BY RICHARD BONADUCE
Ten years and 18 Marvel movies later, we finally get up close and personal to Thanos, the big baddie behind it all (who up until this point did little more than sit in a floating chair while purple) in the 19th Marvel film that begins the winddown of Phase Three of the Marvel cinematic money-making machine (which ends with a “Part Two” of this film in 2019).
Without giving too much away (Marvel posted this cheeky PSA “Just Say No To Spoilers: #thanosdemandsyoursilence), Thanos is an alien who has been searching for cosmic stones of immense power scattered throughout the universe, each with its own super-specialty (the Time Stone manipulates time; the Power Stone makes one… powerful! You get the idea). If Thanos was to get his Gauntlet on all six of these so-called Infinity Gems (Time, Power, Space, Mind, Reality, and Soul) he’d be unstoppable in his quest to cull the lives in all the Universe by half to achieve an environmental balance between an escalating number of selfish beings and ever-dwindling natural resources.
An arresting goal to be sure, and naturally the Avengers assemble to keep Thanos from acquiring all the stones… and that’s a lot of Avengers (between 30 and 70 if you count all the superpowered people onscreen)! And even if you can handle that amount of muscle-bound eye-candy, you still may not be prepared for the epic scale of this flick. Much of it is unexpected: its scope, its delivery, and certainly its ending. It also surprisingly balances the tones of entertaining action and abject terror all while juggling a massive cast.
Although it still features a fair amount of humor, Avengers: Infinity War is hard-hitting in more ways than three, making it unexpectedly moving as well. Also, surprisingly, even though some consequences are certain to be reversed (because Sequels), these scenes are still emotionally affecting even though logically we know they’re only temporary (hats off especially to Tom Holland for his improvised performance).
Marvel kept some of its signature moves in this film, although not all of them land: for every great cameo there’s an unnecessary one; although there’s plenty of action on display, there are off-camera developments that should have been on-screen; and as much as some heroes continue along their multiple-movie character arcs, others unsatisfyingly have a change of heart on a dime. Marvel also almost single-handedly trained audiences to sit through extensive credit rolls, but they deny them a “mid-credits” scene (perhaps feeling a need for the viewer to decompress a bit).
But if Avengers: Infinity War knocks you for a loop, the end-credits tag will pick you up off the floor… especially if you’re a geek like me, or you’re sitting within earshot of one.
Go see one of the best super-hero films ever made and see it on the biggest screen you can afford.
- Avengers: Infinity War
- Genre: Action / Adventure
- Runtime: 2 hrs. 36 mins.
- MPAA Rating: PG-13
- Directors: Joe Russo, Anthony Russo
- Writers: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
- Actors: Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Mackie, Elizabeth Olsen
- Paul Bettany, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Josh Brolin, Don Cheadle
- Sebastian Stan, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba, Tom Hiddleston,
- Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper (Voice), Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel (Voice), Gwyneth Paltrow, Benicio Del Toro