Kyle J. Steenblik

Avengers: Infinity War, Maybe a Marvel Masterpiece [Review]

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Avengers: Infinity War
Directed by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Screenplay by Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Based on The Avengers by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Carrie Coon, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Letitia Wright, Vin Diesel, Danai Gurira, Benicio Del Toro, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Peter Dinklage, Benedict Wong
Production company Marvel Studios
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios, Motion Pictures
Release date April 27, 2018
Running time 149 minutes
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, language and some crude references.
5 stars out of 5

As the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, a new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos. A despot of intergalactic infamy, his goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones, artifacts of unimaginable power, and use them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality. Everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment – the fate of Earth and existence itself has never been more uncertain.

Avengers: Infinity War is more than just the culmination of 10 years of cinematic world building in a mostly consequence free fantasy comic-book film franchise. While this film does not entirely escape the feeling of a consequence-free universe, it does impart the feeling the consequences are entirely unknown. The groundwork was subtlety established within the film that nearly any action can be reversed, but did not give away any clue, or sly nods to tip off the audience that will happen. The result is that while the audience is in familiar waters, so to speak, the unknown danger circling beneath the surface is entirely alien.  That is just a very elaborate way of saying we have no way to know who really did and did not survive their encounter with Thanos, and that feeling is both exciting, unsettling, and entirely novel within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The Russo brothers also managed to accomplish a significant level of emotional impact with Avengers: Infinity War that has been elusive in every other Marvel film.  As much as I want to expand on this topic, because I feel it deserves discussion and analysis, but to do this runs the risk of dropping spoilers. Perhaps I will revisit this topic of discussion at a later date.

However, it is not all perfectly paced spectacle with emotional undertones and a plot as complex as it is nuanced.  Avengers: Infinity War is not without its moments that feel a bit too much like fan service—although as a fan I did appreciate those moment—moments when the appearance of a mythical item or an out of place character does not feel as if it is serving the narrative as much as giving the audience a chance to cheer.  There are a handful of throwaway lines that could be seen as a retcon of problematic plot points of the past or violate the sacred ‘show don’t tell’ rule of film.  Finally, there are the actions that are motivated by the script, rather than the story.  These issues are not by any means unique to this film, or even Marvel films as a whole, sometimes it takes a McGuffin to keep things moving.  Fortunately, I did not see any of these minor flaws impact the quality or enjoyability of this film.

Avengers: Infinity War is definitely the film fans were promised and deserve.  It is a tremendous apex off of which the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe can leap.

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