Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Review #1,565






THE SCOOP
Director:  Anthony & Joe Russo
Cast:  Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Tom Hiddleston, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Idris Elba, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Peter Dinklage, Danai Gurira, Pom Klementieff, Gwyneth Paltrow, Benicio Del Toro,
Plot:  The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.

Genre:  Action / Sci-Fi / Fantasy
Awards:  -
Runtime:  149 mins
Rating:  PG13 (passed clean) for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, language and some crude references
Distributor:  Walt Disney Studios

IN RETROSPECT (Spoilers: NO)
“You're strong... but I could snap my fingers... and you'd all cease to exist.”

A juggling act of unprecedented proportions, Avengers: Infinity War is—and let this sink in—the third ‘Avengers’ movie.  It’s one thing to make three movies centering on a superhero, but another thing altogether to make three movies with numerous recurring superheroes at its center.  Some might say movies like the ‘X-Men’ franchises have done it already, but it is easy to miss the point.  There is nothing that exists in cinema that bears resemblance, at least in intent, if not in execution, to Infinity War.  

With a build-up worth ten years of a moviegoer’s life (I was still doing my National Service when Iron Man came out), the jumbo-size superhero mashup blockbuster is the first part of the culmination of three phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).  There will be a fourth ‘Avengers’ movie in 2019, an excruciatingly long wait for those who need closure to the cliff-hanger that is the climax of Infinity War.  It is a strange if fascinating coda to experience in a mainstream blockbuster—after being hammered left-right-center by more than two hours of chaotic action, the contrasting stillness is numbing, almost deceivingly blissful, like after a wisdom tooth extraction.

Avengers: Infinity War could have been called ‘Thanos’ and it would have worked perfectly, though that would have been a marketing suicide.  The purple-faced villain, played with astonishing restraint by Josh Brolin to avoid caricaturisation, is an eccentric, omnipresent megalomaniac whose dream is to get all the infinity stones on his gauntlet so that he could wipe out half of the universe, an action he deems merciful.  The Avengers, as well as the folks from Guardians of the Galaxy combine forces to try to stop him.  Along the way, they take jabs at each other, in what has been a long-running signature of the MCU.  

Under the tried-and-tested hands of Anthony and Joe Russo (who did Captain America: Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War), whose direction here is workmanlike rather than visionary or distinctive, Infinity War boasts pockets of action scenes sprinklered throughout, and larger, more ambitious sequences that are befitting of the term ‘war’.  Ultimately, despite its heft, plus one could sometimes feel its running time, the movie is never unwieldly, nor does it feel like it will implode.  I think from this perspective, and because there is nothing else to compare it to (except for other MCU movies), Infinity War can be judged a reasonable success, and when the dust settles, it will bag at least US$2 billion in worldwide gross to prove it.   

Verdict:  The jumbo-size superhero mashup blockbuster we have been waiting for—chaotic and mind-numbing if also largely satisfying.

GRADE: A-







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