*Firstly – a disclaimer. I try to avoid any spoilers, and I have here. But please, if you are worried, then don’t read this until you’ve seen the film incase I’ve inferred a plot point inadvertanlty*
10 years on from the initial launch of the MCU with 2008’s Iron Man, the gigantic event movie of Avengers : Infinity War has now landed in cinema. Already smashing box office records with a level of destruction appropriate for the film, the film represents a coming together of a number of film superheroes, plots and worlds, with a spectacular outcome.
Most people that will be interested in this review will now have a good idea of the setup of the film, but in summary. Thanos (Josh Brolin) is on a quest to gather together the 6 ‘Infinity Stones’. The stone, created at the very birth of the universe, each hold separate powers and if held by an individual, it would grant them near unstoppable power.
These stones have been dotted through the preceding 18 films and now Thanos’ mission represents the culmination of a huge back catalogue of story telling. Their locations are now spread across the universe, with two known to be on Earth (in the form of Doctor Strange’s time stone and Vision’s mind stone).
Of course, ready to try and prevent him is the traditional Avengers, alongside newer heroes such as Black Panther, Spiderman, and Doctor Strange. Then throw the Guardians of the Galaxy into the mix, and you begin to get just a sense of the scale of the film.
And it works. That’s the remarkable thing about this film. What feels like a cinematic equivalent of a bar bet (How many beer mats can you flip? / How many coins can you catch from your elbow? / How many superheroes can you get in one film and still hold it all together?) is well structured, paced and you feel a sense of fair balance across the characters.
Thanos predictably, given the lack of background compared to the other characters, gets a lot of screen time but what stood out for me is the quality of the Brolin’s performance cutting through the CGI and a stark (intentional pun) reminder of how far Steppenwolf was from the mark in Justice League.
And for a film that could easily lose itself in a swirl of action sequences and switching between characters, actually also holds a theme and narrative throughout. The film plays out with a theme of whether you should trade one life to save many – which is echoed through a number of situations. That said though, even with this, I can’t say I enjoyed it as much as some of the earlier set up films (Iron Man, Captain America), or even more recently Black Panther with more focussed stories.
My only issues with the film were weighted right towards to the end (here’s where I’m very careful with my language), and only in the sense of whether the real jeopardy is lost based on the actual end. But that warrants more detail and now’s not the time.
The movie brings home the scale of the achievement of the 10 years of the MCU, and does so in a great spectacle of a film. A wonderful, ludicrous (in an affectionate way), spectacle.