Official poster for Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Marvel Studios
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From shocking opening to even more shocking ending, the epic adventure Avengers: Infinity War (AIW) is what every superhero movie should aspire to be. It’s a dark joyride, a thrilling spinning wheel turning time and space on their sides. It’s also like compulsively reading one fabulous Marvel comic book after another because you need to find out more about what’s going on with your fave superheroes and villains. This is one movie you don’t want to end.
Avengers: Infinity War – Official Marvel Universe trailer
It was once thought that too many ingredients – or characters – would spoil the broth, and while the storyline is propelled by 64 characters, each is given the time and attention they deserve. The result? AIW avoids the overblown, ongoing fireworks finale battle of Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015). This latest installment climbs each step one by one, builds suspense and tension to the highest degrees and maxes to the enth single or joined-forces superhero confrontations with arch villain Thanos (Josh Brolin) and his delegated band of baddies. You’re wide-eyed and mouth agape as good clashes against evil and sonic booms vibrate throughout the universe.
Chris Hemsworth as Thor (Image: Marvel Studios)
Thanos clearly has a God-complex, with his directive maintaining his warped idea of mercy that half of every planet he conquers must perish in order to achieve peace. He launches a multi-front war on Earth that necessitates an unparalleled response from the good guy collective. Thanos’ team of assorted mercenaries and a Voldemort-type noseless wizard come up against the tried and true, plus new additions, of Marvel comic superheroes; even Spider-Man is “knighted” into Avengerhood. Thor is joined along the way by James Gunn’s own Guardians of the Galaxy team. The new collaboration is likeable and effective. Chris Pratt is all Star-Lord, although at one point with his hand motions you think he’s going to summon his “pet” velociraptor, Blue. Rocket Raccoon dishes out some of the best lines in the movie, and you’ll love his new “nickname” to boot.
Avengers: Infinity War enlists the help of the Guardians
of the Galaxy team (Image: Marvel Studios)
Almost all the Avengers have assembled to hunt down Thanos, and among the long list are Vision, Wanda, Black Panther, the Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow and Dr. Strange. Creator of the Avengers comic characters, Stan Lee, has his customary funny cameo, although it’s a little on the brief side and wasn’t as hilarious as his zany caricature barber wearing coke-bottle eyeglasses and wielding scissors like cosmic weapons in Thor: Ragnorak (2017).
Avengers: Infinity War – producer Kevin Feige and Avengers
comic creator Stan Lee (Image: Marvel Studios)
Most questions from previous Avengers superheroes and Thor films are answered. Although Hela (Thor and Loki’s half-sister) doesn’t show up, you’ll discover that stormbreakers (with a dynamite vignette featuring Peter Dinklage) work best against the supreme enemy. It’ll be up to Infinity Wars II – and there will most assuredly be one – to resolve that completely.
Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black
Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and team ready for battle (Image: Marvel Studios)
No one left the theatre when the end credits started to roll. Yes, there was an extra scene at the very end. It was every bit as numbing as the final scene before credits. No wonder people were meme-ing about it in stunned silence after getting up from their theatre seats.
What makes this film a true winner is the casting of all Avenger heroes as though in supporting roles, with none really standing out as “the stars.” Admittedly Loki, the perennial teen villain played by Tom Hiddleston, steals the first scene, and it also crosses your mind that he’s still in transition from “god of mischief” to superhero. Count him down in AIW, but not out, as according to old myth the great horn-helmeted god can only be permanently vanquished in one way. Genuine affection is seen between Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki, and their relationship is perhaps “put on hold” until the next sequel. (More on that later.)
Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in the shocking opening scene (Image: Marvel Studios)
While AIW is “darker” than Thor: Ragnarok (2017), it shines more. The script was tweaked and polished to perfection, the best script yet in the series. It’s so good you don’t want to give away any bits and pieces. The comedy is sublimely timed and executed, and the bonds of love will make you cry, as will the backstory of Gamora and Thanos – whose pure devotion is to accomplish his warped evil by any means necessary. You eventually wonder if Thanos ever asked himself “Was it all worth it?” You realize the answer would be “yes” as all deranged alpha villains seem to view trouble, and the time to make it, as their middle names.
Thanos (Josh Brolin) intends to conquer the universe
with the infinity gauntlet. Will he succeed? (Image: Marvel Studios)
The soundtrack is an impressive combo of majestic symphony and down-to-earth contemporary, and includes the classic pop tune Rubberband Man by The Spinners. AIW is stated as being the second-most-expensive film ever made, and it shows in the remarkable, well-worth-it production values, camera work and CGI. Chances are the next sequel will surpass that budget.
The AIW producers, including James Gunn, have been instrumental in pulling together and giving sense to a film that could have emerged as a puzzling mix-mox. A filmmaker since his youth, Gunn made his first big double-duty splash as writer and first-time director with Slither (2006) starring Nathan Fillion. Way back when, around the time Slither was released, Gunn belonged to the same Firefly (TV sci-fi series) community site I did.
CNET reports that there will be a sequel, known unofficially as Avengers 4, saying that “The film was shot back-to-back with Infinity War, beginning in August 2017 and with principal photography ending in January 2018. [Some] filming was done in the Atlanta area. According to the Scottish newspaper The Daily Record, more scenes will be filmed in Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland in July 2018, with reshoots coming later in the year.”
Numerous photos are known to have been taken during location shooting in Atlanta of major Avengers characters for that sequel.
All in all, Avengers: Infinity War will certainly garner a place in cinema history as one of the most awesomely entertaining, magical and witty sci-fi fantasy yarns ever spun onto the big screen. Sprinkled with the fairy dust of legend, like he-man swashbucklers and damsels standing equal to men and braver than brave, with monster villains and creatures of sweet nightmares and horrid dreams pulling open our eyelids, the Avengers will keep evolving and pulling us by the hand right along with them into future, wondrous journeys of imagination and adventure.
Copyright © May 2018: Lorraine Dmitrovic
All photos copyright © May 2018: Marvel Studios