I recall, ten years ago, seeing the first Iron Man film in the theatre. There had been comic book movies before, of course, and plenty of them Marvel. But this was the first of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU), of which we had little idea how far reaching would become. Those of us who stayed until the end of the credits for that secret ending with Samuel L Jackson declaring the Avengers Initiative were shook, and I mean shook. It was actually happening. And happen it did.
A couple dozen or so films later, we come to the culmination of a decade’s work; Infinity War, the first bookend to what some are calling the first ‘chapter’ of the MCU.
All these movies have been about, or at least mentioned, the Infinity Stones. Big ‘ol Thanos is the baddie trying to collect said Stones so he can wipe out half of all life in the universe. Why? Watch it to find out.
I’m doing my best here not to go into spoiler territory, so I will say this; I found myself appreciating Thanos as a villain much more than I thought I would. He’s not quite as fleshed out as Loki or Magneto for example, but he is far superior to most of the other villains Marvel has utilized over the years (I’ve always felt that the villains were the one main weakness of Marvel’s way of doing things). Thanos is a deeply philosophical villain, and an actual threat. He just appears on the scene and you feel the doom that surrounds him.
There are stakes abound in this film, of which a lot of the previous entries often lacked as well. Alot of characters meet their makers in this, but keep in mind there is a caveat to this. Gone are the days when we were genuinely surprised at what would come next. That original secret ending at the end of the first Iron Man I was talking about earlier? That was an actual surprise. But nowadays we know the next few movies coming down the pipeline, and knowing this, it definitely takes away from some of the final moments of this film, knowing that some of these characters are in fact going to be just fine. I can’t blame the film itself for that though, it’s a byproduct of the industry now.
This movie basically makes up half of the original comic event it’s adapted from. Seems the second half will be Avengers 4 (as yet untitled), and due to knowing the final fates of some of the characters, although most will guess where it will lead too, the how remains a mystery. A mystery I look forward to seeing carried out.
There’s a fine line to be walked when characters, used in their own films by different directors, are then all brought into one crossover event and handled by different creators. It can leave the film unbalanced and characters who act differently that one would expect. Thankfully though, in this case, the film straddles that line without going over.
If you like the MCU, you will likely love Infinity War. And if you like Thor, then you’ll doubly dig this one as it’s very much Thor’s journey, of which I thought was the most strongly handled elements of it all.
But yes, plenty of twists and turns, heroism and heartbreak, and a villain that outshines most when it comes to the MCU overall. One of the strongest entries yet!
Rating: a solid A