Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Epic & action-packed with a monstrous canvas of superheroicism, reality-wielding villain, & stunning ending, Infinity War overcomes pacing, Thanos design, and narrative-overstuffing problems to deliver an overall colossal crossover-event. 7.9/10.

Plot Synopsis: Set years after the events of New York and Sokovia, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, and the rest of the Avengers unite again to battle their most powerful enemy yet: Thanos. On a mission to collect all six Infinity Stones, Thanos plans to use the powerful artifacts to inflict his twisted will on reality. The fate of the universe has never been more uncertain as everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment.

*Possible spoilers ahead*

Review

The Culmination Of MCU’s 10-Year Plan Is Here

10 years, 19 movies, 30+ superheroes. Avengers: Infinity War is the culmination of what Marvel has been building to ever since 2008’s wry RDJ grand slam Iron Man 1. However you feel about the movies (and there are problems with them & how they’re many times overrated by critics spuring an arms race to super-franchising in the industry), there’s no denying it’s truly impressive how they’ve built this universe. Infinity War was billed as a historic and epic crossover/blockbuster event the franchise was singularly building towards over all these films, and it mostly delivers on its massive promises to fans having been around since Stark first took that fateful ride in the Hum-Vee in Afghanistan a decade ago.

The Action

First, the action. The Russo Brothers are clearly the architects in command of Infinity War’s epic blockbuster-true action sequences, having displayed a smooth fluidness and unparalleled fight choreography in the MCU ever since their legendary masterwork Winter Solider put them on the map in critics’ eyes like mine back in 2014, only to be further elucidated upon and proven not to be a fluke in the thrillingly-paced Civil War. Both on a personal scale like in the inventive mini-team vignettes separated in diverse locations from Scotland to Space to New York to their convergence into massive all-out wars in Wakanda and Titan – Titan being amongst the best and most visually stunning fight sequences the MCU has ever put to film, the action is simply impossible not to be thrilled by.

The New Character Designs

The character design is phenomenal too for all heroes (villains a little more dicey as I’ll explain later), especially Iron Man who has the best/sleekest suit and tech I’ve seen in the already-stunning IM tech reservoir, as well as Spider-Man who wields the comic-accurate Iron Spider suit perfectly. The new, nomadic post-Civil War looks of Bucky, Cap, and Black Widow are great too, and thankfully establish some lasting stakes from Civil War instead of turning back on them – another pro. The sheer number of superheroes on screen battling it out, especially in the final act, is truly a sight to behold, impressive accomplishment, & special experience for any superhero and comic book fan, easily being worth the price of admission.

The Character Arcs & Mini-Team Separations

The character interactions are intriguing as well as they’re sent off in mini-teams that haven’t really been tried before like Thor and The Guardians, Iron Man & Spidey with Doctor Strange, Cap & BW with Black Panther, etc. This adds a freshness and novelty to IW that makes for another level of level entertainment to the crossover being almost like mini-Avengers movies powering through an admittedly problematic first half (will address later) before it cascades into 2 big team-up movies (Wakanda/Titan) and finds its legs in the back half and finale. The humor and tone are stomachable too, less in-your-face and childish than past Marvel movies and sequestered in the first act so that there’s really none clouding the epic wowing action in the 2nd half there’s rarely a quip in.

Thanos Is Finally Here

Finally, Thanos and the emotion. While problematic in his look, originality, and followers (will discuss next), the titan of Marvel Comics wielding Infinity Stones and reality itself wreaks absolute havoc on the Avengers and is a compelling, epic villain. Humanization with environmental hauntings in his backstory, a shattered psyche personified in Gamora as a child instructing his evil acts he’s convinced are virtuous, and intense sociopathology against billions or trillions of other beings, Thanos is the key to solving what is the MCU’s biggest flaw (along with its humor penchant): the infamous villain problem. Gone and evidently learned from its diecy past with villains from the thoroughly forgettable/laughable villains like Malekith, Ronan, Kaecilius, Laufey.. (need I go on?), Marvel has finally gotten its villains right with Killmonger and Thanos instantly taking the top two – Thanos easily taking the title of MCU’s best villain.

