Starting with a Punch
I finally managed to see Infinity War this week and to my surprise it was actually pretty good. Now I’ve not really been a fan of the majority of the Marvel movies. I think they’re incredibly mediocre, trying to cater to a very unimaginative audience. So it was with great delight that this film slapped me right in the face trying to prove me wrong.
I felt the action sequences were good, sometimes a bit too fast, the character projection was on top form and the story overall held up until the end. All of these mechanisms built up to a very satisfying experience. While there were several points throughout the film which left a bad taste in my mouth, which I’ll get onto later, the overarching impact of the events were brilliant.
Now to really go into the nitty gritty details of the film there have to be spoilers so here’s your warning.
Thanos: Infinity war
Infinity War is very much Thanos’ film. The bogeyman haunting the MCU for the past 10 years. Thanos had no character or clear purpose as to why we should care about him, finally makes his entrance. And what an entrance it was.
Right off the bat Infinity War holds no punches in displaying the power of this character and how there could be very real consequences to his character coming forward. Marvel accomplished this Herculean task within the first five minutes in possibly the best way possible; undermining a long running joke of the line “we have a Hulk”.
Audiences who have been dragged to several MCU entries will recognise this line and have come to expect the Hulk beating the everlasting shit out of something and winning. Not this time. After these lines are spoken by Loki, who finally gets to experience that confidence for once, the Hulk takes on Thanos in an epic little beat down. To which the service was swiftly repaid 10 times over. By defeating Hulk within the first few minutes shows that for once the Marvel heroes are outmatched. It also means that there won’t be a cheap win at the end of the film.
Thanos’ power is further sprinkled throughout Infinity War. After defeating the Hulk Thanos makes quick work of Heimdall and then Loki. Though Loki’s died so many times the impact was lost. Later on there are powerful, curated, moments to display his sheer will.
One of these comes at the midpoint when Thanos realises he has to murder his adoptive daughter, Gamorra, in order to receive one of the infinity stones. He does so, but the audience is shown that he actually does care about her and he truly believes in what he’s doing. This is a breath of fresh air from the other films as it helps develop Thanos to be more than a 2D projection of evil.
The final and most harrowing display of power is right at the end. Once Thanos has filled the Infinity Gauntlet with all the stones he merely walks through all of the Avengers. Thanos tosses them aside as if they were insects.
During this scene we see Thor hurtle down and throw his axe into Thanos, giving the expectation that he is now defeated. This is usually where a line of comic relief would be quipped so the audience doesn’t actually have to feel anything negative for once, but no. To our surprise Thanos makes a quip then clicks his fingers, completing his mission. Following this people start disintegrating into ash and vanishing.
Hello Darkness My Old Friend
The montage of people disappearing was beautifully executed and brilliantly performed. What were once plucky characters where nothing could really affect their humour, now act more human than ever. For once during this cinematic universe the creators made a smart decision, of not featuring any God awful jokes while people are dying. The film keeps you in that moment of loss and defeat and doesn’t tear you away for a sense of relief.
A lot has to be said about the ending. It was a very bold move from a studio who has, to this point, been very scared of trying anything new. And it worked, really well. One of the most intimidating and mesmerising actions in Infinity War which put it above many other Marvel films was the complete lack of a monologue at the end. People are accustomed to the bad guy rambling on and on about his reasons, in this Thanos just does it.
The wiping out of so many characters was a great and surprising addition to the MCU. It allowed the antagonist to have weight to his actions. It also meant that, for once, the heroes actually had something to lose. And due to the execution of a plan without hesitation meant there were no cringey dance offs, no attempt at alleviation from the horror that is coming, and that was beautiful.
Disney used another new technique during Infinity War; dialling back exposition. With so many important characters on screen everyone was wondering how they’d make the feature feel smooth. By not focusing on the backstory and relationships of each individual they were able to pull this off.
In previous titles Marvel felt the need to refresh the audience on who each character is and why the audience should care. Infinity War does away with that formula and just lets the events unfold. There are a lot of character moments but none which drag the viewer out of the experience.
No movie is perfect, nor is this, but generally the movie far exceeded all expectations I had for it. I’m sure more things will bother me down the line. For the moment my main qualm was with the ill-placed comic relief.
There were a few really off putting jokes thrown in which really didn’t benefit the film. The one resonating most is a quip Black Panther’s general made about wanting a Starbucks in Wakanda. It was wrong on so many levels and not needed.
Another issue was with the CGI. While Thanos looked incredibly detailed there were his generals who looked awful. For a film of this magnitude and with the complexity of the effects they pulled off throughout the film it was a shame. But as the major issues with Infinity War were poorly written and timed jokes and a little bad CGI, then that’s a bloody good payoff.
It’ll be interesting to see where Infinity War leads the MCU. It’s unfortunate that many of the characters will be brought back. But, the fact that Disney even did this is good. It shows that they are willing to take risks. Hopefully this will mean future movies won’t play it as safe. Time will tell and hopefully some plot holes will be filled in Avengers 4. As for now I’m seriously impressed by the direction the film went in.