missed her and it is some of the most exciting scenes in the film.
But it is not the exciting scenes that draw the eye but the emotional ones. There are many along the way but these couldn’t have worked without excellent acting. One of the most beautiful scenes happens between Wanda Maximoff (Elisabeth Olsen) and Vision played by Paul Bettany. This pair’s chemistry was incredible and their scenes together were haunting. Of equal delight were the scenes between Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana (Gamorra). In the movie, Gamorra was raised by Thanos. Her scenes with Starlord and Thanos were some of the most poignant in the movie. Chris Hemsworth was incredible as Thor, his losses allowing the actor to capture a different side of the character. Tom Holland as Peter Parker managed to imbue the character with everything I’ve ever wanted in the character and was a critical element to the humor in his scenes with Robert Downey Jr. There aren’t any bad scenes or any bad acting in this entire film.
What did lose a bit with me was the predictability of the movie. There were very few surprises. All of it was what had to happen to setup for the final Avengers film. The problem with this, though, is that a lot of actions were telegraphed long before they happened and even some part of the next film, I have an idea of what is going to happen, just due to the rather strong hints at the end of the movie. There were some parts that did happen differently or in a different sequence but most of the critical pieces were what I expected to see.
The other little piece that bothered me was in the proportions on some of the larger characters, like Hulk, Thanos, and some of the hulkbuster robots. Quite a few of them were out of proportion with the other characters at times. The close ups with Thanos and Gamorra were well shot but there were others where the ratio was just slightly off. While it is difficult to be perfect, at least one of those scenes pulled me out of the movie.
Overall, this movie didn’t pull punches and set up the plot so that the next movie can still manage to be as big, if not bigger. The movie had fantastic fight scenes, great connections, some of the best dialogue I’ve ever heard and beautiful, emotional acting that brought tears to my eyes. While there were small imperfections, that incredible acting and the coherency of the story will make audiences happy, even if we have to wait for the next chapter to conclude the storyline.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Avengers.
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