Disclaimer: This review contains HEAVY SPOILERS for the movie Avengers: Infinity War
By now, most of you would have watched Avengers: Infinity War at least twice, dissecting the movie’s plot, identifying comic book references and denying the fact that this movie has some glaring flaws. Yes, you read that last part right. As much as I personally wanted to mask the slight disappointment I felt as I walked out of the cinema after watching the movie (only once), I knew I could not lie to myself as I spotted missed opportunity on top of missed opportunity. Embarking beyond these lines is basically walking into spoiler territory for those of you who have not seen the movie yet, so proceed with caution.
THE GOOD STUFF
Let us start of with all the stuff that the directors and Marvel struck gold with. The meeting of Thor and Star Lord is pure genius, as their egos clash in a very enjoyable manner. When the proud Asgardian meets the self-conscious Peter, not only do they play off each other’s character well, they manage to create humour and delight in the face of certain death. Most of all, it doesn’t feel forced or staged. We also see raw emotion from Star Lord the minute he finds out Gamora is killed, and Thor turns philosophical when the need arises. One of the best lines in the movie is delivered by the god of thunder himself: “If I’m wrong, then what more can I lose?”
Thor has gone from a muscular pretty boy to a character that has survived the most tragedies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is easy to forget that Thor has lost his family, his home realm, his birthright, his eye and his half-brother, Loki, all within the span of a few movies. Yet, his character development speaks volume as he adapts to a new surrounding every single time a movie featuring Thor rolls around.
Stark and Strange are a great pairing as well, as they both argue from the point of their expertise, their massive sense of Individuality collides head first. Spider-Man is portrayed to a fault here, wisecracks and youth prevailing over his sense of responsibility. The suit and witty dialogue adds a lot of depth to this character despite having limited air time. The appearance of the Guardians of the Galaxy is also done very well, giving each of the space travelling team a good amount of airtime, though some of it was unnecessary.
Red Skull coming back was a great twist despite Hugo Weaving not reprising his role. Stan Lee’s cameo was entertaining as ever. The Hulk faces fear for the first time after having his ass handed to him by a more powerful titan in the form of Thanos. The interaction between Banner and Hulk is interesting as we see how both of them communicate with each other as separate entities as they both deal with looming danger of a universe spanning threat.
The way the deaths were portrayed at the end of the film and the circumstances surrounding it was greatly detailed. Rocket losing Groot again and Spider-Man begging for his life as he faded into nonexistence were some of the more well thought out deaths. The rest of the deaths however, lacked impact and purpose, besides that of Loki and Heimdall which happened in the first 15 minutes.
No other movie can beat the juggling work this movie has done with over 3 dozen characters involved and most of the characters are utilized to the maximum limit given the time frame of 160 minutes. And having Thanos as a central figure in this whole epic saga makes it easier for the audience to enjoy the plot as he acts as the singular focus point. For a movie that spans 2 hours and 40 minutes, you really don’t feel the time passing as you watch this grand spectacle on the silver screen.
THE STUFF THAT DOESN’T WORK
There are a few underutilized characters that has amazing star power, such as Captain America, Black Widow, Black Panther and Winter Soldier that could have used better dialogue and crossovers. Drax and Groot had too much unnecessary scenes that could have gone into the Blu Ray edition when it does come out.
Thanos’s Black Order did a great job of setting up the stakes but there was little follow through with these characters as they just appeared and very little is known about them and their motivations. While the battle scenes are done to great lengths, I felt that it didn’t hit the benchmark Civil War set for us fans. There wasn’t enough clever cooperation and coordination among the heroes, except for the time Stark, Strange and Spidey almost pulled the gauntlet of the hands of the mad titan, despite this movie being an ultimate crossover of heroes.
Action sequences that I expected should have rivaled the on-screen chaos that would be seen if you were playing a 10 on 10 Marvel vs Capcom 3 game, with all the characters being on-screen at the same time. Instead, we got watered down individual fights from the initial stages, when it clearly should have been the finale after the big crossover brawl.
Stark not dying after Thanos pierces his body is a big letdown for me as I expected a major character to bite the dust in this edition. Gamora as an emotional anchor for Thanos? It was really hard for me to swallow the fact that a villain that wants to eradicate half of the universe has a soft spot for an adopted daughter, which he found while destroying her home planet. It just doesn’t gel with the entire character progression for Thanos.
Nobody could care less about the romance between Scarlett Witch and Vision, mainly because it was not fleshed out properly at all in the previous entries of this universe. It feels forced and the chemistry is just not there. I felt relieved when Vision finally succumbed to Thanos as his death didn’t really mean much. The same goes for Gamora’s plunge that ended in her sloppy, unemotional death.
Lastly, some of the CGI in the movie is horrendous, the likes which even a novice animator would cringe at. Banner in the Hulkbuster suit without his protective helmet on is just a cut and paste job. A movie with this level of a budget should never suffer from inconsistencies such as this.
With only 160 minutes to pack in over 3 dozen characters, it was to be expected that not everybody would be left satisfied. However, I was expecting an overall smoother execution on Marvel’s part. That’s why Avengers: Infinity War gets a begrudging 8 out of 10 for me. It had its upsides, but it also harboured too many disappointing moments and missed opportunities. Here’s to hoping that Avengers 4 will hit a 10 out of 10.
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