avengers infinity warMarvel / Disney
2018
PG-13

“I’m gonna ask you this one time. Where is Gamora?”
“Yeah, I’ll do you one better. Who is Gamora?”
“I’ll do you one better. Why is Gamora?”

So, then. The third Avengers movie, and the first part of a two-parter that is promising to shake everything up in the cinematic Marvel Universe. Well, now. That’s a big promise, there. While I loved the first Avengers movie, the second one was kind of lackluster, and really, neither did really set my fanboy world ablaze at the time. I do admit, though, that the Marvel movies leading up to Infinity War these past couple of years have been ramping up in the quality story-wise (Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarök, Black freakin’ Panther…need I go on?), so there was actual hope that Infinity War will live up to all the hype and blow me away with sheer awesomeness.

Going into this, already the scope was BIG by sheer numbers: Avengers Infinity War features almost everybody in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, save for Ant Man. I mean, they could have started off the movie by a big rendition of the song “Hey A Movie!” from The Great Muppet Caper (“Starring everybody, and meeeee!”). As a matter of fact…why wasn’t that a thing? Disney owns the Muppets, right? That could have been shoehorned in there easily. Thor and Loki could have a choreographed dance number. But, I digress. Point is, the stakes for this movie were already pretty high by the amount of crossover team-ups going on. This had the potential of falling flatter than the Justice League movie.

Fortunately, my natural tendency to expect the worst was proven wrong.

I take a break in this rambling review to state that, although it’s been a few weeks since the opening of this movie, there will be SPOILERS ahead, so be ye warned if, for some reason, you haven’t seen this yet. Though, I can’t fathom why.

Starting off almost immediately after the post-credit scene from Thor: Ragnarök, Thanos has killed almost everyone on the ship carrying all the Asgardian refugees, save for Thor, Loki, Heimdall and the Hulk. After single-handedly giving the smackdown to the Hulk and shiving Loki for the Space Stone, the Hulk is transported back to Earth by Heimdall, and Thor is tossed into space. Hulk crashes into the New York Sanctum Sanctorum of Doctor Strange, and — after reverting back to Bruce Banner — warns Strange about Thanos’ mad plan to eradicate half of all life in the universe, and is on his way to get the Time Stone from Strange. Recruiting Iron Man, they all put of a valiant fight against the henchmen Thanos sent, but Strange gets captured and taken into space, but not before Iron Man and a newly suited Spider-Man hitch a ride on their ship. Meanwhile, the Scarlet Witch and Vision are attacked by two more henchmen, but are saved by the arrival of Captain America, Black Widow and the Falcon. Thor is rescued by the Guardians of the Galaxy, and after a hilarious interchange between Thor and Starlord, Thor goes off with Rocket and a teenage Groot to the place where his original hammer was forged to make a new weapon to fight Thanos, while Starlord, Gamora, Drax and Mantis head back to Knowhere to try and save the Reality Stone, only to find that Thanos beat them there and has it in his possession.

With us so far? Good. Proceeding…

Thanos kidnaps Gamora to get the location of the Soul Stone, then after traveling to the location, has to reluctantly kill Gamora in order to gain possession of the stone. Trust me, it’s a rather harrowing scene to get through. Iron Man, Spider-Man and Strange run into Starlord, Drax and Mantis on Thanos’ homeworld of Titan, hatching a plan to remove the gauntlet from him, as there seems to be only one outcome of several million that results in the mad Titan losing. They almost succeed, until Starlord loses his otherwise cherub-like demeanor after learning that Thanos killed Gamora. Finally gaining the Time Stone, Thanos heads back to Earth to get the Mind Stone from Vision, who is in Wakanda, where the entire Wakandian army is lead by Black Panther, along with Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes, Banner in the Hulk Buster suit (because Hulk hasn’t wanted to smash after the beatdown at the beginning of the movie), and the newly hammered Thor is taking down Thanos’ horde. Everything is looking good for our heroes…until Thanos shows up. Then everyone is screwed. Seriously. It ends with the bad guy winning. Enjoy the rest of your day, folks.

Once again, Disney has proven that they are now the overlords of the movie releases now. With Marvel, just in this year alone (and it’s not even halfway through the year yet), they’ve already made all the money and broke all the records with Black Panther. Just a couple of months later, and they manage to once again blow everything out of the water with Infinity War. I’m not exaggerating. I don’t think anyone was expecting what happened in this movie. Not only did Avengers Infinity War manage to handle three major plot threads and weave them together into an epic story, it did so without sacrificing character development and story quality. What was truly amazing was that the character of Thanos — who could have easily been a paint-by-numbers Big Evil (see: Steppenwolf from The Justice League movie) — was given depth and motivation beyond “I’m just evil, it’s what I do”. There’s a scene where you start feeling some compassion for him, and kind of see things his way…although, he’s still a despot that’s committing mass genocide on an intergalactic scale, so he’s still the bad guy, make no doubt.

The writing was great, managing to keep all the different characters’ individual qualities. I like that eye for character detail they adhere to, going so far as bringing in James Gunn to write the parts for the Guardians Of The Galaxy to keep the continuity going. The result is some fantastic — and not to mention hilarious — interactions between the heroes during the conflict. Pretty much everyone gets a chance to shine, here. And by the time it gets to the end, you’re left with a feeling of being punched in the stomach by the Hulk himself.

Yeah, Avengers Infinity War is a bleak and dark entry in the series. Some say this is the Empire Strikes Back of the Avengers movies; I say that Avengers Infinity War makes Empire Strikes Back look like minor inconvenience. Walking out of the theater after the post-credit scene that sets up the next couple of Marvel movies to come, there were several children — and a few adults as well — that were crying due to the final few moments of the movie. People die. Characters you didn’t see coming, that you thought were safe from destruction. So much so, that I began wondering if Joss Wheadon didn’t have a hand in writing the final part of the script.

Enough of me going on and on with the review. If you haven’t seen Avengers Infinity War yet at this point, what are you waiting for? Go see this. Now. Stop reading this and go.

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