Here we have another film in the famous Marvel Cinematic Universe….yet it hardly comes across as such. Most Marvel movies seem to be boggled down by massive amounts of expository world-building and character development; while this is important, in a sense, it can also be stale. When I saw Doctor Strange in 2016, although I liked some of the comedy and it was a visual spectacle, I felt as if I had been there before, with films such as Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America. Even last year’s Spider-man: Homecoming (which is much better than Doctor Strange) suffers from this idea: establishment of the film’s universe. Many of these movies bring in a great many characters we’ve never seen before, kill some off to add some emotion (Black Panther probably has the worst example of this point), then shows an action-packed finale with the hero fighting the villain. Infinity War….seems to actively avoid these ideas, at least with respect to the protagonists.
Although I’m unsure as to proper rankings, I can say confidently that Civil War was my favorite Marvel film, mostly due to the villain’s understandable motivations and the general creativity of the writing. It’s a constantly engaging film, and, frankly, it established Black Panther as a noteworthy, intimidating, and congenial character more effectively than his solo film from 2018. I used past tense there because Infinity War may have just replaced Civil War in that position.
Forgive me if I have appeared aimless thus far; Infinity War is a culmination of these past films, not so much in story beats (There’s very little reference to past events, save those from Civil War and Thor:Ragnarok) but in a sense of weight. When you’ve seen these characters for such a long time, through various films, there’s a significance to them. Although I don’t think all of the characters are well-written or particularly interesting, they still hold that weight with them.
So, onto the actual review, then…Infinity War is incredibly unique in its structure. I won’t spoil the events here, but the movie opens with great action showing the villain and his henchmen. On that note, I’ve seen many terrible films with a “big bad villain” and their “evil henchmen goons” (Remember Ghost Rider?) but Infinity War handles this trope beautifully. Thanos is intimidating and fascinatingly humanized, especially for a big, bulky, purple alien man. It’s almost unfair, in a way; A few years ago, I would never have expected a film to handle such an absurd character so….delicately. Thanos has understandable motivations, although he is certainly not agreeable. He’s not unequivocally villainous, and he exhibits a wide array of emotions over the course of the movie. It’s quite satisfying to see this type of character portrayed so wonderfully, with the help of Josh Brolin for his voice work. The effects team really brought that character to life impressively. I’d say most of the actors really give it their all, so to speak. There are a few scenes with Iron Man and Spiderman that have an incredible impact. Still, there are plenty of jokes, although they are surely more sparse than they would be in standard Marvel fare. I think they landed pretty effectively, with some minor exceptions.
The action is amazing considering how grand everything was. There are battles involving numerous characters, and still you could understand where each of them were relative to each other, and the locations regarding the surrounding landscape. The consistencies among bouts of chaos astounded me. The shot composition was effective in this sense, without becoming too frenetic to be comprehended, maintaining a sort of foundation. Although there weren’t many particularly notable camera techniques or shots in general, the efficacy with which the movie is presented is something I found prominent and enjoyable.
It’s a shame that the music is bland and boring. That’s all there is to it. Once again I found that the music is mostly comprised of loud, long, blaring sounds. It’s devoid of complexity and intrigue. You could switch the entire score with that of some other Marvel film, or one of many stereotypical action flicks of the past ten years, and hardly notice. I vaguely recall one scene in which the music was effective for the mood, but it still wasn’t anything special. I wouldn’t take an interest in listening to any of the music, and I’m not sure I could recognize any tracks if one were to play them for me, even so soon after watching the film. In contrast, look to films such as the recent Annihilation and Isle of Dogs, or perhaps one of my older favorites, There Will Be Blood. Such films have prominent and memorable tracks which evoke certain emotions and ideas, and while there’s much to praise in Infinity War, the soundtrack is not praiseworthy by any stretch.
I think the story is pleasant overall, with some nice twists and clever elements, but there were also a couple of events in the film that were simply unbelievable, despite the Marvel universe in which they are set. In this realm of absurdity, I would wager it’s difficult to cross that line, but they might have succeeded nonetheless. Admittedly, in the scope of the film, it’s a minor complaint, but readers who have seen the film might understand. Still, I’d argue that Infinity War has a very strong ending, and it’s far more unique than any other Marvel film to date.
This movie falls under Wondrous, surely. It’s probably the best Marvel movie as of now, although it does still have its flaws. I believe that nobody who hasn’t seen at least a few Marvel films should see it, as it would be a crazy mess of characters you don’t really know. However, if you’re a fan of this team of heroes they’ve built up for a decade, this is a solidly enjoyable outing for the series. I would happily watch this again, and I cannot honestly say that for many Marvel movies.