It’s been over three weeks now since I left “Avengers: Infinity War” ready to proclaim it one of the best movies that Marvel has ever created. Now, because I wanted to wait and see if my opinions changed and because I’m lazy, I am here, a full 23 days later, to discuss the film in greater detail.
WARNING: This is a spoiler review, so the entire plot of “Infinity War” will be talked about, including major story elements and the ending. So, if you have been under a rock and somehow haven’t seen the movie or the infinite amount of tweets spoiling the finale, here is your final warning.
Sure, it helped that each of the heroes were developed prior to this movie, but the ability to juggle dozens of equally important characters with such expert balance was one of the most impressive things that this movie pulled off.
Thor, Iron Man, Doctor Strange and Gamora are the “main” heroes in the film, and they each bring something new and amazing to the film in incredibly unique ways. Thor brings a mix of humor and heartbreak with the death of Loki and his crew. Iron Man and Doctor Strange have terrific back and forth as two headstrong men. But, it was Gamora and her relationship with Thanos that impressed me the most.
Up until her death, the backstory that her character has is brilliantly told and gave both her and Thanos an extreme amount of depth that Marvel movies simply don’t see. Her relationship with Peter is also strong, but I just loved the back and forth she has with Thanos, as it shows the differences in viewpoints while also helping build the story.
I can’t name every character I loved, because I’d be naming the entire cast. Tom Holland as Spider-Man continues to be amazing. Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner is funny without getting too annoying, and Dave Bautista as Drax gets funnier with every film. The characters are what made the MCU such a delight, and “Infinity War” just continues that trend.
“Infinity War” had a seemingly impossible task to accomplish: combine every single character that millions of fans love into one movie, while also making a cohesive storyline that doesn’t feel like a jumbled mess. Somehow, with every expectation possible weighing it down, the movie pulls through on the plot in every way imaginable.
Starting off with Thanos killing Loki was a great movie to show just how terrifying the main villain of the film is, while at the same time eliminating the easy choice for the best villain alive in the MCU. The scene has some great quips, but is above all a great character-building moment.
Tony Stark and Doctor Strange defending New York with Spider-Man has great pieces of comedy and drama as well, as does nearly every scene from start to finish. Where “Infinity War” again separates itself from other MCU efforts is with its ability to be deadly serious when it needs to be.
Again, the Gamora flashback is a masterpiece scene, and so is the Thanos fight on Titan, and that is for countless reasons. Thanos shows more anguish and pain when Mantis is holding him back, which also allows Peter to grow further. Add that with Thanos and Strange’s back and forth on why they are doing what they do to Stark’s near death, and the scene is one of the darkest moments in the franchise’s history. And, even within all of that, there are great moments of comedic relief and beautiful action set pieces.
Anthony and Joe Russo have perfected the MCU style of action in “Winter Soldier” and “Civil War,” and with “Infinity War,” they continued that trend. Besides the fight on Titan, the battle with Scarlet Witch and Vision for the first time is outstanding, as is the entire sequence in Wakanda. Specifically, the moment when Thor and Rocket come down for the first time gave me all the fan boy goosebumps I could ever want, as it is visually stunning and exceptional in scope.
The opening New York fight is great as well, and they are all great because they all felt so different in stakes and in tone. Yes, most of them have bits of humor and a large amount of stakes, but, as the film progresses, you can feel the intensity build with each proceeding fight.
The Squidward line. Drax standing there for “an hour.” “Why’s Gamora?” The “Footloose” conversation. “I am Groot,” “I am Steve Rogers.” The “nut sack” of a chin. There are so many absolutely phenomenal one-liners exchanged between the characters, and often right in the midst of an intense fight. Marvel just knows how to blend in its comedy, and the formula works yet again thanks in part to terrific delivery from all the characters.
Marvel has always found ways to make great action sequences. They have always found a way to include strong characters. They have always infused comedy seamlessly among everything else. What they have not always done is make a villain that is memorable the moment you leave the theater.
Thanos changes that, and in a monstrous way.
I wasn’t able to say it quite yet after leaving the theater on opening night, but now I feel confident stating this: Thanos is without a doubt the best Marvel villain of all-time, maybe the best villain in a superhero movie ever aside from the untouchable Joker performance by Heath Ledger.
Josh Brolin just encapsulates everything that makes a villain amazing, from the look to the amount of fear he causes to the layers of development he is given. There is nothing one-dimensional about Thanos as a character: he is incredibly layered and consistently surprises with just how far he will go and just how much he cares about the universe. This is a villain with purpose, a villain that has a goal, a villain who doesn’t see himself as a villain, and a villain that was absolutely necessary to make “Infinity War” work. And man, did it work.
Thanos struck fear into every scene he was in, as he ruthlessly stabbed Tony Stark, killed Loki, nearly killed Thor, killed his own daughter and wiped out half of the universe, but he did it all because he thought what he was doing was right, and he did it with respect to the many that tried to stop him. Some of my favorite moments in the film were when Thanos said “I like you, Peter,” or “I hope they remember you” to Tony, because it shows just how deep the character of this mega villain truly goes.
“Infinity War” would have been a spectacular movie with the traditional ending of the Avengers saving the day, but then the Russo brothers took it to a whole new level by having the audacity to let Thanos win.
The moments leading up to the conclusion were outstanding to begin with, Scarlet Witch destroying Vision, then Thanos reversing time was an amazing little moment. Then, Thor comes in and appears to save the day, and that ending would have been epic enough, but to go there, to make that movie and have Thanos say “you should have aimed for the head” is beyond masterful: it’s downright unforgettable. That choice will make “Infinity War” remembered for pulling off the most epic of films imaginable.
Then, as Twitter memes will tell you, half of the Avengers, and the people in the universe, disappear into nothing. I can’t say thoughts on the ones who disappeared yet, as it seems like a calculated move to have all of the OG Avengers still around, so I expect my opinion on that to change in a year when part two is released.
The disappearing scene is great, but the better moment for me, possibly my favorite scene in the film, is the vision that Thanos has with baby Gamora. It’s visually gorgeous, but the minimal dialogue about if it was worth it and what Thanos had to give up in order to achieve his dream is chilling, more than any number of amazing fight scenes that Marvel has given us to this point.
“Avengers: Infinity War” is my second favorite Marvel movie, right there behind “Captain America: Civil War,” and only by a razor-thin margin. “Infinity War” has the better villain and is the darker film, but what “Civil War” accomplishes with its back-and-forth viewpoints and character changes gives it the slight advantage for me. Still, “Infinity War” is still continuously in my mind weeks later for a reason, and it’s because it is a damn good movie, and is one that needs to be appreciated for its many many successes.