May 2, 2018 Avengers: Infinity War (Movie Review)
For the last decade, superheroes and their respective movies have been all the buzz around cinemas. With names like Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, and even the iconic Samuel L. Jackson, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been seriously taking foot in the hearts of children and adults alike. The first film to bring these stories and characters together was Avengers, released in 2012 and featuring the aforementioned namesakes in one gathering of heroes. It was at this time Marvel/Universal was purchased and produced by The Disney Company; a move which at first left fans feeling that their beloved caped-crusaders would now become “Mickey Mouse-d.” This notion was quickly put to rest when Avengers had an opening weekend of $207+ million and an overall $688+ million that season.
Since that time, Marvel Studios has produced and released 13 more feature films, including 2014’s Guardians of The Galaxy, 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, yet another Avengers sequel, as well as this year’s blockbuster phenomenon, Black Panther; a film which could not have come out at a more ideal time in the current social and political climate.
The latest Marvel offering to create yet another buzz is Avengers: Infinity War, which arrived to U.S. theaters on Friday, April 25, 2018, thanks to Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. This is not a go-to-the-movies-to-take-in-an-Action-flick type of film; this is not among the ranks of freshman, sophomore or senior films. This is the SAT of the superhero universe that Disney/Marvel have been preparing for its audiences.
An important film that needs at least a bit of background knowledge for one to walk into and fully enjoy the experience, because without history or background, one would end up feeling lost and confused. For 10 years, Marvel has been getting the ingredients for a massive build-up to do one of two things: end the franchise as we know it or rewrite the franchise as we know it. This is not a story of good guys who band together and triumph over evil, but rather an epic that will change everything fans have come to know and love.
The Marvel Universe is nearly 80-years-old and the build-up to Infinity War, first published as a six book series in 1992, has been complex: starting with the sneak peek trailers for Avengers: Infinity War airing late last year, followed by a Super Bowl TV spot, and closing with the mid-March trailer – which received over one-million views within a 24 hour period. Making this the most-watched trailer in history, Marvel was once again setting and breaking records before theater dates.
The previews were so well-received, the studio decided to release the film a week early due to fan requests. Disney/Marvel has a very special way of constructing their previews, introducing new looks and characters while dropping hints and easter eggs within a 30-second time limit that send fans into comic theory frenzies. At times, there is information that is misleading to the viewers, while, conversely, other points divulge too much information; one a red herring, the other a spoiler in itself. Though with each new preview, the anticipation for the film grows.
Infinity War starts off where one of the infamous Marvel after-credit scenes leaves off. In fact, most of the dialogue and key points presented in the trailers are touched upon in the first 15-minutes of film, leaving another 2 hours and 25 minutes of never before seen footage and dialogue. The overall premise of this tale was Thanos, the Mad Titan (Josh Brolin: The Goonies 1985, W. 2008), is scouring the universe far and wide for six cosmic minerals known as Infinity Stones. Each holding the key to Time, Space, Mind, Soul, Reality and Power. With all six combined, Thanos will be able to accomplish anything he wants at his very will, and, of course, his greatest desire is to exterminate half of all universal beings in order to bring a great balance to the universe.
Initially the story-line and character development are nil, and rightfully so: character development has been pre-established in previous films; think of this as more of a chapter in a novel instead of a main story. Overall, Infinity War contains several story arcs stemming from previous adventures and a heavy load of returning cast members. Although some of the paths never do cross in this film, they are all there to establish a grand totality in the end. Here, we travel through the universe to parts known and familiar, and visit new regions and planets never explored previously; we visit several corners of the Earth, starting in the Avengers’ base of operations New York City to the fictitious land of Wakanda, home of the blockbuster record breaking Black Panther.
With efforts so valiantly combined to thwart the villain Thanos, Ruler of the Dead and his posse of grey-skinned monsters known as The Black Order, the Avengers fall short on several counts. Firstly, keep the children at home. Although the toy line, clothing and apparel will be all the rage this summer, this is not kid-friendly; the good guys do not win this round. In fact, after several hours, the Marvel Cinematic Universe starts to get dark. Individual story arcs start running together seamlessly to result in an epic final battle. The feats of Thor and Captain shine like beacons in a dimming night, but are eventually snuffed out by an all powerful violence monger, leaving the audience in shock and awe. Was this how they close the book, or, as a once again famous post-credit scene hints towards, is this just the beginning?
Simply put, it will be difficult to see this movie if you have not kept up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, although eighteen movies in chronological order is a lot of catching up by summer’s end. Not to mention the bevy of graphic novels and comics which, in and of themselves, are a burden heavier than protecting the Earth from outworldly threats. However, if you do know a thing or two about super soldiers, Norse gods, billionaire playboy geniuses, or the occasional radioactive scientist whom you would not like when he is angry, see yourself to your local cinema as this is one film you will not want to miss. Truthfully, who on this planet, or any other planet with sentient life, is not aware of the world Stan Lee and Marvel have built for our amusement?
All this said, Avengers: Infinity War is stunning film whether or not you do follow the MCU, and that is CrypticRock gives it 5 out of 5 stars.