Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Starring: My entire childhood.
Review Author: Adam
It’s been about 36 hours since I left the cinema after seeing Infinity Wars…and I’m still not really OK. I’m drowning in conspiracy theories, trying to decipher easter eggs (shout out to Arrested Development) and just rolling around in the fan theories on Reddit…some of which are so well thought out it’s hard to not think of them as canon.
Of all the film fandoms out there I think Marvel’s fans have the best imagination. The fans of this franchise, which I proudly count myself in that group, have so much source material to build from and such heightened expectations that I was filled with a strange nervous energy while the trailers were rolling; I really wanted this to be amazing and I was terrified that I was setting myself up for disappointment *cough* Age of Ultron *cough*.
My fears were washed away within the first 5 minutes, it was fantastic. This is absolutely Marvel’s Empire Strikes Back. It’s an incredibly well-balanced mix of what makes each of the various characters work well (tried and tested at this stage). The humour, sincerity and absurd action are all just peppered throughout the film perfectly. We’ve definitely matured as a franchise – this villain isn’t messing around, he’s incredibly powerful and acts in such a way that for the first time in 17 films I thought to myself ‘oh this isn’t a kids superhero film anymore, these people are fucked‘.
The bad guy is kicking ass in a way that they’ve never had to deal with before. It’s a tone change, this is a mature theme and quite dark. Thanos brings this forward like no other villain.
Each character has to really step up their game – we see a lot of new tricks get rolled out here, notably Tony’s suit. It’s is absolutely the best it’s ever been, this was my favourite version – they’ve allowed his character to echo the almost biological tech that the comics have had for the last few years rather than focusing on more straightforward ‘super machine’. Thor and the creation of Stormbreaker may be my favourite sequence – seeing him in action with the new weapon gave me a semi and we definitely have a contender for the new best bicep scene in the MCU. You’ll know it when you see it.
The film runs just over two and a half hours long, there’s 4 distinct groups/plots created and a lot of things to get through- so some choices had to be made with regard to pace and editing- you have to make a lot of assumptions about what happened in the few minutes after Thor Ragnarok on all sides because the film just doesn’t have the time to tell us. And that’s fine, but what it leads to is a plot that is told so relentlessly fast that you have to just grip the edge of the seat and keep up. It’s definitely advisable to piss beforehand, there is no good time during. At least Age of Ultron gave us that little farm break.
So does Marvel keep the story moving and give equal time to all the moving parts? Yes. Yes, it does, it does it in a very smart way – by keeping the Black Order fairly fluid. You see, the groups all split up and are off on side quests all leading to the same goal, but in every groups’ antagonist is really Thanos, who can only be in one place at a time. With 4 moving stories, it can be hard to keep each one interesting, it’s like Spielberg’s ‘back at the ranch’ theory squared. So to keep it all moving each group is essentially being stalked by a member of the Black Order- all blindly doing Thanos’ bidding, which means you don’t have to wait for him to pop over to another situation to keep things moving- I thought that was a fantastic way to keep pace and not need to dues ex machina any situations for the sake of time.
I think it’s fair to say we’re all quite emotionally invested in these characters, some of them have had a decade of backstory built up and the reality is we’ve been following this story for 17 films now. Nothing has ever done this before (and don’t come at me with Bond, that’s not one single story). So with this emotional investment in mind I *slight spoilers ahead* was expecting deaths to hit a bit harder than they did. I think we’ve been spoiled by two very big environmental factors of this genre. 1, we know the future of the Franchise, we know what characters are having more films etc… marketing is against us here. 2, if there’s one criticism of comic stories, it’s that death isn’t permanent- that’s one thing that I don’t like seeing be directly pulled from that medium into film. I don’t feel like people are permanently dead in this genre, despite how good some of the death scenes are.
feel know that most of this will be retconned, but there’s a few death’s that, if not permanent, will really lower the amount of respect I have for the studio. One, in particular, is so brutal, well acted and in fitting with the character (and sets Thanos up as an absolute force) that if it’s just fixed with a magic wand will really annoy me.
Let us know what you think of it below and for the love of god if you spotted the Arrested Development cameo please don’t ruin the location for anyone- it’s nice and subtle, and THERE ARE DOZENS OF US!
Rating: 4.5 / 5 Glasses of Hendrick’s Gin