There will be spoilers in this article
I’ve been excited about this movie for a really, really long time. As mentioned in my ‘Black Panther’ article, I’m a huge fan of superhero films, and Marvel have really been on a hot-streak recently. 2013 was a pretty poor MCU year, with ‘Iron Man 3’ and ‘Thor: The Dark World’, but to be honest, since then Marvel hasn’t really missed. They’ve delivered with every single film. ‘Winter Soldier’ will probably always be my favourite, but ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ and ‘Black Panther’ follow closely, as does ‘Captain America: Civil War’. Given that the recent Captain America films have been some of my favourites, I was really happy that the Russo brothers were given control of Infinity War. It makes sense, the culmination of 10 years and 18 films is, in the words of Neil from ‘The Inbetweeners’, a “two man job”. If you really think about everything that this film needed to do, it’s almost an impossible job. To make a convincing plot that ties in 18 films, involving about 30 beloved/main characters, whilst trying to satisfy millions of fans who all want something slightly different, is not easy. Making a Marvel film is such a delicate balance. They’ve had hits with political spy-thrillers, deep rooted societal messages, out-and-out comedies, and classic box-office action hits, so which one do you go for? I guess my only problem with the MCU has been their ‘formula’ for their hits. It’s entertaining, and I love the films all the same, but every film has to have quips on top of quips on top of quips, even in life-or-death situations, and then there’s always a happy ending. And to be honest, this is no different really, except for the ending, but on to that later.
I won’t really talk much about the acting or cinematography in this film, because it’s all basically what you’ll be expecting. These actors have played their characters for so long, they’ve basically become them in real life. There’s no real stand-out acting performances, Chris Pratt and Chris Hemsworth probably get the most laughs in the quip-fest, and Josh Brolin is definitely towards the top end of Marvel villains, but there’s no acting to write home about. In my opinion, the biggest surprise was definitely Tom Holland, who was awesome. He’s taken the Spider-Man role to levels that Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield couldn’t, and delivers lighthearted humour along with probably the most emotional moment of the film. Tony Stark too does a great job of playing Robert Downey Jr, sorry, other way round – it’s hard to tell who’s who nowadays, they’re basically the same person. Everyone does well to be honest, the chemistry between Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany is pretty dire, and I’ve never believed it for a second, but their acting otherwise is fine. I think Elizabeth Olsen had the potential for the most gut-wrenching scene in MCU history, killing the man she loves to save the world, only to have it reversed by Thanos and to lose anyway, but for some reason it just didn’t hit home that hard for me. On the other hand, Chris Pratt is just awesome, as I said before, he’s hilarious, but his scenes with Gamora are vulnerable, his attempt to kill her heartbreaking, and his loss of control to stop the Avengers beating Thanos agonising. It’s great to see a guy who you would never have thought of as an MCU actor doing so well in a film filled with stars.
So, onto the plot. On the whole, they did a really great job of balancing so many people. I don’t think anyone would feel like their favourite character was cheated of screen-time, virtually everyone had an epic ‘superhero’ moment, and that’s no easy job. Of course, it’s a 150 minute film, but it never feels too long, and it’s full of action. Right of the bat, you know this is going to be different to other MCU films. 5 minutes in, Loki. Dead. Heimdall (Idris Elba). Dead. All of Asgard. Dead. Thanos. Scary. We establish the fact that he wants all the Infinity Stones so that he can easily wipe out half the population of the universe for reasons driven by what feels like a forced comment on overpopulation (not really sure what the message of the film is meant to be, besides “Earth is overpopulated”, or why this film needed a message at all). Thor is left to die and Hulk is transported to Earth where he lands in Doctor Strange’s sanctum, where he teams up with Strange, Stark and Wong. They fight off enemies in New York trying to protect Strange’s Time Stone, but Strange, Stark and Spider-Man end up aboard the enemies’ spaceship. With me so far? Elsewhere, Vision and Scarlett Witch are attacked, before being saved by Cap, Falcon and Black Widow, and they all head back to the Avengers HQ to team up with War Machine and Banner, who can no longer turn into Hulk so is sent home. They decide to fly to Wakanda to try and remove the Mind Stone from Vision’s head to destroy it before Thanos can get his hands on it, where they team up with the whole Black Panther group. Finally, Thor is found floating in space by the Guardians, and yes, their entrance is accompanied by a trademark 80s rock song, and they then split up, with Thor, Rocket and Groot going to form a new weapon, and the others going to find Thanos directly. Basically we end up with two groups. Group 1: Iron Man, Dr Strange, Spider-Man, Peter Quill, Drax and Mantis. Group 2: Captain America, Falcon, Black Panther (and friends), War-Machine, Vision, Scarlett Witch, Bruce Banner, Bucky, and eventually Thor, Rocket and Groot. Right.
