“In time, you will know what it’s like to lose. To feel so desperately that you’re right. Yet to fail all the same. Dread it. Run from it. Destiny still arrives.”
That’s right, The Mad Titan has arrived to wreck shop in Avengers: Infinity War. With the culmination of a decade-long shared cinematic universe finally upon us, questions will finally be answered. Who lives? Who dies? And where is the Soul Stone? Let’s find out as we get into this spoiler review.
The tone of the movie is set right off the bat as Loki, Heimdall, and the rest of the surviving Asgardians are killed by Thanos and his Black Order. The immediate scenes of death should tell fans that the stakes are incredibly high and no one will be safe from the Mad Titan. Speaking of Thanos, he is hands down the best villain in the MCU. I would also contend that he very well could be the best comic book movie villain ever as well. His character is superbly fleshed out in ways that no prior villain has been. He’s not the typical mustache-twirling bad guy that just “wants to watch the world burn”. He has purpose and drive and is extremely calculating. What the Russo Brothers did with this character was simply phenomenal. For a being that wants to kill half of all life in the universe, viewers of the film are made to empathize with this genocidal maniac at times.
Infinity War really is all about Thanos if you think about it. We get a lot of his back story including his relationship with Gamora, his reasoning for his “madness”, and more screen time than any other MCU villain to date. The broad range of emotion and character development for this villain is unprecedented, especially in the MCU that has had a very tough time giving us villains that matter.
Looking at the heroes, everyone is present save for Hawkeye and Ant-Man. Their absence is briefly explained away by Black Widow, who says that they’re “on house arrest” and “dealing with their families”. Their presence isn’t really missed, however, as the rest of the roster has plenty to do in combating this threat. The Black Order (Ebony Maw, Proxima Midnight, Corvus Glaive & Cull Obsidian) are a formidable bunch and give the Avengers all they can handle throughout this film as they are tasked with helping Thanos obtain all 6 Infinity Stones. Thanos quickly obtains the Power Stone and Space Stone at the onset of the film, already making him nearly invincible from the start.
One of the best parts of Infinity War is how the Russo Brothers divvied up the screen time. With so many heroes and villains alike, having different teams in different locations was a great call. Cap’s team, mainly consisting of himself, Black Widow, War Machine, Falcon, Vision, Scarlet Witch and later Black Panther & Banner, spend the majority of their time in Wakanda. Their epic fight scene against Proxima Midnight, Corvus Glaive and Thanos’ Outriders, was outstanding. Returning to Wakanda right away as Black Panther is still in theatres (at the time of this review) was a brilliant way to bring fans of that film back to fill theatre seats. All of the Wakandan warriors are also present to stave off the invasion, which is a sight to behold.
The “space team” consisting of Iron Man, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange and the Guardians took the fight to Thanos in new locations like Thanos’ homeworld, Titan. Seeing the Guardians meeting these heroes was a really great payoff and echoed some of Civil War, as they initially began fighting with each other before coming together. The banter between Star-Lord and Tony was a lot of fun, as they butted heads for the sake of their egos.
Thor is the wild card of the film, meeting up with the Guardians initially before taking off on a quest to forge a new weapon with Rocket and Groot. Seeing Thor travel to the dying star where Mjolnir was created was a deep cut and added layers to his mythos. Another cool part in these sequences was the addition of Game of Thrones actor Peter Dinklage as Eitri the Dwarf. Though not much was revealed about the character, it was told that Thanos killed the rest of the Dwarf workers after they created the Infinity Gauntlet. Eitri is angry at Thor for not protecting them, but still helps him create his new weapon, Stormbreaker, which comes into play later during the Wakanda battle in an awesome way.
Throughout the film, Thanos is able to indeed collect all 6 Infinity Stones. He obtains the Reality Stone from The Collector on Knowhere, the Time Stone from Doctor Strange, the Mind Stone from Vision and the Soul Stone from…RED SKULL! That’s right, you read that correctly, Red Skull finally makes his return to the MCU after being teleported by the Tesseract in The First Avenger. We finally find out just where he was taken, as Gamora reveals the stone’s location on the planet Vormir. As Thanos and Gamora trek up a mountain on Vormir, they encounter what appears to be a hooded apparition that turns out to be Red Skull, who tells Thanos that the only way to obtain the stone is to sacrifice the soul of a loved one for it. Thanos, after inner turmoil, throws Gamora off of the cliff, allowing him to obtain the Soul Stone. With the Infinity Gauntlet assembled, Thanos now holds complete power in the palm of his hands.
There’s not much to dislike about this film. Sure, I’ve ranted about the unnecessary use of humor in the MCU. While there certainly is some of that taking place in Infinity War, chiefly with the Guardians, most of the humor was pretty well-placed and worked, at least for me. However, I would like to point out some of the gripes that I did have.
