Okay, first off, I’ve been avoiding writing a review of this movie purely because I’ve established that it’s nearly impossible to talk about it without spoilers. It could probably be done, but it would be a very half-assed review as I’d have to completely avoid talking about some of the key points of the film. And the thing is, I prefer writing spoiler-free reviews because I know most of the people looking for reviews are likely to be people who haven’t actually consumed the media for themselves yet.
That said, I’ve been desperately wanting to talk about this movie. So this will be (likely) one of my only SPOILER-FILLED reviews. And to ensure that no one accidentally glances past the post title and doesn’t realize that there are, in fact, spoilers in this particular review, I’m going to be peppering this image throughout the post:
So, without further ado, let’s get into it.
The first thing I want to mention about Infinity War is that it begins right where Thor: Ragnarok left off. That’s key information, I think, because I’ve been seeing lots of questions floating around on the internet along the lines of “Do I need to see [insert Marvel movie here] before I see Infinity War?”, and in the case of Thor: Ragnarok, the answer to that question is yes. I suppose you could see Infinity War without it, but you’re definitely going to be confused, at least in the beginning. That said, some other movies I’ve seen in relation to this question are not required watching. Black Panther, for instance. I’ve not seen Black Panther, and there was very little affect on Infinity War for me as a result. I missed a bit of character development on the part of the Wakandans, for sure, but it’s nothing that’s going to ruin the movie for anyone. Off the top of my head I’d say that absolute required watching before seeing Infinity War is The Avengers, Age of Ultron, and Thor: Ragnarok. Movies that would greatly enhance the experience but aren’t necessarily a requirement are Guardians of the Galaxy Parts 1 & 2, Doctor Strange, and Spider-Man: Homecoming (if only for the relationship between Peter Parker and Tony Stark).
Sticking with that opening for a bit, Infinity War sucker-punches you right from the beginning. There’s been a lot of speculation leading up to the film about whether or not Tom Hiddleston’s Loki would be one of the characters to fail to make it through the story-line, and we got that answer within the first few minutes. It is a horrifying moment, partially because it happens so quickly, and partially because we’ve all loved Loki’s progression throughout the films as he continued to be a conniving bastard while still growing emotionally enough to fight with and for his brother. I hated this moment so much, but I admit that it was an excellent way to introduce us, finally, to the horrifying character who is Thanos.
And that leads me into another thought, because Thanos, while definitely insane and horrifying in his methods, is a disturbingly sympathetic character. His ultimate goal is mass genocide on the universal scale, and yet, somehow, the combined efforts of the Infinity War team make Thanos a character whom we can understand. His motives, while they lead him down a truly disgusting road, actually make sense, and we can sympathize with the fact that he truly, genuinely believes that he is doing right by the universe. He sees himself as a hero, sacrificing what needs to be sacrificed for the greater good, even when that sacrifice is something he loves more than anything else.
Yeah, here’s another one I didn’t see coming. Well, actually, two things. First, on his journey to find the soul stone, Thanos – accompanied by Gamora – runs into a stranded Red Skull. That was an extremely unexpected cameo, and I know I wasn’t the only one who was surprised and amused, because our theater exploded when he was revealed. It was a very nice touch that, in a way, brought the whole story full circle, as it all technically started with him and Cap during the war. Second, after Thanos discovers he must trade the thing he loves in order to obtain the soul stone, he throws Gamora off the cliff while crying openly. It’s a double-whammy, because we see that emotional side of him and realize that yes, he is actually fully capable of love, and we also see another death in an unexpected moment. Seeing Gamora’s broken body at the bottom of that chasm genuinely shocked me, especially considering that neither Star Lord nor any of the other Guardians knew it was happening at the time.
At this point I want to mention that this film has a lot going on at once. While Thanos is with Gamora looking for the soul stone, half of the Avengers are in Wakanda on Earth, trying to remove the mind stone from Vision, while a group of others are inadvertently rushed across the galaxy in one of Thanos’ ships, eventually to meet half the Guardians, who are trying to track down Gamora, while the other half of the Guardians are with Thor as he seeks a new weapon that can defeat Thanos. There are so many characters jam-packed into this movie that you’d be forgiven for assuming that it was going to be a garbled, confusing mess. That’s certainly what I thought going into it! Yet I couldn’t have been any more wrong. Between the writing, the filming, and the editing, somehow everything was brought into this absolutely beautiful harmony. There are a dozen things going on at once, and yet it all flows together beautifully, no one character’s story stomping over another’s, everything working toward the endgame. It, quite honestly, was amazing that they managed to cram so much into a single film without making it four hours long. Entire series’ of TV shows haven’t managed to do so much with the time they’re given. Enormous kudos to everyone involved for that one.
There’s lots of other stuff I can talk about as well, such as how the movie was visually stunning, the performances were spot on with pretty much everyone, and how even though it’s a somber story-line, they still managed to sneak in some of that trademark Marvel movie humor (which I, personally, enjoy, and I will fight you if you start whining about it). The “I am Steve Rogers” line in particular cracked me up, seeing Bucky pick up Rocket and twirl him around during battle was absolutely brilliant, and the little one didn’t stop laughing about “Why is Gamora?” for days afterward. We were also introduced to some great villains in Thanos’ lackeys, and it was an absolute joy getting to see groups of characters who hadn’t previously met working together for the first time. Whether it was Tony Stark and Doctor Strange hurling barbs at each other, Star Lord getting incredibly and adorably jealous of Thor, or Bruce Banner finally returning to Earth and having barely a clue of what was going on there, it was just so much fun finally seeing all these characters mixed together.
But see, the first sentence of that last paragraph was intended to point out that I could easily talk about this movie forever, and there I went ahead and started rambling again. I was trying to get across the fact that I have to stop somewhere, or this “review” will be 5000 words of me gushing about how awesome the movie was.
So I’m going to finish off with one final paragraph about the ending, because, oh my dear lord…
Given that we all knew ahead of time that there was going to be another movie after this one, I went into Infinity War assuming that it would be about Thanos getting all but one of the infinity stones, probably killing a bunch of people on the way, and that the next movie would be the big epic battle to keep Thanos from completing his gauntlet. Much to my complete and utter shock, he actually completed the gauntlet in Infinity War, and with a literal snap of his fingers, achieved his goal of wiping out half the population of the entire universe. That hit hard in a special kind of way because it was the first real epic failure for the Avengers. The didn’t stop the bad guy – not in the least – and as a result trillions of people died in an instant. Of course, we are treated to a few painful scenes of watching half of our heroes die along with half the universe, and that brought plenty of surprises with it as well. Characters I expected to go didn’t, and others who did go came as a complete and utter shock. Some of the deaths were more emotional than others, but I have to conclude this review by insisting that Tom Holland should get a goddamn Oscar for his final scene. I was a little teary-eyed up to that point, but when Peter Parker threw himself around Tony Stark’s shoulders and practically begged for his life, crying, “I don’t wanna go, Mr Stark”, I literally lost it. That may have actually been the most emotion I’ve ever felt during a superhero movie, and the only thing that brought me back was my overly-confident little girl telling me, “It’s okay, mommy. I think they’re gonna fix it all in the next movie.”
So, basically, in conclusion: GO SEE INFINITY WAR IF YOU HAVEN’T. I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH, AND IF YOU DON’T CRY DURING THAT LAST SCENE YOU HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO GODDAMN HEART.
Have you seen Infinity War? Let me know what you thought of it in the comment section below!