“Thanos demands your silence.” – The Russo Brothers
In my AGE OF ULTRON review I stated how MCU’s landscape had drastically changed. Compared to now, that’s way beyond an understatement. In that same review I mentioned how there would come a time when Marvel story-lines would get bigger, bolder, and more inclusive of its characters, there wouldn’t be a screen big enough to display all of them. And… compared to now, that too is way beyond an understatement. Fact is, so much has happened since May, 2008 when Marvel Studios began its journey with the release of IRON MAN. The film was a huge hit with fans and critics, and would serve for years as the stepping-stone from which Marvel Studios would build an empire that’s produced many of the top-grossing films of all time. In the 10 years since the release of IRON MAN, Marvel Studios has opened a record-breaking 18 films at #1, with 5 grossing over a billion dollars, and a collective total of over 13 billion globally.
INFINITY WAR has been the underlying lead-up. All the hoopla about the Infinity Stones has been the common denominator behind everything we’ve enjoyably endured during the last decade. Assembling the greatest ensemble of Super Heroes was the job of directors Anthony and Joe Russo, who were tapped by Marvel Studios’ President, Kevin Feige, to tackle the studio’s biggest masterpiece to date. Assembling a team that includes members from every MCU franchise, the Russo’s INFINITY WAR exposes the Avengers and their allies having to sacrifice like they never have before to defeat the powerful Thanos (Josh Brolin) before his intense devastation puts an end to the universe, ultimately leading to the deadliest throw-down of all time.
That said… There aren’t enough words to describe the spectacle INFINITY WAR turned out to be. Truthfully, I wasn’t prepared for it. Visceral and brainy, most of the intensity is generated and carried out by the story’s villain. A fully-developed villain with method to his madness. A villain that till the release of this film has only been quickly touched upon in prior films. A lot more menacing than Ultron and Loki together, Thanos’ overall agenda grants this Avengers film the ability to be three times darker in terms of tone and narrative compared to its predecessors.
The weight of the last 10 years is felt. With INFINITY WAR, The Russo’s execution is one of which gives you A LOT to devour and digest as it boils down to its climactic battle. Not only does it follow up with prior films (hope you’ve been paying attention), it answers a couple of questions. From one scenario to the next, the film itself can be a bit overwhelming. (Just a bit!) But these scenarios pay off well. Once in gear, it’s an epic battle between good and evil with an edgier build-up to an even BIGGER showdown for next year’s (untitled) Avengers film. Giving us an ending of which I’m sure will have many feeling upset, INFINITY WAR is the heaviest Marvel Studios film to date.
The lighter side of all the darkness stems from the addition of the Guardians (Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Pom Klementieff, and the voices of Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper), Spider-man (Tom Holland), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), and Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). Watching these characters interact for the first time is so much fun. We’ve grown accustomed to watching Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) and Co. (Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, and Don Cheadle). However, watching the interactions among inter-galactic heroes leads to inevitable jokes, mouth-off jargon, and measuring of each other’s abilities. But of course, Thanos is the driving force that makes these Super Heroes put aside pride and work side-by-side.
INFINITY WAR is a film that will need more than one viewing. It’s got it all: laughter, great action-sequences, outrageous battles, unforeseen twists, odd parings, courageous acts, and sadly… death! Overall, it’s a piece with a lot of heart, attitude, and a radical push towards a new phase. And… Oh, yeah… Stick around for Marvel’s ever-so-famous post-credit scene. It’s going to be a long year in anticipation to the fourth Avengers installment. This one hasn’t been released (yet) and already the fourth has started a buzz. With a fierce phenomenon like BLACK PANTHER and harsh, dark, spectacle to follow with INFINITY WAR, ANT-MAN AND THE WASP needs to sting its audience real, real hard!
Grade: A | Genre: Sci-Fi, Action-Adventure | Rated: PG-13 | Run Time: 2:30
Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Tom Hiddleston, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Chris Pratt, Idris Elba, Danai Gurira, Benedict Wong, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel (voice), Bradley Cooper (voice) Gwyneth Paltrow, Benicio del Toro, and Josh Brolin
Directed by: The Russo Brothers (Anthony and Joe)