Ten years. Six stones. Two teams. One universe.
It’s all been leading up to this moment, and Avengers: Infinity War delivers all the adrenaline-packed action and raw emotion Marvel fans have been waiting for.
The film focuses on the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy as they fight their greatest threat yet, Thanos (Josh Brolin). The Mad Titan is on a hunt for all six infinity stones, which will grant him the power to wipe out half the universe’s population in an instant. With such a huge cast and budget, the film is a blockbuster in every sense of the word, and perhaps its most impressive feat is its ability to provide fairly balanced screen time for each of its many characters. There are moments when certain heroes who are normally front and center are a bit neglected– Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) come to mind– but its not an outrageous outcasting. In fact, when Infinity War came to a close, I found myself saying, “This film just juggled about 30 characters, and DC films can hardly juggle five.”
The fight scenes are skillfully executed throughout, as Marvel has come into its own over the years in creating unique, innovative combat sequences. Obviously, the battle that stands out the most is the one that takes place in Wakanda during the climax, especially when the high tech city’s shield is lifted and the entire Wakandan army, along with several Avengers, charge with a mighty cry at the ravenous alien-dog creatures. The sheer number of the creatures, all crashing into the shield and swarming the heroes, is anxiety-inducing.
There’s not only plenty of action, but plenty of emotion due to the deaths of several beloved characters. Fans were warned about this, but each loss hurts all the same. While Loki (Tom Hiddleston) meets his end at the start of the film, Gamora’s (Zoe Saldana) death is perhaps the most tragic, as she had finally confessed her love to Star Lord (Chris Pratt) after two Guardians of the Galaxy movies built up their romantic tension; they could have truly begun their future together. Furthering the horrific and heartbreaking nature of her sacrifice is that it’s not the heroic end she deserved. Instead, she is used as a way for Thanos’ to become more powerful, which was the last thing she wanted.
Thanos’ sacrifice of Gamora does not come without great pain to himself, however, and it’s a shocking revelation that Thanos truly loves Gamora and Gamora alone. It somewhat humanizes the titan, and that along with his unshakeable belief in committing genocide to provide what he considers peace and balance creates a complex foe and not just some big purple guy who wants to rule the galaxy.
The film is not all doom and gloom, however, as the comedy is spot-on and balances out the more dramatic moments. The Guardians of the Galaxy, as expected, deliver laugh-out-loud zingers, especially when they find Thor floating in space and bring him aboard their ship.
The film ends on a cliffhanger, with several Avengers and Guardians fading away into ash after Thanos achieves his goal of wiping out half the universe’s population. It will be a long, painful wait to see what will happen in the untitled fourth Avengers film next year, but fans can at least take comfort in knowing that characters like Spider-Man, who was a part of the half who disappeared, must come back because they have movies coming up. That’s the beauty of contracts and Marvel announcing their movie schedule years in advance.