War

Beyond his psychology-fueled terror, he is also well-written and acted by Josh Brolin with clear-cut defined goals in killing off half each planet’s population to prevent the tragedy that befell his home planet (a somewhat sympathizable goal had his methods not been so insane), and extremely imposing from a power perspective. A strong hand-to-hand combatant wielding reality as we know with nicely-CGI’d Infinity Gauntlet mayhem, he becomes the most powerful being in the MCU quickly – making for extreme entertainment value in The Avengers not even being able to touch him or give everything they have only to do “all that for a drop of blood,” and will make for even more dire a question in Part 2: how will they possibly stop a 6 Infinity Stone-equipped Thanos with a fraction of the team?!?! Phenomenal.

The Snap & An Ending Beyond Exposition

This artistic value climaxes in the absolutely WILD ending amongst the most shocking ever attempted in a blockbuster or franchise film. How they got the okay (and balls) to *SPOILER* kill off a massive amount of their roster (and population) is unbelievable, and the type of tremendous stakes and epicness I’ve been waiting for in a Marvel film. It comes across with a one-two wholly unexpected to be lifted from the comics on this level, makes for incredible possibilities for Part 2 perhaps having the original 6 Avengers save out of duty for those lost, and is a shocking master-twist with massive, earth-shaking ramifications it will be difficult to wait for. Insanity.

Flaws

The First Half, Pacing, Tone, & Thanos’ Design

Now, while there are many pros in Infinity War that tip the scales in the overall positive direction, there are some major flaws one can’t ignore as well. First and perhaps the biggest flaw, the first half of the movie borderlines on bad. Overlong, overstuffed to the point of being scattered between too many storylines/characters separately juggled, and cheesy-joke filled, the first act of Infinity War is a glorified scavenger hunt spent way too much time on. I cannot understand why The Russos didn’t REALLY trim down the first half – as well as better pace it since the first half can run slow and second half fast. 2 hours 49 minutes is a long time for a single-sitting film, especially a 2-parter (this is only half the story..). While the second half of Infinity War’s epicness (and ending) easily make up for its first half’s flaws, it is still clunky and could have sorely used some fine-tuning for a better and smoother/more-elegantly-sculpted final product. Thanos’ originality and his disciples’ looks are also problematic. For anyone who knows comics, Thanos is inarguably a copy of DC’s Darkseid even admitted to by his creators, but even withstanding that being somewhat differentiated by the Infinity Stone/environmental angle, his design in-movie is terrible.

The 2nd Half Of IW Deserves A Much Better Opening Act (& Thanos Better CGI)

Thanos looks like a purple Shaq/Shrek with a cheese grater chin.. in a tank top. The ‘Children of Thanos’ look like they’ve been designed for… well, children as they do not look intimidating in the slightest, especially Ebony Maw who (while it made a hilarious joke), really does look like a slightly-edgy Squidward we’re apparently supposed to be scared of. But, Thanos is easily the biggest problem, with his design warranting serious “why?’s” in multidinal aspects and can be sorely distracting even trying to hold back a laugh when his look doesn’t equal the terrifying acts he’s carrying out. I cannot understand WHY the Russos or Disney let him look so bad, taking off the armor that made him look so badass in post-credits scenes leading up to IW, making him too-purple to grape-level, too-bulky with subpar CGI that makes his movements look a bit awkward, and way too much going on in the head design – a far cry from the instantly-intimidating madman titan design from the comics. It’s a shame because he is easily the MCU’s best villain, and if his design would’ve matched his strong writing, power, and backstory – could have been an All-Time great one. Tragic.

Conclusion

Despite Flaws, An Epic, Action-Packed Thrill Ride With A Massive Cliffhanger For Part II

Overall, Infinity War is an epic, action-packed thrill ride that definitely earns its hype with a jaw-dropping finale you just have to see to believe they did it. It has a fair amount of problems like an overstuffed, poorly-paced, and forced humor-filled first half and poor visual design for its otherwise great villain, but has more than enough pros to offset its flaws. Epic & action-packed with a monstrous canvas of superheroicism, reality-wielding villain, & stunning twist ending, Infinity War overcomes setbacks to deliver a colossal crossover event. that delivers on the massive promises and checks cashed by its premise and leaves us with one flaming question: What will happen in Part 2?

Official CLC Score: 7.9/10