10 years. 18 movies. That’s what the Marvel Cinematic Universe has accomplished in just a decade. They’ve redefined blockbuster filmmaking and production, for better and for worse, and it all comes to together with Avengers: Infinity War, the crossover event that sees almost all of the heroes from the entire MCU filmography all in one two-and-a-half-hour event. With such immense hype among fanboys and moviegoers, it is understandable Joe and Anthony Russo need to deliver big time for such a massive event film, both for the MCU and cinema in general. Thankfully, the film largely doesn’t disappoint, resulting in an entertaining action adventure with just about everything a summer blockbuster could ask for, barring a few odd creative decisions here and there.
The most important element within crossovers is how the multitude of different characters interact with one another, while also delivering a compelling story. What the Russos and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely do is quite an effective treatment, as only about three different groups interact with one another, each led by one of Marvel’s main Trinity. Thor and the Guardians share screentime together, Tony Stark, Peter Parker, and Doctor Strange stick together, while Steve Rogers, Wanda Maximoff, Vision, Bruce Banner, Natasha Romanoff, and T’Challa have their own story together. It gives a strong balance to what could have easily been an overcrowded and jumbled story, leading to decent screen time for a good majority of the major players, and offer fun and unique team-ups and dynamics, with Thor’s interactions with Rocket and Tony’s interactions with Doctor Strange being a particular delight. The only real drawback is with the Captain America subplot, as the hero doesn’t have much to do, apart from a really fun introduction scene and a few bit parts in the climax.
As for the antagonist, Thanos, played by Josh Brolin, works fine enough as an adversary to the characters, as the destruction he causes is definitely massive and intimidating. Josh Brolin also delivers in giving Thanos menace. But the character’s drawback can be found in how Markus and McFeely’s attempts to humanize the purple baddie. They largely fail to connect and distract from the more exciting and entertaining elements found within the story. One scene involving him and his daughter Gamora is especially lackluster.
Thankfully, the one element that does succeed is the action sequences. After the mediocrity and irritating quick cuts found in Captain America: Civil War, Infinity War is much clearer, much grander, and much more entertaining, with the ending climaxes being real highlights, considering every character gets their time to shine. To say nothing of the bright and distinctive colors and gorgeous shots, washing away the former greys that eluded both Civil War and much of the other MCU projects.
Infinity War being such a solid superhero flick is quite an accomplishment for many reasons. As a culmination of 10 years of features, having to juggle upwards of 30 characters, all with a gargantuan budget of at least $316 million, it’s an impressive feat such a film was able to deliver a solid summer blockbuster, in spite of a few hiccups in the characterization, and it will be interesting to see how the Russos will follow up this movie with the next Avengers film set to release next year.