In time, you will know what it’s like to lose.”
You could think of Marvel’s “Infinity War” like a massive cinematic sandwich. The two loaves of bread are the witty quips and bright action sequences that have defined almost every Marvel movie up to this point, but only when you bite into the meat of this movie’s bitter climax can you truly realize what makes it special. Sure, it’s filled to the brim with over 30 clashing superheroes, each having saved his or her own world once all by him or herself. Sure, it spans an entire war-torn galaxy with every fight feeling like the ultimate showdown of a lesser film. But when you stagger out of Marvel’s two-hour and forty-minute joyride cut short, the only thing you feel is the devastation.
The first thing that you need to know about “Infinity War” is that its most important character is a CGI purple lump of Play-Doh. Seriously. Fans have been looking forward to the appearance of Thanos (Josh Brolin) since his brief cameo in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and Marvel did not disappoint in this aspect. Thanos feels like everything a good Marvel super villain should be, giving the most powerful people in the galaxy a run for their money at every turn. His punches are able to cut through invincible superheroes like a flaming chainsaw through butter. But the most powerful part about Thanos is that it seems every punch he throws hits him back twice as hard. Unlike other villains, Thanos understands the stark consequences of his evil “Let’s destroy the universe” plan, but he chooses to follow through anyway. Other than Black Panther’s Killmonger, Thanos may be the best villain yet in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In “Infinity War,” the stakes seem higher, and the tone is much darker than any other Avengers movie so far. Thanos proves to us from the very first scene that he’s not afraid to turn his Infinity Gauntlet on our hearts. Other Avengers movies have felt to me a brief crossover used only to fuel further solo movies. “Infinity War” gives off a whole different vibe. It plays perfectly off of already established characters to give us thrilling interactions with my favorite combo being Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Peter Quill (Chris Pratt). However charming these characters may be, none of them are truly safe from the Infinity War. SPOILER ALERT: People ACTUALLY DIE.
Despite all the gems (or stones, whatever) to be found in “Infinity War,” there are still a few drawbacks. The film nearly collapses under the weight of its own scope. The characters, however complex they may be, often operate in completely separate spheres in subplots until the ending, killing the chance of meaningful character collisions and character development that make Avengers movies shine. And though the fight scenes may be a stunning CGI spectacle, the Russo brothers stray away from the grounded, intense hand-to-hand combat that made “Civil War” shine. For me, the best Marvel films will always be the smaller ones which focused on one character’s journey to fame or infamy rather than an entire universe of characters punching, blasting and exploding at each other. That being said, if you judge “Infinity War “solely based on its entertainment value, it’s priceless. The only other drawback is… well, a spine-chilling cliffhanger.
“Infinity War” struggles under the weight of the universe Marvel has created for it, but at the end of the day it holds up as the first installment in what could be the world’s next timeless feature film series. Its nearly three hours seems to go by in minutes. To all those who watch it, good luck.