Group 1 ends up fighting Thanos directly on Titan, and after a brutal battle, nearly has him where they need him. Mantis is sedating him while the others try and remove the Infinity Gauntlet from his hand, before they discover that he has killed Gamora, Quill loses his cool and attacks Thanos, awakening him before he defeats them all easily, stabbing Tony Stark. Before he dies, Dr Strange gives up the Time Stone in return for Stark’s life, seemingly having a mysterious plan, having looked into the future to see if they can beat Thanos.
Group 2 are swamped by a generic army of aliens, trying to hold them off until they can remove the stone from Vision’s head, and are about to lose it seems, before Thor returns and literally destroys all the bad guys. It’s sick, trust me. However, Thanos turns up, fresh from beating Group 1, and battles Group 2. He gets the final stone from Vision, who is killed, however is almost killed himself by Thor who stabs him in the chest, suitable revenge for killing his brother. However, as he seems to be dying, Thanos snaps his fingers, and wipes out half the population of the universe, before disappearing to a utopian hut, wounded but alive. The heroes look on horrified, as Black Panther, Spider-Man, Quill, Drax, Mantis, Drax, Groot, Bucky, Scarlett Witch, Strange and Falcon are killed, along with Nick Fury. The film ends there, with Tony Stark alone on Titan with Nebula, and the others left in shock.
That’s a lot to take in, I know, but I had to lay all that out before I discuss and say what I think. On one hand, it’s awesome that Marvel didn’t end with a happy ending. Every fan knows in every film that the good guys are going to win, so it’s a great twist that actually, they lose. But. And it’s a big but. I don’t buy it for a second. Like, they’re obviously going to come back, or at least some of them. Tom Holland is contracted to more Spider-Man films. ‘Black Panther’ grossed $1bn. Do you really think they’ve killed off those characters…? No. Obviously not. If they’d killed Iron Man, or Captain America, or Thor, or Bruce Banner, or any characters who’ve had their time in the MCU, then that would be believable and might actually feel real. But this just doesn’t. Don’t get me wrong, Spider-Man’s death is so sad, but he’s not staying dead, and if you think he is then you’re wrong. The one thing Marvel love more than quips, Robert Downey Jr and CGI villains is making money, and they’re not killing off some of their most lucrative characters.
Second issue, and again, this is quite a big one for me. Why did they have any chance of beating Thanos…? Like, why was there even a fight? He had flipping five infinity stones! Five! In ‘GOTG’ we saw how powerful the Power Stone was, where apparently you could wipe out a planet with one stroke. In ‘Doctor Strange’ we saw the Time Stone stop time. Thanos had 5 of these stones, one of which could literally make reality whatever he wanted, so why could anyone even get close to beating him? I understand Thor stabbing him at the end, I buy that, but the whole fight on Titan, I don’t really get that at all. The issue Marvel created for themselves is that they needed a villain powerful enough to be the climax of 18 films, but I think he was just too powerful for the film to be believable. I know it’s based on the comics, so I might be wrong, but I just didn’t get it.
Third issue. No Korg. Korg better not be dead. He was the best MCU character ever. No question
All in all, this is definitely worth a watch, not that you need me to tell you that. It’s funny, entertaining, full of awesome action, with tonnes of super cool superhero moments. If you like Marvel films, you’ll love it. If you don’t, you won’t. Simple as that. The Russo Brothers did a super job though, they balanced a ridiculous number of characters brilliantly, had some really funny lines, and created a good enough plot that we all can’t wait until May 2019 when the next one is out.
Best scene: Thor turns up at the end
Best character: Spider-Man
Best actor/actress: Chris Pratt
Best quote #1 (I couldn’t choose between 2: “Dude, you’re embarrassing me in front of the Wizard.” – Tony Stark
Best quote #2: “Let’s talk about this plan of yours. I think it’s good, except it sucks. So let me do the plan, and that way, it might be really good.” – Peter Quill
Bonus Best Quote: “Hold the door!” – Eitri (Peter Dinklage) Good job to Marvel for getting meta