5 out of 5
I believe it was President Abraham Lincoln who said, “10 years ago and 18 films ago, Marvel Studios brought forth in theaters, a new cinematic universe, conceived in creativity, and dedicated to the proposition that movies should be fun and entertaining, and make lots of money…” Or something like that. Honest Abe, when discussing the launch of “Avengers: Infinity War,” in this historical address would go onto to say that this was one of his favorite movies in the Marvel Universe, and that it has the power to unite our divided country — at the box office.
But I’m sure you’ve read his review already, or heard the speech, so without belaboring his eloquent words, I’ll just go forth from this point henceforth with my own thoughts on this gigantic movie. Sorry…for just a second there — I started talking like it was the 1800’s.
Twenty-two major characters, from 18 different movies, over 10 years, all pointing to one moment and two movies…The first chapter ”Avengers: Infinity War” is here, with the yet to be named “Avengers 4” upcoming. The big questions going in were: Could it be done? Would it all be worth the wait? Would it be too messy with so many characters and storylines? And would Thanos’ full appearance on screen be the payout we’ve all been waiting for? I’ll be honest I had my doubts, but those were erased very early on in this movie. The film gets out of the gates fast, and never really lets up, until the end when you’re running out of breath and then asked to digest what Marvel has been hinting all along at what would be a troubling and shocking end. By now, if you’ve followed the previous films, you know they have all pointed to the ultimate villain, Thanos, and his pursuit of the infinity stones in order to utilize their power to rule the universe. The infinity stones haven’t always been at the forefront of all of the movies — but they are usually weaved into the story in some way, with Thanos’ very large shadow lurking just beyond. What they didn’t tell you was what Thanos’ real motivation behind possessing the Infinity Stones was. Does he want to be all powerful? Yes. Does he want to be the One who makes decisions on who lives and who dies? Yes. But the reasoning behind it is a bit of a curve ball that serves his character well, and makes him more than just a one-dimensional bad guy. He has real thought behind his motives. He’s not just a blood thirsty, power driven, vengeful evil character. He doesn’t run around screaming and threatening everyone — he comes across as calm and doing what he feels he must do. If Killmonger was a great antagonist in “Black Panther,” because of his sincere belief in what he was doing, then Thanos surpasses that character with more depth and reasoning — even if he’s CGI.
Just as impressive as Thanos is in this movie, is the way Marvel weaves all of their major characters together in several storylines that never feel like you’re being fed too much. The pacing of the film is very well done — when one storyline hits it’s natural breaking point, the next one is introduced and so on. Even better is the mixing of characters within the various stories. The chemistry is just about perfect with each character able to play to their best attributes with the other “heroes” in the scenes, allowing for equal parts darkness and humor mixed in — as Marvel has done so well over the years. It all just works.
I would not be surprised at all if this movie goes on to destroy all box office records both domestically and internationally. The buildup has been that big, and the movie — I believe — is that good. There is so much to digest, and so much to potentially need to see again just to understand it all — that people will go see this film over and over again, for the entertainment sure, but also just to take it all in again in an effort to look for any clues as to what might happen next. The movie is not perfect of course. There are times when the CGI on Thanos is sort of lacking — not in his face so much, or in the action scenes — but in the calmer parts of the story, for instance when he’s just walking. It just looked like those parts weren’t quite given the attention to detail as the bigger plot points. And the movie is long, clocking in at 2 hours and 29 minutes — but it feels like it’s longer. Not necessarily in a bad way — it’s just there is so much story to process, and so many different threads happening at the same time that it is hard to keep up with at times. When it comes to the climax though, it all ties together nicely with nearly everyone in the same place at the same time, fighting to the end, and what an end it is. People are going to leave the theater thinking, “What happens next? What did I just see?” and “When is the next chapter?”
The second part of the story is scheduled for release just a year from now — but that is going to feel like 10 years as everyone seeks answers and begins to flood the internet with theories. I say for now, just enjoy the ride that is “Avengers: Infinity War,” and when the next one is in theaters — let’s just hope we get a movie that is worthy of chapter one.