Doctor Strange yields that Time Stone to Thanos to save Tony from being killed. Knowing that once Thanos has all 6 Stones and he’ll be able to destroy everything anyway, I didn’t see the point in just giving it to him without a fight. There is one glimmer of hope here, as at one point Strange remarks that he had “future visions” where Thanos was successful over 14 million times while only failing just once. Could that one time he failed be a time where he gave up the Time Stone? Thanos has already obtained the Power Stone before the film begins and in a passing remark Thor tells that he got it by destroying Xandar, as the stone was given to the Nova Corps by the Guardians previously. The destruction of Xandar should have been shown to really hammer home how powerful Thanos is.
I previously mentioned the absence of Hawkeye and Ant-Man, and while I wasn’t bothered by it, I feel like better reasoning could have been given. Obviously Ant-Man & The Wasp is due up next and the film likely takes place during the events of Infinity War. If that is the case, one would think that universal destruction would supersede whatever smaller arc that film will have, but we’ll have to wait and see. Hawkeye should have at least made a small appearance to help his comrades.
Some of the characters that didn’t have much screen time or much to do were Banner, T’Challa and Bucky. Sure, we saw the Hulk at the beginning of the film as he got handled by Thanos, but after that Banner couldn’t turn back into everyone’s favorite green rage monster. Banner would spend time in the Hulkbuster armor during the Wakanda battle scene, but trailers showed Hulk running along with the rest of the team, so what gives? Bucky joins in on the fun in Wakanda after getting a new arm, but isn’t shown all that much. He does have a cool scene with Rocket, though. And T’Challa, though he leads his forces into battle, doesn’t have much else to do in a major way. His presence should have been greater considering Black Panther just broke a boatload of box office records.
Though the main focus was on Thanos, Infinity War really did a great job establishing new relationships and rekindling old ones. The tones of Civil War are still present, as the Sokovia Accords are again mentiond by Rhodey during a conversation with Thunderbolt Ross. Rhodey dismisses Ross’s hologram as Cap, Widow and Falcon return to the Avengers Facility before taking off for Wakanda. Tony is hesitant to call Rogers during the film, but Banner takes the phone and gets the band back together.
Peter Parker has some great moments with Tony and Doctor Strange during their space ventures, defeating Ebony Maw and taking on Thanos. Peter’s Iron Spider suit comes into play multiple times, as it utilizes the iconic legs to help save him from danger. Perhaps one of the greatest relationships featured in the film was that of Vision and Scarlet Witch. They’re shown initially in Scotland before being attacked by Proxima and Corvus. As Thanos is coming for his Mind Stone, Wanda is desperate to save his life. Vision eventually begs her to destroy the Stone so that Thanos can’t have it, which he knows will in turn kill him. Her decision to ultimately follow through on his plea is nullified by the power of the Time Stone, where Thanos brings him back only to rip it out of hs head, killing him. Wanda not only has to kill her beloved, but has to watch him resurrected and killed again. This parallels the scene where Thanos has to make the choice to kill Gamora to get the Soul Stone. The theme of sacrifice is ever-present throughout Infinity War in multiple ways.
If you’ve read the Infinity War comic arc, you might have had an idea how this film ends…with the snap of a finger. Thanos, successfully assembling the Infinity Gauntlet, snaps his fingers, causing half of all life to disintegrate. Various shots show our heroes turning to ash and crumbling away: Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Groot, Star-Lord, Drax, Mantis, Bucky, Falcon, Scarlet Witch…all gone.. With just a few heroes remaining, how could they possibly restore the lives of their fallen friends? Is it even a possibility?
The lone end-credit scene shows Nick Fury and Maria Hill in a car that nearly gets into an accident. Upon inspecting the other vehicle, they notice no one is in there. Surrounding citizens also begin disintegrating as cars crash and helicopters fall from the sky, signaling Thanos’ victory. Hill also vanishes and as Fury begins to do so, he’s able to send out a distress signal to…Carol Danvers herself, Captain Marvel, who will be getting her own solo film in 2019.
Infinity War is a film that will certainly require numerous viewing to fully comprehend everything that happened during this whirlwind. This film absolutely lived up to every expectation that I had in so many ways. Though we didn’t get any of the characters currently owned by FOX (X-Men, Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer, etc.) once that deal is finalized I have every confidence that a new team of heroes will be tasked in taking down Thanos. Fans of the source material that were expecting Adam Warlock to appear may be disappointed by his absence, but the work-around with that and the Soul Stone arc was done in a satisfying way. The fight is far from over. However bleak the future may seem for the remaining Avengers, there is still a 1 in 14 million chance that they will win the day.
I leave the rest to you: Did Infinity War live up to your expectations? Is Thanos the greatest villain we’ve ever seen? Can the Avengers even defeat him? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!