Note: No spoilers here.
“Evacuate the city! Engage all defenses! And get this man a shield!”
Avengers: Infinity War is an outstanding opus that takes several film and cultural elements to another level with memorable banter, epic team-ups, new weapons, important mentions, and engaging storylines.
This 156-minute superhero epic is the twentieth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), which is now in its 10th year after 2008’s Iron Man. Avengers: Infinity War exhilarates, surprises, and even shocks, but never bores.
Brothers Anthony and Joe Russo (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”) return to direct while Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely also return to write the screenplay. The filmmaking team deflects potentially graphic, gory elements, but effectively portrays the emotional results.
Audiences can predict some actions and character reactions, but filmmakers do a great job injecting genuine emotion into a high stakes plot with the enormous cast of approximately 30 main characters.
Repeated lines and many references from the 19 previous Marvel Studios’ films permeate Avengers: Infinity War, so first timers to the MCU should probably not let this film be there initial experience. MCU film veterans get a richer experience because they won’t know all the references, plotlines, and character arcs.
One particular character, voiced by Taika Waititi, was dearly missed at the beginning and the ever-changing accent of Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff, played by Elizabeth Olsen, distracted, but otherwise the characters and their actions satisfied. Marvel Comic publisher, editor, and chairman Stan Lee also gets his now standard cameo.
Intergalactic menace Thanos, voice by James Brolin, is one of the most impressive computer-generated imagery characters ever. Cull Obsidian (Terry Notary), Ebony Maw (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor), Proxima Midnight (Carrie Coon), and Corvus Glaive (Michael James Shaw) support Thanos and make a very fearsome foursome who also come to life through CGI.
Brolin’s voice and emotional demeanor match perfectly with his antagonistic approach as a seemingly unbeatable villain who deeply feels his cause and resulting actions are justified as he seeks to fill his Infinity Gauntlet with the corresponding Infinity Stones.
Brolin is one of ten Oscar® nominated cast members including Robert Downey Jr. who prominently figures his alter ego, inventor/tycoon Tony Stark, into the plot quite well with Gwyneth Paltrow’s continuing role as Pepper Potts as their relationship develops further. Stark continually steps up his game as Iron-Man with another updated suit.
King of Asgard Thor (Chris Hemswoth) Hulk/Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Black Panther/T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), highly trained spy Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Asgardian Heimdall (Idris Elba), Dr. Strange’s colleague Wong (Benedict Wong), The Collector (Benicio del Toro), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Wakandan tech genius Shuri (Letitia Wright), Nebula (Karen Gillan), Spider-Man/Peter Parker (Tom Holland), Jabari leader M’Baku (Winston Duke), War Machine/James Rhodey Rhodes (Don Cheadle) and the Winter Soldier/Bucky (Sebastian Stan) fill out the impressive cast.
Peter Quill/Star Lord (Chris Pratt), Mantis (Pom Klementieff), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), tree creature Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), genetically-engineered raccoon creature Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), and Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), also join in the fray to save countless lives as the group also known as The Guardians of the Galaxy.
Filmmakers often ease the high stakes tension with fun quips and memorable dialogue among characters like this Peter Parker reply to Dr. Strange – “Oh, we’re using our made-up names? In that case, I am Spider-Man.” Other gems include the Wakandan war cry “Yibambe,” which means “hold strong” in the Xhosa language.
Gamora, Thanos’ adopted daughter, significantly factors into the plot while sentient android Vision, played by Paul Bettany, never really fully developed as a character so a key action sequence does not have the high emotional impact it should though the results impress.
Peter Dinklage (Elf, Game of Thrones) also has a big role as Dwarf King Eitri. Thaddeus Thunderbolt Ross, played by William Hurt, returns in a key sequence as the U.S. Secretary of State.
Composer Alan Silversti matches the important character actions supported by impressive special effects with his powerful musical score.
There was never a sense that the franchise is stagnate or assemble only to boost their popularity. Avengers: Infinity War was filmed all over the world in locations including England, Scotland, Brazil, The Philippines plus the U.S. states New York and Georgia.
Avengers: Infinity War comes highly recommended (***1/2 out of four stars) and rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, language and some crude references. Be sure to stay and watch the bonus sequence during the ending credits. Also showing in 3D and IMAX 3D theaters.
This Avengers film installment is the first of two with the yet untitled concluding installment set to release on May 3, 2019. Ant-Man and the Wasp will release this summer on July 6.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler