Some spoilers ahead.
This review is going to be biased. That’s not because of the old DC vs Marvel debate, I will watch either because I only care about the quality of the final product and not the brand. I believe the movie market is saturated with the superhero genre. Everything is an adaptation nowadays. I gravitate between two schools of thought: giving all the moviegoers the best experience possible and having a firm grip on the core of the source material. Both should really be possible if the source material has any quality to it. Theory meets practice as Avengers: Infinity War embodies the comic book crossover.
Directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo were tasked with a rather delicate and powerful task. After all the years of setting up the MCU, the last movies had already hinted at the first overwhelming crossover arc, a big battle with everything and everyone on it. Everyone. That’s the biggest challenge when you do a crossover. Is everyone going to have their moment? Sorta. Kinda. I believe the compromise was a positive one. You have standout performances, decent appearances, cameos and background stuff. You can’t have everyone all of time. It’s already cluttered enough on that poster.
The central figure is Thanos. You couldn’t really have it another way, and I think Thanos worked. Josh Brolin gave this big hulking beast power and intensity along with pathos and purpose. He’s not a good guy turned bad. He’s convinced of his role in the universe and a rather terminal, nihilistic philosophy about a crowded universe with finite resources. His relationship with Gamora is only explored briefly but intensely.
Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth, has a pivotal role as the broken down hero that has lost everyone and everythin. Rather that staying a victim, he pragmatically puts his life on the line to gain back a weapon that will allow him to slay Thanos. You really see a sort of hero’s journey for him along the film.
Gamora is still trying to free herself and the universe from her father. Zoe Saldana does her best with the brief time she’s got and we get short flashbacks to her meeting Thanos in the past. I loved these because there’s no transition or reverberating voices or fadeouts. We simply get these scenes and everyone is left to interpret we’re watching a memory, although we can’t really say if it’s Thanos’ or Gamora’s. Karen Gillian makes a few but poignant appearances as Nebula, but they’re rather short on screen time.
Elizabeth Olsen gets to show a lot more depth this time playing Wanda Maximoff aka The Scarlet Witch. You might argue that Paul Bettany as Vision would be more central as the holder of the Mindstone but I disagree – he’s the Macguffin of the last third of the film. Wanda must also fight the internal conflict of destroying the Mindstone so that Thanos won’t have it knowing that could destroy Vision, whom she loves.
Not everyone will agree, but I believe that’s the main showcase or for me the characters who stood out. Of course there’s more central players. Tony Stark (Robert Downy Jr) will still try to control everything. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) will actually bring everyone together (I guess I should assemble) for the huge confrontation in the final act. Doctor Strange does get to put up a huge fight.
Comedy wise, we get Chris Pratt doing one of his more nuanced performances as Star-Lord. Playing up the insecure and jealous factor is fun for a while, but I did start to find him out of place by the second act. Tom Holland as Spiderman was more consistently witty as he often voiced the feelings of the entire audience. That line about not remembering everyone’s names was killer.
There’s of course a smattering of almost every other hero in the MCU, but I’ll leave the cameos for you to find. One can also argue that Wakanda does play a large role in the third act. The plot is essentially Thanos. The strengths of the movie is its casting, and showcasing each superhero property. Although we get a climatic ending, we don’t get a full resolution. This is obviously a part one.
Unless you’re interested in superheroes, it’s hard to recommend this one. It is highly entertaining and most of the dialogue is well written. It also has a set of requirements for the moviegoer since you need have an investment in previous movies set in the MCU before you can get interested in this one. So, if you have been following the developments of other Marvel movies, this one is sure to be the one to watch as everyone’s story changes with this one. It doesn’t work as well as a standalone movie if you don’t care beforehand, which means you can’t watch this first.
In conclusion, if you have been watching some Marvel movies before this one and you don’t mind going further, you’re sure to enjoy this one. If you’re into the superhero genre and at least know a few of these names, you should also find it entertaining. On the other hand, if you’re expecting a full encompassing storyline you might be disappointed. This is an insider movie, and as such it can even be a great one but think of it as a series finale. It’s meant to be the ending for an arc before a new one starts.
That will do for now.