By Lavender Vroman
Thanos demands our silence, but we’re gonna go there anyway. So if you haven’t seen “Avengers: Infinity War” and want to remain spoiler-free, you will want to come back to this review after your've seen it.
The culmination of a decade of Marvel movies and the most epic comic book team-up in cinema history, “Infinity War” will thrill you, stun you, and even baffle you (if you’re not up on your MCU knowledge, that is, or if you leave for a minute to grab some popcorn). Then, just as you feel like you’re getting the hang of this, it will crush you with the force of Thanos’ mighty, bejeweled gauntlet. Maybe keep your therapist on speed dial because all the emotions!
“Infinity War” also happens to be one of those rare audience reaction movies that provoke cheers, gasps, and the occasional shout-out at the screen, so see it as soon as possible and with a big crowd.
The MCU’s gutsiest installment yet, “Infinity War” pits ultimate superhero dream team The Avengers against veiny, purple Mad Titan Thanos who embarks on a violent, planet-hopping quest to gather six Infinity Stones that will give him the power to “balance” the universe via mass genocide.
Played by Josh Brolin, Thanos is undefeatable, unexpectedly complicated, and the most interesting villain we’ve seen for quite some time in the MCU. His relationship with estranged daughter Gamora (Zoe Saldana) brings poignancy and depth to the film and his murderous agenda imbues it with a darkness we don’t usually associate with Marvel movies. One of the movie’s lowest blows involves Thanos’ sacrifice of Gamora – yes, it appears she is actually dead – and this is where we discover the big purple baddie actually has the capacity to love, a fascinating character development wrinkle.
Still reeling from the infighting of 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War,” the Avengers rally their powers and technology to stop Thanos from assembling the remaining stones. Seeing superheroes we love meet and join forces after existing in separate realms of the MCU is a huge part of the film’s appeal.
Highlights include Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) locked in a clash of egos, with a welcome dose of Spidey (Tom Holland) to keep things light, and Chris Hemsworth’s Thor hooking up with Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Drax (Dave Bautista), Mantis (Pom Klementieff), teenage Groot (Vin Diesel), and Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) … or is that Rabbit?
Thor is reeling from the loss of brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), a fan favorite, so this will hit a lot of moviegoers hard. (Not Hiddles! No!) But in a widely crowd-pleasing moment, the God of Thunder gets back into fighting shape with some help from the dwarf Eitri (Peter Dinklage), who forges him an awesome, new weapon, Stormbreaker, as a replacement for his beloved lost Mjolnir (with an assist from Groot). Also, no more eye patch!
Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), aka Hulk, can’t get the big, green guy to appear when needed. Emily Olsen’s Scarlet Witch and Vision (Paul Bettany) have gone off the grid together, but nothing kills a romance like an Infinity Stone woven into your very being. As if that’s not tragic enough, Scarlet Witch is eventually forced to destroy her synthetic humanoid boyfriend. Her and our suffering is compounded when this act doesn’t even stick, thanks to the time-manipulating abilities of Thanos’ gauntlet.
Meanwhile, Captain America (Chris Evans, sporting excellent new facial hair) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) find an ally in King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), which provides a much-desired excuse for another trip to Wakanda, the setting for the film’s most mind-blowing extended action sequence.
The scope and scale of “Infinity War” is unprecedented and it’s the longest Marvel film so far, but directors Anthony and Joe Russo prove up to the challenge. It’s astonishing, actually, how they cohesively juggle the film’s myriad relationships while delivering the stellar action and special-effects we’ve come to expect from the franchise.
Whereas in previous films, the fate of cities or countries hung in the balance, the stakes are dialed to 11 here. In fact, they couldn’t possibly be any higher, which brings us to the subject of the ending.
In a colossal cliffhanger that’s bound to leave some fans frustrated, Thanos succeeds in his scheme to wipe out half the universe’s inhabitants and many of our most cherished heroes literally and horrifically dissolve before our eyes. Goodbye Spidey, Star-Lord, Groot, Drax, Scarlet Witch, Falcon, Doctor Strange, Bucky, Mantis, and even the Black Panther. The fates of other major characters, like fan-fave Shuri, remain unknown.
As if that isn’t traumatic enough, in one of Marvel’s famous end credit sequences, Nick Fury and Maria Hill also disappear from existence and we’re left with one small nugget of hope: Fury manages to send a message to someone before he goes and, judging by the logo that appears on the screen, it’s Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel.
I’ve never seen a movie audience look so shell-shocked as they headed for the exits after “Infinity War.” Whatever your feelings, we can all agree that waiting for next year’s Untitled Avengers Movie isn’t going to be easy.
Let’s do a little group therapy. What did you think of the many shocking moments and fates of the various Avengers in “Infinity War”? Comment below with your thoughts, reactions and fan theories.
Read more from Lavender at NoMansLand.blog
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