By Troy Ribeiro
Film: “Avengers: Infinity War”; Director: Anthony and Joe Russo; Cast: 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, Idris Elba, Danai Gurira, Peter Dinklage, Benedict Wong, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt, William Hurt; Rating: ****
“Avengers: Infinity War” is the third film of the Avengers series and the 19th film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Directed by the Russo brothers Anthony and Joe, this epic will definitely delight lovers of Marvel Comics and followers of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as it surpasses expectations.
A rare spectacular, the film kind of defies the basic laws of cinema by incorporating roughly 25 main and supporting characters, and makes you care about them with equal gusto.
By sheer numbers too, it is the biggest crossover event in the history of cinema as it brings most of the characters of Marvel comics and films in one cinematic universe. Yet, keeps it lean and meaningful – a surprising feat in a film with a two and a half hour run time.
The narration is an endless and unstoppable roller-coaster from start to finish. An organic cohesion between action and humour, space and Earth, humans and Gods, heroes (divided with dexterity into mini groups) and Groot along with Rocket Raccoon.
Though complex, the basic plot is Thanos (Josh Brolin) the same villain who tried to invade Earth in the first Avengers and the main antagonist in the two “Guardians of the Galaxy” films, is on the hunt for six elemental gems known as Infinity Stones. Each stone – Space, Reality, Power, Soul, Mind and Time – has individual powers, but together, these stones can be used to catastrophic effect.
Thanos’ motivation is layered and more complex than simple universe-domination. He is not one-dimensionally evil – he has his weakness and frailties. He is seen here as an emotional manipulator of care; concerned about overpopulation and the scarcity of resources plaguing almost every planet in the universe.
His solution is simple, “out of compassion”, decimate half of the entire population – at random, to be fair – a goal that could be achieved with the snap of his fingers once all six stones are in his possession.
This war covers more fronts than any fight in Marvel films, so far. The spectacular galactic battles shine as much as their space fighters (the face-to-face fight between Thanos and the Iron Man and his troupe has earned a place among the struggles for the posterity of the MCU), the showdown in New York is the best spell cast by Doctor Strange, and a Scottish station becomes an unexpectedly effective battlefield.
And the war prompted in Wakanda and those gathered there, (the Black Panther – T’Challa, Steve Rogers, the symbiote looking monsters) are the ones that make the film vibrant and action-packed.
“…Infinity War” is, above all, a colossal tribute to the MCU and its heroes — to the veteran and sly Iron Man, to the renewed and jocular Thor and The Hulk, or to the new and very close Doctor Strange and Star-Lord. It is also a tribute to your favourite dialogue lines; – “We have the Hulk”, “How can I be the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man if there is no neighbourhood?”
There are unexpected surprises too, where some old acquaintances sneak in at unexpected intervals keeping the adrenaline flow. We know these characters; we get what drives them; who they love; what they fear. The fun is in seeing them interact with each other, measuring up powers and sometimes falling short.
With gags and sarcasms galore, the script written by Christoper Markus and Stephen McFeely, is ingenious. It blends a universe in which Star-Lord competes against Thor to see who has a more depressing family in history. The God of Thunder and Captain America comment on his change of looks in between a full-fledged fight. Drax believes himself to be invisible while praising the biceps of Chris Hemsworth and Spider-Man has a conversation about ‘Footloose’ with Star-Lord as soon as they learn about the cosmic revolution.
Overall, well-shot and magnificently mounted, this film, feels like the first half of a two-part extravaganza, with the second part to follow soon.