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TAC Reviews...Avengers: Infinity War

 

The nineteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe sees (almost) all of the characters from the previous films starring alongside one another. From Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man to Chris Pratt’s Star-lord. This is the film that the MCU has been building up to throughout most of its run, ever since we glimpsed Thanos at the end of Avengers Assemble. I am not going to mention the actors that play various characters as by now (if you’ve read all my reviews), then you know who plays whom but I will mention anyone that is new to the MCU.

 

Avengers Infinity War Poster

 

As you know I am not a comic book fan and so the lore and history of Thanos is not one that I am familiar with. I did know bits and pieces of information such as the glove that he wears is called the Infinity Gauntlet, which has the ability to combine the powers of all six of the infinity stones. Again these stones have been popping up throughout the MCU and each one is immensely powerful in its own right so combined they could cause untold levels of destruction. As far as Thanos’ appearances go he has mostly had cameo roles in the post-credit scenes, although he did feature more heavily in Guardians of the Galaxy but mainly as a background antagonist. I knew little about his character aside from the fact that he is one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe. I read that he was an enemy of Galactus, the planet-eater, with the latter keeping the former out of our own galaxy but thus far Galactus has not appeared in the MCU and with the death of Odin it seems he might be the most powerful being in the universe.

 

In this film Thanos finally takes centre stage as he finally decides to track down all six of the Infinity Stones.

 

So this is it, this is what we have been building towards for over a decade…

 

The film opens right where Thor Ragnarok left off with Thanos’ ship attacking the Asguardian vessel, crippling it, and after boarding the ship slaughtering most of the crew. Thanos (Josh Brolin) demands to have the Tesseract and threatens to kill Thor if Loki doesn’t surrender it to him. Thor claims that the Tesseract was destroyed with Asgard but Loki confirms that he has it in his possession and surrenders it to Thanos to save his brother’s life. Hulk attacks Thanos but is defeated and is sent back to Earth by Heimdall. Thanos orders his servants to go to Earth to retrieve the two infinity stones there whilst he heads off to track down another personally. Thor’s ship is destroyed seemingly with the loss of all those that remain on board.

 

Back on Earth Dr Strange’s day suddenly gets a lot stranger as the Hulk smashes through the roof of his sanctuary before turning back into Bruce Banner. Banner warns them that Thanos is on the way.

 

Meanwhile the Guardians of the Galaxy are answering the automated distress call from Thor’s ship, and come across the debris. Thor himself suddenly crashes into their ship and after realising that he is somehow alive despite being in the vacuum of space they bring him on board. Mantis wakes him and he explains that Thanos is after the Infinity Stones, and if Thor is to defeat him then he needs a weapon powerful enough to do so. He takes Rocket and Groot as he travels to Nidavellir whilst the rest of the Guardians head to Knowhere in the hopes of intercepting Thanos before he can get another stone from the Collector.

 

Meanwhile back on Earth a ship appears above Manhattan and two beings emerge, one huge and powerful, the other a telekinetic. They demand the Time Stone that Dr Strange has in his possession but he refuses to give it up so Strange, Wong, and Iron Man engage the two. Spider-Man also joins the battle. Despite their efforts Strange is captured but both Spider-Man and Iron Man manage to get onboard the ship as its heads back towards Thanos’ home world.

 

Meanwhile, meanwhile Vision and Scarlett Witch are living in Scotland but they come under attack from two more of Thanos’ servants. They are saved by the timely intervention of Captain America, Black Widow and Falcon. Reuniting with Col Rhodes (aka War Machine) at the Avengers former Headquarters they learn that Thanos is seeking the Infinity Stones and they must protect the Mind Stone within Vision’s forehead at all costs.

 

With heroes around across the universe fighting against the forces of Thanos and the titan himself crushing anyone who stands between him and the stones. It may be that even the combined powers of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the God of Thunder, the Wakandan Army and the Guardians of the Galaxy are not going to be enough to stop Thanos from unleashing Armageddon…

 

First of it has to be said the sheer number of characters that appear in this film could be a overwhelming, the audience have come to know the likes of Thor, Iron Man, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and whilst the majority of the superheroes are confined to Earth, a number are not. Thor spends the majority of the film trying to forge a weapon to kill Thanos with the Guardians eventually meeting up with Spider-Man and Iron Man on Thanos’ home world.

 

You know what I might as well just drop this now…

 

 

To say that this film had a lost to live up to would be a massive understatement because it brings together virtually every character from the MCU thus far with the exception of Ant-Man and Hawk-Eye. But everyone else is present and correct. Trying to get all of the established characters together was a massive undertaking, and I guess the question is: was the anticipation worth it?

 

Join me to find out…

 

Thanos is a really good villain, because whilst you might expect him to have a massive booming voice, he actually speaks quite softly which just adds to his menace. He is hugely powerful and truly believes in what he is doing. Naturally tyrants don’t view themselves as tyrants, and in his mind he is planning on purging the universe as a way of saving it. We gain more insight into his history with Gamora and discover that despite everything Thanos still cares for his adopted daughter.

