It’s almost impossible to discuss the pros and cons of the newest “Avengers” without giving away major spoilers (ignoring the fact that the movie has been out for over one month at the date of this review), but I’m going to attempt it. Is it a bold move by the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Absolutely. It’s perhaps their most daring film yet. For those unfamiliar with the comics, we’re slowly brought to realization throughout the film’s runtime that Thanos’ (Josh Brolin) snapping of the fingers could actually wipe out half of the universe. It’s not a figure of speech, and through brilliant exposition (in a blockbuster Marvel movie, no less!), we know that Thanos isn’t kidding. The stakes are high, and even though “Infinity War” has its problems, it is filmmaking 101 in creating suspense for a major franchise.
Speaking of Thanos, I want to applaud “Infinity War” for being a movie that has the essence of a “Part 1” installment (thank you, “Harry Potter”), but is ultimately a villain’s story that comes full circle. Josh Brolin owns his role and commands respect while onscreen, giving us a range of emotions; who knew we could feel sympathy for a maniac who believes in the benefits of mass genocide? Thanos becomes more than just a scary monster; he is a three-dimensional character (at least in the arc of this movie) who can feel pain, loss, victory, and success. If anything, this movie could’ve used more of Thanos’ backstory, or at least a stronger implication of one (more on that in a minute).
Let’s talk about the ending. Not the details of what happens, more how things happen. “Infinity War” relies heavily on its ending, and although that is moreover a plus, it does hurt the film in its overall construction. The final moments of this movie are random and shocking, yet their executions are muted, therefore making them undeniably harrowing. It is a quiet, slow-burner trauma.
With such an emphasis on the ending, how is the film beforehand? As stated, the build-up is excellent. But the loads of action, superhero banter, and extended bits of backstory remain easily unnoticed. Again, the flashbacks starring Thanos are much appreciated, but if there were more of them, they would’ve been more memorable. “Infinity War” is a film that cheats, aptly so, by having a magnificent ending, while allowing its midsection to aim low.
My final note on the ending – are the consequences truly real? If you’re going to be this bold, stay bold. After all, this is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and cop-outs are easy for large franchises. This is a film that will definitely rock the MCU boat, and I just hope it’s with long-term effects.