‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is infinitely entertaining


Photo by Christian Lorenz on Wikipedia Commons.

The Marvel cinematic universe currently spans 19 movies as well as multiple nations, planets and galaxies. The ambitious crossover “Avengers: Infinity War” attempts to combine all of them and against all odds, it succeeds.

I’ll admit, as a longtime comic fan and self-confessed Marvel addict, I had my doubts about this film. I truly thought that the movie would be impossible to execute, considering the complexity of each Marvel world. Even with the runtime of two hours and 40 minutes, I felt as if it couldn’t possibly do all of my favorite characters justice. I was ultimately proven to be extremely wrong.

The major win in “Infinity War” is how it incorporates all of the past films. It picks up right where “Black Panther,” “Captain America: Civil War” and “Thor: Ragnarok” left off, placing the viewer right back in the action. Thor, Loki and Hulk are mid-battle in the opening scene. Tony Stark and Steve Rogers are still licking their wounds in the aftermath of “Civil War,” with the Avengers officially broken up. Wakanda is still in the process of opening their country back up to the world. Everything connects perfectly.

Everything down to the villain’s weapon of choice seamlessly ties the past movies together. Thanos, the primary antagonist, uses a gauntlet comprised of the fabled infinity stones to orchestrate his evil scheme. The ingenious thing is, we’ve already seen all of the stones in past films. The time stone is in the possession of Doctor Strange, the main character in the 2016 film of the same name. The mind stone was buried inside Loki’s scepter in “Avengers.” The power stone or “orb” is featured in “Guardians of The Galaxy,” and so forth. The infinity stones are the thread that weave all of these seemingly separate stories together, setting up the plot of “Infinity War” effortlessly.

One aspect of Marvel movies that critics love to hate is the fight scenes. I’ve seen reviews complaining of jumpy, shaky shots and scenes cut so fast it nearly gives you whiplash. However, every fight in “Infinity War” is absolutely flawless. The transitions are smooth with minimal motion sickness involved. At this point, we’ve all seen the characters beat each other up 19 times or so, but “Infinity War” manages to keep it fresh and interesting. Both Iron man and Spider-man’s suits have innovative upgrades. For example, Spider-man now has eight mechanical legs that he can deploy to give him extra leverage during battle. Iron man seems to have endless gadgets springing from his iconic suit, switching from one to the next so quickly you can barely process it. The slow motion shots of Thor swinging his freshly forged axe as electric blue lightning crackles around him are so stunning they might literally take your breath away.

Speaking of breathtaking, the cinematography in this film is almost worthy of an article of its own. The establishing wide shot when Thanos arrived on the planet of Vormir was so enchanting I wanted to cry. Wakanda also made a magnificent return in all of its glory. The drone shots of the rolling landscape made me want to pack my bags and leave for Africa immediately. “Infinity War” features location after spectacular location, each one more beautiful and complicated than the last. By the end of the movie I was actually sad that none of them exist and I can’t visit them in real life.

With the three or four different storylines featured in the movie, you’d think it would have to skimp on character development in order to make room for all the action. You would be wrong. Peter Quill, also known as “Star Lord” deepens his relationship with Gamora in a way that seems believable, natural and real. Gamora shares moments of closure with her abusive “father,” Thanos. Iron Man/Tony is faced with moral dilemmas, wrestling with self-preservation versus self-sacrifice. Scarlet Witch and Vision have a beautiful but painful arc as he becomes more human, and I found myself warming up to the pairing even though I despised it at first. Spider-man/Peter Parker somehow becomes even more loveable (as if such a thing were even possible), and delivers the most crushing, emotional performance I’ve seen in a Marvel movie. I won’t spoil anything, but my heart still hurts from it. Even Doctor Strange, a character who is usually overlooked in the Marvel cinematic universe, gets his moments to shine.

Although, as expected, there were some characters who were pushed to the background. Captain America, the Winter Soldier, Black Widow and Falcon seemed like they were added out of obligation rather than being necessary to the plot. I’ve been theorizing that they’ll play a larger role in the second half of the film, but so far there doesn’t really seem to be a point to their presence.

There were truly no slow moments in this movie. While action fans may see this as a good thing, I kind of missed the humanizing scenes in between the battles. I missed seeing Tony and Bruce hanging out in the lab, snacking on blueberries and tinkering away in the original “Avengers.” I missed scenes like the one where Vision tries to make Wanda dinner or when Steve visits her in her room and comforts her about her powers in “Civil War.” Nonetheless, the developments in character relationships on the battlefield almost made up for it.

Despite the difficulties that come with combining multiple complex storylines, “Avengers: Infinity War” is a triumph of a film. Is it the best Marvel movie? No. Is it the best “Avengers” movie? Absolutely. Everything from the cinematography, to the character development, to the seamless mixing of all the past movies is executed immaculately. This is a must-see for die-hard comic fans, or any action lover who is just starting to get into the Marvel cinematic universe.