The Russo Brothers bring to the screen a war which has been ten years in the making. The Marvel Cinematic Universe began ten years ago with the successful adaptation of Iron Man, and everything since has led to this moment – hardcore fans will experience so much during Avengers: Infinity War, that is, except disappointment, for this is Marvel’s most thrilling endeavour yet. Those not so invested, however, will surely remain skeptical of the sub-genres increasing popularity, and what this means for the future of blockbuster entertainment.
The third Avengers installment is, above all, ambitious. For a decade, audiences have enjoyed numerous narratives which boast a range of colourful characters immersed in high-concept spectacle. Here, they all come together. The intergalactic warlord, Thanos, has been teased as a crucial part of this universe for a long time, and it is now time for him to step forward and confirm his threatening role in our heroes demise. He is in search of the infinity stones, of which will give him power over all that is living, and this possibility promises to destroy mankind as we know it. The Avengers must form an alliance with a range of familiar faces to stop him, resulting in a relentless battle much more complex than good and evil.
The film’s exposition sums up perfectly why the franchise is so entertaining, yet equally, why it fails to be truly dramatic. The opening immediately demands the viewer to pay attention; there is weight to the images, and such weight comes from an already established relationship between the viewer and the characters. These are characters we have grown to know, and at this point in the wider narrative of the film series, the threat of endangerment feels like it may have finally caught up with them. Thanos is calm and collected, and this fearless confidence makes him immediately intimidating, and his actions quickly act as statement: this time, the stakes are higher than ever before. It’s a great scene, however, the drama and crushing atmosphere are suddenly undermined with the insistence of humour, of which – even for Marvel – feels sorely misplaced; it’s odd that a mere throwaway quip can serve to dash such emotional promise. It almost feels like the writer’s cannot resist trying to raise a chuckle, as if they think so little of their audience to assume that if they’re not laughing, then they must not be entertained. Such early comedic interference is a shame, because for the majority of the film, the humour actually works, with the protagonists from the hit-sensation Guardians of the Galaxyproviding some laugh-out-loud moments; the chemistry between these actors really is terrific.
Squeezing in so many main characters sounds like a foolish direction to head towards, but quite miraculously, Anthony and Joe Russo pull it off tremendously. It feels like an equal amount of time is spent with all of them, showing fans that they are all uniformly important in their quest. Seeing all of these heroes on-screen together finally is undeniably impressive. The set-pieces are terrific, and one is constantly aware that this is a blockbuster of the grandest possible scale and scope. The scenery on Wakanda wonderfully compliments the battle sequences, of which are also excellently shot; such scenes are testament to their creators accomplishment in crafting the Avengers’ boldest outing yet, and while Marvel seem to have finally found a villain worthy of fearing, some recurring issues are more prominent than ever.
The pressing issue with the film is that it conjures the impression of being ballsy, when in fact, it is anything but. The last act tries to raise the stakes higher than ever before, yet surely by now the team behind the MCU would assume that their audience know better. The last act fails to possess the weight it wishes to achieve due to the sheer status of the wider franchise. These are all characters which have their own series of movies, and with this, the potential for financial profit; it now feels like the characters have become property, valuable commodities that the studio will refuse to let go of. Admittedly, the film’s closing image is a powerful one, and the bind our team of heroes have found themselves in is suffocating, but sadly, this is only the beginning in an ongoing tale.
Avengers: Infinity Waris a product of the Marvel machine, it isn’t finished, and while that is entirely their decision, it would have been great to witness a solid finale. Instead, the film eventually feels like a two and a half hour long serial, and while it could have made a historical mark on the franchise, it instead opts for the more profitable alternative, issuing audiences with the film’s final statement, of which is, “stay tuned”.