Staffer Review: Avengers: Infinity War

To realize it was only ten years ago feels shocking. That is, ten years since Nick Fury appeared at the end of Jon Favreau’s “Iron Man” to talk to Tony Stark about the Avengers initiative.

Moviegoers speculated about the scene and what it meant for the future. Who are the Avengers? When are they introducing the other heroes? Are we actually going to see them all team up in one movie?

This all built up to the release of 2012’s “The Avengers”. This was it: the big moment where they all came together. Did they pull it off? Was it possible to fit six superheroes into one movie?

Marvel and writer-director Joss Whedon succeeded in epic fashion. “The Avengers” paid off four years of buildup and delivered the summer blockbuster in its truest form.

In common Marvel tradition, however, the post-credits scene stole the show, as it hinted at what was inevitably coming: Infinity War.

Suffice to say, a lot has been building up to “Avengers: Infinity War”. Directors of the film Joe and Anthony Russo, alongside Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, have been clear that this film and the untitled Avengers 4 mark the culmination of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Why provide all this background? I want to show the seemingly insuperable expectations that “Avengers: Infinity War” had on its shoulders, expectations that would be otherwise impossible to even meet.

I did this because “Avengers: Infinity War” doesn’t just meet these expectations; it shatters them.

“Avengers: Infinity War” is a relentless, cinematic triumph that may never be topped in its ambition and success. It delivers emotional payoffs and character interactions years in the making all while being inspiring, funny, yet completely heartbreaking. It builds excitement for what’s to come, yet is completely satisfying in its own right. It is an event like no other.

For a movie with so much going on, the plot is simple: Thanos (Josh Brolin) journeys around the universe with his Black Order in search of the Infinity Stones (think of them as the six most powerful McGuffin devices ever) needed to complete the Infinity Gauntlet. Naturally, Marvel’s greatest heroes unite to try to prevent Thanos from wiping out half the universe.

From the opening scene, “Infinity War” grabs you and won’t let you go until the credits roll (expects gasps of shock from the audience when they do). The movie doesn’t spoon feed you exposition from previous films or give you time to catch your breath, but the brisk pace is necessary to due the movie’s many moving parts.

While this pacing is necessary, I occasionally had difficulty getting into the film. Think of “Infinity War” as a rollercoaster that starts at the big drop: you get the good stuff right away, but you might also get whiplash. There are also moments that lose some of their impact due to the many other things happening on screen, making them feel rushed or brushed over. “Infinity War” is a candy shop of awesome scenes but it’s often too sweet for its own good.

I can easily forgive these minor flaws because seeing my favorite characters interact on screen was a magical experience that felt like watching a comic book come to life. The action setpieces (of which there are many) all revolved around each character’s specific personality and abilities, which helped keep it fresh and interesting. More impressive, however, is that all the characters are balanced well and get their moment to shine.

How did screenwriters Christopher Marcus and Stephen McFeely balance all one billion superheroes? They made everything revolve around the antagonist by making him the main character, giving him just as much depth as the Avengers and even more screen time.

More often than not, Marvel has delivered forgettable villains for their heroes to fight against, but Thanos is anything but forgettable. Thanos’s power and dominance over the Avengers is clear, but even better, he’s interesting. I wouldn’t dare spoil the film, but Thanos is no over-the-top caricature set on destroying the world for power; he’s simply acting on principle to do what he deems necessary.

Thanos’s strong presence as a villain takes the film to stakes and consequences that the Marvel movies have consistently failed to reach. I can’t help but feel that some things may be undone in Avengers 4, but shocking events happen in Infinity War that left me floored.

These darker moments are balanced with genuinely hilarious comedic banter that kept me smiling. 150 minutes of gloom and doom would have been no fun, and it is necessary to maintain the comedic tone associated with the characters’ personalities.

      Very rarely do the jokes undermine the dramatic moments, which is a feat that can’t be emphasized enough. One of my consistent gripes with Marvel movies and other blockbusters (looking at you, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”) is that the humor may feel forced and damaging to the dramatic events on screen, but Infinity War does not fall into this trap.

Like all Marvel movies, “Infinity War” hints at future sequels, but “Infinity War” delivered more than enough moments for me to replay in my head until Avengers 4 next year.

Ten years ago, it would have been ludicrous to think that “Infinity War” would ever exist, nonetheless be any good. Marvel’s careful build up has finally paid off in an epic and impressive way that can never be emulated. Now, if you would excuse me, I have to go use the Time Stone to travel to Avengers 4’s opening weekend.