TL;DR
  • A phenomenal achievement – 10 years of films leading up to this has been worth it
  • Simple story allowing so much to be packed in
  • Infinity Stones are more than just dull McGuffins
  • A wildly different story and structure to most superhero films
  • Structure more like a Game of Thrones episode – this works to its benefit
  • The ending is bold and brave – a real strength of the film as a whole
  • All characters are fantastic – their interaction is the greatest joy of the movie
  • No one character hogs the film – everyone gets their fair share of screen-time
  • Thanos is the greatest Marvel villain so far
  • Absolutely hilarious and very quotable
  • Sublime, varied and non-stop action that never feels like too much
  • Sets up Avengers 4 very well
  • The greatest Marvel film yet

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Wow. Just wow. For a film that generates so much hype in the months running up to its release, it’s incredible when it not only meets expectations, but exceeds them to the point where even more hype is garnered. There are so many words to describe Marvel’s latest – emotional, epic, fun, stressful, scary, hilarious, incredible. In about 2 and a half hours you will laugh, you will cry and you will cheer. It’s a phenomenal achievement, the biggest marvel of Marvel yet, and a huge round of applause is warranted to everyone involved in the film. You don’t need to be a fan to love this film.

A culmination of 18 films so far, Infinity War is what Marvel has been leading up to. All characters from previous films come together to stop Thanos on his quest. Determined to destroy half the universe, Thanos (Josh Brolin) is intent on finding the six Infinity Stones to control the universe and alter it as he sees fit. This means that Earth’s mightiest heroes [Tony Stark/ Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Bruce Banner/ Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Steve Rogers/ Captain America (Chris Evans), Natasha Romanoff/ Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), James Rhodes/ War Machine (Don Cheadle), Dr Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Wong (Benedict Wong), Peter Parker/ Spider-Man (Tom Holland), T’Challa/ Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Wanda Maximoff/ Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Sam Wilson/ Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Vision (Paul Bettany), Okoye (Danai Gurira), Bucky Barnes/ Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan)] have to team up with new friends the Guardians of the Galaxy [Star Lord/ Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), Groot (Vin Diesel), Nebula (Karen Gillan), Mantis (Pom Klementieff)] if there’s any chance of saving the universe. The characters meet, bond and fight together in an effort to stop Thanos and protect the Infinity Stones.

It’s a very simple story without lots of twists and turns, making it very easy to follow – that is, provided you’ve seen all (or at least most) of the films so far. For those who have been at least casually following this monumental cinematic series, everything will make sense and the characters are already known. By letting the previous films set everything up, that allows Infinity War to pack so much more in the film and just get on with it from the word ‘go’. The ever-important Infinity Stones themselves are much more than simple McGuffins – the film makes the audience care about them, Thanos visibly becoming stronger with every one he collects. It’s not just as simple as Thanos collecting six stones, however. Instead this doesn’t follow the usual superhero story or structure, instead being utterly unpredictable, allowing the audience no respite or way to prepare for the madness that occurs. This is a very different type of superhero film, Marvel able to break away from the mould. This is a strength of the film and they absolutely do not shy away from it. This is best seen in the ending which will go down in history, along with the likes of The Italian Job. It’s a bold, brave finale – in a way I would have preferred a slightly more rounded end, but the film is too daring for that, instead setting things up for Avengers 4 perfectly (even in the post-credits scene).

Considering there are over 30 characters the audience will recognise, the directors and writers have done an excellent job of balancing the characters, all seen through the structure of the film itself. Structured more like an episode of Game of Thrones, we follow different groups of characters as the climax slowly comes to a head. One moment we’ll be with Iron Man, Dr Strange and Spider-Man, the next we’re journeying across the galaxy with Thor and the Guardians, and next we find ourselves with Cap, Falcon and Black Widow. No character seems particularly side-lined or unimportant and the structure allows for each and every character to make a solid contribution and get their fair share of screen-time.

WhereasAge of Ultron had more of an emphasis on story rather than characters, Infinity War is the complete opposite, the characters coming together instead being the main point of the film itself. It’s a relief then that, besides all characters having a fair amount of time, they are all fantastic and an absolute joy to see all together in one film, every group seeping excellent chemistry. It never feels forced or gimmicky, but instead authentic and natural to see them all team up and work together. It also emphasises how perfectly cast all the characters have been over the years, able to hold their own and interact with everyone else so brilliantly. With so many characters, a film like this shouldn’t work, but incredibly it does and is all the better for it. None of the groups are ever the default boring one (unlike Frodo and Sam in Lord of the Rings), but they are all lovable characters with exciting plot lines. On top of that they’re all hilarious. As ever, Drax might be the funniest; but there are jokes from Stark, Strange, Quill, Groot, Rogers, Okoye… the list is endless. In a film with so much heart and action, it’s amazing they managed to fit in so much comedy. It’s beginning to sound like a cliché, but this is absolutely the funniest Marvel film yet – certainly funnier than the majority of “comedies” that come out these days. Even the new character Eitri played by Game of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage gets his share of laughs.

The biggest surprise with regards to characters however is Thanos. While his cohort may be formidable yet fairly bland (with the exception of the brutally sinister and downright scary Ebony Maw, played by Tom Vaughan-Lawlor), Infinity War’s central villain Thanos is an exceptional antagonist, brilliantly played by Josh Brolin. As terrifying and intimidating as the monstrous purple alien may be, there is a quiet, emotional side to him. Unlike many villains, he’s not looking for power for the sake of power. There’s an element of humanity to him and he genuinely believes that what he’s doing is for the good of the universe. This is not an antagonist to add to the ever-growing annals of forgettable villains – Thanos is the formidable foe we needed and wanted. No longer will Loki be the best Marvel bad guy by default. Will he go down as the best superhero villain since the Joker?

Of course it’s not all laughs and chasing stones. As expected in a film like this there’s action – lots of action. It’s appropriate that the word ‘war’ appears in the title since this is by far the most action-packed Marvel film we’ve seen. Despite the nigh-on non-stop action, it never gets boring or seems like too much. With a rich plethora of characters comes a wide variety of action and fighting styles. No two characters fight in the same way and so the action always seems fresh. It’s a pleasure seeing all these characters we have grown to love come together and fight with one another. The CGI and fight choreographing is incredible and the battle scenes are beautifully filmed. Definitely worthwhile being seen in IMAX!

The biggest downside is having to wait a year to find out what happens next, with no clues in the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp or Captain Marvel in the interim (since they’re set before the events of this film). Still, if the next Avengers film is anything like Infinity War we’re in for another incredible treat. With terrific character interaction, hilarious comedy, sublime action and a shocking ending that will keep you awake at night – it’s all perfect. The 10 years Marvel has spent leading up to this has been absolutely worth it. A splendid and monumental achievement. All hail Marvel – but beware, Thanos will return…

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