 

By now the cast are well used to portraying their respective characters so they all suit their roles well, unfortunately there are at times maybe too many characters. Thor is without a doubt my favourite and whilst he does get a fair amount of screen time his mission to gain a new weapon to defeat Thanos will be intermixed with Star-Lord and Co confronting Thanos themselves. Plus now Vision can take on a completely human looking form but he seems very underpowered in this film, basically he gets injured and spend the rest of this time wounded not doing anything. He has started a relationship with Scarlett Witch but she is forced to the sidelines for the majority of the proceedings as she sits by the wounded Vision whilst the forces of Wakanda battle the army Thanos has sent to retrieve the stone in his forehead.

 

When Avengers Assemble hit screens it basically had Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Bruce Banner/Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye. This film has a cast of some twenty-odd main characters, any one of which can hold a film alone, but they are all crammed in together and whilst Thor’s return to Earth does kick ass and the other characters recognise that the God of Thunder is about to put in an appearance we keep cutting from Wakanda to Thanos’ Home world, to Thor building his new weapon, to the Guardians. Which does make the proceedings seem unfocused as we cannot get invested in any one character because moments later we cut to another one.

 

If we forget about the sheer number of characters for a moment there are a tonne of moments in which characters seem to do stupid things.

 

Three of the worst for me was a moment when Strange is looking through millions of alternate futures and in all but one Thanos wins. Early in the film he makes a point of saying that he has vowed to protect the Time Stone and will let Stark, or Spider-Man or anyone else die to keep that vow. Then he surrenders the stone to Thanos if he will spare Stark…this seems to be a massively retarded thing to do but presumably in the future Strange saw where they win, it would only happen if Thanos got the Time Stone and Stark lived.

 

Possibly the most annoying is when the Guardians have subdued Thanos, Mantis has used her power to prevent him from fighting, whilst Spider-Man and Stark try to get the Infinity Gauntlet off his arm. Mantis lets slip that Thanos is mourning and Star-Lord goes crackers demanding to know where Gamora is, before he can be restrained, and they can get the Gauntlet, he knocks Mantis back freeing Thanos who is able to then defend himself. Yes I get that Star-Lord loves Gamora but he was prepared to kill her if she was taken by Thanos. If he had held himself together for another few seconds they could have gotten the Gauntlet and used it to find and revive Gamora, but he doesn’t and Thanos gets the upper hand.

 

Also it is established that Scarlett Witch could destroy an Infinity Stone and Vision makes her swear that she will destroy the one in his head if Thanos is about to get his hands on it. There is a massive death scene in which Scarlett Witch shatters the stone killing Vision, someone she might have fallen in love with, but moments later Thanos arrives reverses time and rips the stone from Vision’s head. What was the point in this whole tragic death scene when we all knew that Thanos would just reverse time???

 

Thinking about it, the film was pretty by the numbers, enemies arrive, the Avengers fight them and accordingly with this basically being a two-part film everything ends on a sombre note.

 

That isn’t to say that I didn’t like the film, but what annoys me is that whilst the majority of the characters we have come to know over the last twenty films all appear to have been killed, you know that they aren’t. The Time Stone can reverse time and all they need to do is get their hands on it and they can fix everything and resurrect everyone.

 

In a post credits scene we see Nick Fury sending a message to Captain Marvel who apparently can manipulate time…

 

 

So can we therefore assume that time is going to be reversed and everyone who perished being returned to life and Thanos defeated???

 

The tongue-in-cheek humour is still here and similarly to Thor Ragnarok it is Thor and Banner that seem to get the best lines, admittedly Stark does also get a few. But the tone of this film is a bit more disjointed than in previous films, there are some very strong scenes of torture, pain, and death, yet there are still the one liners that make you chuckle.

 

It cannot be denied that Avengers Infinity War was a formidable project and a massive achievement to get so many of the MCU actors and their respective characters to appear, but I know that everyone who died will be brought back to life somehow in the sequel. I would have much preferred it if they’d had the balls needed to actually kill off characters and them stay dead. Maybe this is what will happen in the sequel but I severely doubt it, once you mention someone that can time travel you open a massive can of worms which will undermine what this film seemed to be trying to do.

 

Plus, what exactly do the Infinity Stones do??

 

That is somewhat rhetorical because each one can do something, but the Tesseract seems to only be capable of destruction, so can the Ether, and so do the majority of the others. So why haven’t they been destroyed??

 

Why doesn’t someone fly them to the nearest black hole and throw any one that they discover across its event horizon??

 

As far as I am aware it is never really established that the Stones really do anything other than cause death and destruction, so why doesn’t anyone just destroy the damn things?? Scarlett Witch destroys one and it doesn’t blow up the Earth or anything so if they can be destroyed without consequence why doesn’t anyone else do it??

 

I did like the film but there was nothing especially different, there is a massive battle which echoes of Lord of the Rings but I just don’t believe that Thanos has won. The sombre note the film ends on is definitely, 100% going to be reversible, which makes the majority of the struggles in this film ultimately meaningless.

 

I cannot give the film anything less than a Thumbs Up, but this was not the best film in the MCU (that honour belongs to Thor Ragnarok) however it was definitely not one of the weaker editions either.

 

 

7/10 – If it wasn’t painfully obvious that everyone that died will be brought back in the sequel I might have found the ending somewhat harrowing, but the impact wasn’t what it could have been because they’ll all be back in the sequel. Naturally fans of the MCU will go and see that, in fact you probably already have, and probably rated the film higher than I did. 

 

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© Chris Sharman