Here we are.
Ten long years. Since the very first time that Nick Fury uttered the words ‘ Avengers Initiative’. Since Iron Man was released and set off a new wave of comic fever. Since Marvel made it mandatory for everyone to stay in their seats until the cinema attendants assured you that there was nothing else left to watch. And boy, was it a lot to take in.
To catch you up on what’s happening, here’s the quick rundown. Thanos, after years of delegating his galaxy conquering plan, finally got up from his uncomfortable looking chair and set about his quest to forever change the universe. In his way are the plucky underdogs (Guardians of The Galaxy), a split world police team (Avengers), a literal thunder god (Thor), an angry green monster (Hulk), and a whole lotta characters that you’ll remember from the past MCU offerings trying to stop the purple funny chinned villain. What transpires is quite an event.
As #ThanosDemandsYourSilence, I shall post my spoiler alert right now. If you dare, read ahead – or if you just don’t care.
Going into this, expectations were both high and low. This being Marvel, I expected the villain to be half-baked, excessive bathos, non-existent stakes and a generally good time regardless. Avengers: Infinity War (A:IF) delivered something else.
The Russo brothers pulled out all the stops for this one and ever since their first project (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), I knew this would be safe in their hands. Clocking in at well over two and a half hours, it was always going be to a meticulous balancing act and having seen all the action that takes place it was necessary. The CGI is immensely impressive and since 70% of the film takes place off-planet, it had to be. From the bleak and hauntingly beautiful landscape of Vormir to the desolate ruins of Titan, it mirrors the narrative’s dark depths yet seen in Marvel’s usual upbeat colour palette.
Since just about every single character shows up for the final battle in one form or another, their character arcs don’t get much individual focus. Cap (looking like Mr Steal-Yo-Girl) together with Romanoff and Falcon lead the charge wherever they are but are similarly backed in earnest by other heavy hitters like T’Challa and the Dora Milaje. Iron Man, Doctor Strange -eerily similar by the way, those two – and Spidey end up off-world after battling one Ebony Maw, one-third of the highly formidable and terrifying Black Order – Thanos’ personal mercenary hit squad. Vision and Maximoff have seemingly developed a more than passing interest in each other but his mind stone signalling Thanos’ coming adds in the time-constrained needed love story. Though it does feel shoehorned, never mind the pair nailing their roles (hehe).
Of all the characters though, the inarguable standout is Thor, God of Thunder. Having been the star of the weakest franchise in the MCU and being reduced to comedic relief, it was really disappointing especially if you’ve read the comics. He’s a god for chrissakes – [i’ll high five the pun, thank you]. Ever since Ragnarok though, something happened and he got his mojo. Combining his genuinely comedic timing and sheer colossal might ended up giving birth to the most awe-inspiring moment of the whole film. That and another moment that even I won’t spoil. His moment with Rocket Racoon also injected some real heavy moments that had no business being in a comic book movie. I ended up thinking at some point I’d watch a buddy cop one shot with those two. They are that good together.
All this wouldn’t be possible if the big baddie was not worth it. Thanos is an actual big baddie. Despite sporting a questionable chin resembling certain body parts, he isn’t relegated to one dimension city. His background and mad ambitions are explained as well as his surprisingly deep connection to Gamora and the location of that pesky Soul Stone. Cut from roughly the same fabric as Killmonger only on a cosmic scale (and a bigger size), he makes easy work of most of our beloved heroes and despite a moment or two where dumb decisions become costly (looking at you Quill), he cuts through most of the temporary roadblocks like butter. Not exactly following the comic page by page but the idea is still carried over in essence. Oh yeah, Iron Man’s new nano suit is pretty dope too.
The last battle, though epic, has some familiar elements that aren’t all that good. The Halo-esque horde that is released feels very Chitauri-like. At some point, you’ll feel a bit of deja vu start to creep. Thankfully, it takes place in Wakanda and M’Baku sets your fears aside as they knock the ever living shit outta the endless wave of mindless creatures. It is around this point that the question of stakes comes back around. It is the best and worst thing about A:IW. It’s a problem that Marvel generally set up and so it’s pretty hard to get over. The problem of always reviving characters really places into question the legitimacy of the myriad deaths that will take place [I really hope you’ve watched this movie if you’re reading this far]. You will end up shocked, overtly curious, disappointed and mad at the same time. As someone aptly put it, you’re gonna be mad because it’s good and not bad. All because for the first time, you will ask the very real question: What the hell?
If you’re a Marvel fan, you’re in for a treat. If you’re a DC die hard, you’re gonna be conflicted. If you just walked in outta nowhere, well enjoy the oohs and aahs from everyone (hoping you paid for your seat). If handled properly, this is a turning point for comic book movies everywhere, a watershed moment that could possibly avert the dreaded ‘comic fatigue’ boogeyman every studio exec is afraid of. For now, you will have to wait for a whole another year as you stew in your WTF-ness.