Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Genre: Superhero Running Time: 2 hrs. 36 min.

Release Date: April 27th, 2018 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo Actors: Josh Brolin, Tom Hiddleston, Chris Hemsworth, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Robert Downey Jr., Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch, Karen Gillan, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Chris Evans, Pom Klementieff, Sebastian Stan, Chadwick Boseman, Danai Gurira, Mark Ruffalo, Peter Dinklage, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle

 


 

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uperheroes from across time and space face the biggest threat of their lives when twisted tyrant Thanos (Josh Brolin) inches closer to carrying out his goal of galactic genocide. Requiring all six Infinity Stones – elemental crystals controlling different aspects of the universe – to execute his plan, Thanos confronts Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to retrieve the Space Stone from the Tesseract. As the maniacal despot sets a trap to uncover the resting place of the Soul Stone, he sends his most elite combatants, Proxima Midnight (Carrie Coon), Corvus Glaive (Michael James Shaw), Cull Obsidian (Terry Notary), and Ebony Maw (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor), to Earth to obtain the Time and Mind Stones. The stones’ protectors, Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Vision (Paul Bettany), won’t give up without a fight, however, and team up with the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and the warriors of Wakanda to stop the invasion. But even with the aid of dauntless heroes Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Captain America (Chris Evans), Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and more, will it be enough to halt the onslaught of an increasingly powerful madman hellbent on extermination?

There’s nothing new about Marvel’s money-raking formula, but as each new chapter comes along, the serialized story becomes more and more unwieldy. Loki and Thor start this one off in the middle of an adventure and in the midst of a continued crisis against Thanos. The backstory is so complex and detailed that it’s really only for hardcore fans; casual viewers will be as lost in this as if they walked into the eighth Harry Potter film without having seen the others. And, following along with all the previous entries, supernatural abilities remain hopelessly undefined, chiefly with the “Children of Thanos” (sporting catchy yet unspoken names), who possess such unmatchable powers that they hardly need Thanos or his stones. When the plot requires an object to hunt down, as the means to some contrived end, one presents itself; and when that object is a little too easy to acquire, opposition materializes on the spot. Indiana Jones would have been pleased that, in Marvel’s universe, ancient relics are never unguarded or free of booby-traps.

“The fate of the universe is at stake.” Fortunately, Marvel has virtually mastered the art of deflecting sentimental moments with biting sarcasm and smacking insults. In a perpetual game of oneupmanship, the Avengers and company trade barbs, creating plenty of opportunities to alleviate the dourness of tragedies. Likewise, the characters have a way of poking fun at the cosmos they inhabit, never taking their predicaments too seriously; there’s always time for a witticism, even during attacks or infighting – or for a snarky epitaph when an enemy is dispatched. Self-reflexive humor works well here (just a notch or two down from the excessive comedy of “Thor: Ragnarok”), especially as the suspension of disbelief grows ever greater, particularly as countless franchises cross paths.

It’s undeniably exciting to see so many different superheroes occupy the same space; many iconic characters now work together (along with a few forgettable, masked faces), when before they seemed as if worlds apart. Curiously, however, there’s a bit of a rift, considering how vastly incongruous the likes of space-opera-soldiers are with, say, a Norse god. It’s perhaps comparable to the inhabitants of “Star Wars” stumbling onto the yellow brick road in “The Wizard of Oz.” And the villain here is the most unfitting and dispensable, acting mercilessly simply because the story calls for an evil antagonist; having inexplicable powers, simply because the story needs an entity that can stay competitive against the heroes; and remaining unwilling to teleport to the top of a mountain, simply because it’s more dramatic to make the hike on foot. Apparently, he’s too formidable, like the perfect amount of Kryptonite for Superman, as Dr. Strange confirms that the Avengers’ chances of beating him are about 14 million to 1.

Ultimately, the film is focused on epic clashes between hordes of mindless monsters and outnumbered idols, engaging in intensely destructive showdowns obscured by bolts of electricity and furors of CG-augmented movement. Scenery is demolished and noble champions are killed, hoping to keep fans enthralled by all of the mind-numbing devastation. It’s quite the visual spectacle, layered with welcome comedic interludes, but it’s still, predictably, just one more piece of a larger picture. And this might be the most unsatisfyingly irresolute episode of the bunch. But since Howard the Duck doesn’t appear to have perished in the chaos, maybe the galaxy will still turn out okay.

– The Massie Twins

  • 6/10