Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Josh Brolin
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Running Time: 149 mins
Avengers: Infinity War is an American film and the nineteenth in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With the villainous Thanos crossing the galaxy to acquire the all-powerful Infinity Stones, the Avengers and all their allies must come together to face the greatest evil the universe has ever witnessed, and risk sacrificing everything they know to keep peace.
In what is surely the most enormous and ambitious blockbuster ever made, Avengers: Infinity War brings together everything that you’ve come to know and love about Marvel and superhero movies in general, and blows it up to an extreme. In that, the film is a really entertaining watch from start to finish, complete with everything you could possibly want from a big Hollywood blockbuster, as well as a few impressive surprises, although its daunting two and a half hour runtime is undoubtedly exhaustive, while the plot doesn’t manage to provide the same thrilling stakes as the best films in the MCU.
We’ll get into that in a bit, but we have to start off with the fact that this film is completely off the charts when it comes to being everything a superhero blockbuster can be. Following ten years of patient and hard work, Marvel have managed to craft a truly enormous cinematic universe with so much lore, that it’s hard to fault their ambition in bringing it all together in one film.
That means that you have pretty much every character who’s ever appeared in any of the previous eighteen Marvel movies, all banding together to save the universe from an enemy that poses a greater threat than ever before, something that will undoubtedly thrill the 10 year-old inside of you.
The fact that so many superheroes all come together in the context of just one story is hugely entertaining to watch, and the various clashes in personality or unexpected friendships is the stuff of fanboy dreams, all meaning that you’re always having fun watching your favourite heroes all together in the middle of the most epic story imaginable.
But it’s not just that that makes this film so much fun, because it’s also got so much going on. Although I won’t say it’s the most action-packed Marvel movie, with significant periods of down time in between big action sequences, there are a good four or five major plot lines that unfold throughout, and given that the background to all of them has been well-established over the past ten years of Marvel movies, it’s by no means as messy or confusing as you may think (take note, Batman v Superman).
I won’t spoil any of the individual plot lines, but there’s definitely enough to keep you engaged wherever you look, and for those with a deep understanding of the whole franchise’s arc, or just a great love for the series as a whole, it proves a very rewarding watch to see so many far-flung threads all come together in pretty seamless fashion.
And although I said it’s not Marvel’s most action-packed movie, that doesn’t mean there isn’t great action here and there. Again, I felt like the most exciting sequences were a little too few and far between, but the fact still remains that when the Avengers start to do what they do best, you know you’re in for a good time, with Anthony and Joe Russo directing yet more excellent action in slick style, replicating their successes with the two previous Captain America instalments.
And of course, being a Marvel movie, there’s also a good deal of great humour here too. Despite a bit of a rocky start where it doesn’t quite manage to balance its wacky humour with the more serious stakes of the story, the film eventually gets back into the typical Marvel stride, complete with a whole heap of laughs throughout that prove a welcome refresher from some of the heavier elements to the story, and remind you of just why Marvel movies are so fun to watch at times.
So, with great humour, action, and an ingenious and almost unfathomably enormous coalition of all the superheroes under the sun, it’s fair to say that Infinity War is pretty much everything that you’d want a big Marvel blockbuster to be.
However (and it is a big however), I have to say that there is just a little too much in this movie for its own good. I can’t fault the ambition, and following ten years of set-up, it’s amazing to see a film such as this come together on such a scale, but there’s no doubting that it’s just a little bit overstuffed.
Now, whether that be the sheer volume of different characters and stories all being crammed into one film, or the fact that there’s so much story to be told, I grew a little frustrated with Infinity War at times, simply because it was so weighed down by its own enormity.
The biggest problem lies in the first two acts of the film, which feel like a 90 minute-long exposition and set-up phase for the finale. Now, there’s still great action and fun to be had throughout, and you won’t be bored, but the way in which the story divides the characters into separate (and unfortunately somewhat disjointed) adventures and missions means that there isn’t really the cohesive coming-together that you’d really like.
Instead, you spend about 15 or 20 minutes on one story, before moving onto seeing what’s happening with someone else, leaving that previous story alone for a good half an hour or so. Now, it’s far better to have a lot going on all spread out into separate stories (because cramming everyone together to do it all would be insane), but I still felt a little frustrated and exhausted at times with the sheer volume of things happening, and the amount of time that you spend moving away from certain characters and stories to look at others.
Now, unlike films such as Suicide Squad, there is a serious amount going on in this film, and as such the extreme 150 minute runtime feels somewhat warranted, but I still felt that it was just a little bit overlong. Firstly, it’s tough to not get exhausted watching a big blockbuster for that amount of time (Star Wars: The Last Jedi was exactly the same), but also the film’s pacing is really rather slow from the start.
That’s a clear effect of having to jump between so many different stories, but it means that you aren’t able to have the endlessly exhilarating, non-stop thrill ride that the likes of Captain America: Civil War manage to provide thanks to a slightly more streamlined yet much faster-paced story.
However, as overlong and overstuffed as Infinity War undoubtedly is for the majority of its runtime, I cannot deny the brilliance of its final act. Bold, different and even with a little bit of emotional weight, I was really surprised with how this film came to a close, something that ultimately makes the exhaustion of the whole two and a half hours really feel worth it, and ending the film by leaving a brilliant impression that keeps me thinking about it even long after the credits have finished rolling.
Overall, it’s hard to deny the enormity of a film like this. With every superhero under the sun all united in a massive story, it’s a hugely entertaining watch throuhgout, and does everything you’d want a big comic book blockbuster to do, complete with strong action, good acting and humour as ever, and bold ambition and imagination from start to finish. Its size does admittedly prove a downside too, however, with a somewhat overlong and overstuffed story proving a little frustrating and exhausting at times during the first two acts, although it all feels worth it come the end thanks to a fantastic finale that really impressed and surprised me, and that’s why I’m giving Avengers: Infinity War an 8.0.