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Three Views: Avengers: Infinity War

April 26, 2018

Avengers: Infinity War Review By John Corrado

★★★½ (out of 4)

Back in 2008, the first Iron Man was released, forever changing the game in terms of both summer blockbusters and comic book movies, and setting the stage for the expansive and carefully orchestrated Marvel Cinematic Universe in the years to come.

Ten years and nineteen films later, we are finally starting to see the end game of this grand experiment with Avengers: Infinity War, a gigantic beast of a movie that brings together countless characters and pulls together multiple different story strands that were set up throughout the previous films.  And for the most part, this mashup works in a way that is a lot of fun to watch, while also taking some genuine narrative risks in where the story goes.

The Avengers have broken up following the events of Captain America: Civil War, but the disparate members of the team, along with other superheroes, must band together to take on Thanos (Josh Brolin).  The alien villain is zeroing in on collecting the six Infinity Stones that together will allow him to control the galaxy through a special gauntlet, and he plans on using them to carry out his twisted plan to restore balance in the universe by wiping out half of the population.

The main attraction of Avengers: Infinity War obviously lies in the sheer number of superheroes that have been assembled here.  The film reunites almost all of the original team members including Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), while also finding room for Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Vision (Paul Bettany) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), as well as the Wakandan warriors led by Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), and the Guardians of the Galaxy led by Star-Lord (Chris Pratt).  There is definitely a sense of giddy excitement in watching all of them come together, some of them for the first time, and there are plenty of memorable match-ups between the characters.

The action moves at a fast and furious pace, zipping between storylines and from one set-piece to another, with hardly any breathing room.  It’s pretty much a given that we will have already gotten to know all of these characters individually in the other films, and they aren’t all given equal amounts of screen time here.  If all of this sounds overwhelming, that’s because it kind of is at times, and the entire film has a sort of sugar rush quality to it.  But this is such a big, sprawling beast of a movie with so many moving parts, that it’s impressive in and of itself that so many of the individual scenes work as well as they do in favour of telling a cohesive story.  The sheer scope of it all is something to behold, and the film stages a multitude of thrilling sequences throughout the 149 minute running time.

While the story does have genuine stakes, and this is Marvel’s darkest film to date, Avengers: Infinity War also has a great deal of humour.  There are a lot of jokes and one-liners in between the action, and the majority of them land.  The Guardians are the standout additions here, and I found myself perking up every time they were onscreen.  They retain the same shaggy chemistry between them that made their standalone films such a blast, and it’s a genuinely inspired choice to have Thor team up with Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Teenaged Groot (Vin Diesel).  The film also delves deeper into the relationship between Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Thanos, serving to further develop his motivations as a villain, and in many ways providing the story’s emotional crux.

While it’s somewhat hard to judge this one entirely on its own until we see how everything resolves itself in the second instalment next year, as this is very much just the first half of a two-part ordeal, Avengers: Infinity War is still a blockbuster success.  It’s got a lot of great scenes, the interplay between characters is tons of fun to watch, and I admired the genuine risks that it takes.  Directors Anthony and Joe Russo also deserve major props for the gutsy choice they make to end the film on a somewhat abrupt and almost incredibly bleak note.  It definitely won’t be accused of playing it safe, that’s for sure.

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Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in Avengers: Infinity War

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Avengers: Infinity War Review By Erin Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

The entire Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), starting with Iron Man in 2008, has led up to this moment.  Each film has carefully introduced new characters and – starting with the very first Avengers film in 2012 – the story of Thanos’s quest to rule the universe has been carefully hidden throughout.

Over the course of the films we have been introduced to five out of the six ‘infinity stones’ which Thanos (Josh Brolin) seeks to bring together – the space stone in the Tesseract in Thor and The Avengers, the mind stone first used in Loki’s (Tom Hiddleston) sceptre in The Avengers and later used to give Vision (Paul Bettany) life, the time stone in the Eye of Agamoto time-altering device of Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), the reality stone in the form of the Aether in Thor: The Dark World, and the power stone in the Orb in Guradians of the Galaxy.  If all of the six stones come together on a gauntlet Thanos has made, he will have the power to wipe out half the universe with the snap of his fingers.

Avengers: Infinity War takes place immediately where the end credits scene of Thor: Ragnarok left off – with the Asgardian refugee ship helmed by Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki, under attack by Thanos.  This is not the first time Thanos has tangled with Asgardians, as he was revealed in previous films to be the hand controlling Loki in the first Avengers, and seeks the space stone he had hoped to gain from the Tesseract all those years ago.

Without spoiling anything, right off the bat we get our first look at what it’s like to go up against Thanos – even when you have a Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) on board your ship.  After this, the story switches to Earth for a bit where we catch up with the displaced Avengers (still broken up since Captain America: Civil War), and from here on out go back and forth between Earth and Space as it is a race across the galaxy to stop Thanos from acquiring all six stones into one place.

Almost everyone is in this film – the Guardians of the Galaxy led by Star-Lord (Christ Pratt), most of the Avengers (save for Hawkeye and Ant-Man), and the people of Wakanda led by Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman).  And Infinity War keeps things feeling fresh with new pairings of various characters – much like how the Hulk was paired with Thor and Loki in Ragnarok, here we get Thor with Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel) from Guardians of the Galaxy, Dr. Strange with Iron Man, Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Star-Lord, more interactions of Gamora (Zoe Saldana) with Thanos – continuing their story from GotG – and more.

Watching each of the well-known characters interact with each other (and not always get along), is entertaining since they are all such strong personalities that you can tell are bound to either clash or find the perfect partner for a fight.  The film does centre a fair bit on the action in space, keeping Thanos, Gamora, and Thor in the spotlight a lot, and it strikes a good balance with its many characters by honing in the focus when needed.  In fact, Thanos is an interestingly-written character in the sense that throughout the film we actually get a backstory for why he wants to do what he’s doing – as messed up as it may be.

Bringing so much together in one film was a risky move that was destined to either be a complete mess or actually work.  Luckily, Avengers: Infinity War actually does work – the directors (Anthony & Joe Russo) handle the multitude of storylines quite adeptly, and take risks within the film as well.  The ending (and beginning and middle) is sure to leave people waiting to see the second part of Infinity War next year since this is technically part one, (and I for one hope that it is a well-planned part two).

Overall, Avengers: Infinity War feels very much like the first part of a longer story, but that’s ok since we can expect that – it is still well done, engaging, and has plenty of action that will keep fans on the edge of their seats.  It will be interesting to see where the MCU takes things from here.

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Thanos (Josh Brolin) in Avengers: Infinity War

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Avengers: Infinity War Review By Tony Corrado

★★★½ (out of 4)

Avengers: Infinity Wars pits the corduroy-chinned giant Thanos (Josh Brolin), whose name is one syllable short of the Greek word for death thanatos, against many of the reunited Avengers teamed up with Dr. Strange, the Wakandans, and the Guardians (too numerous to list here–check out the poster). With his Infinity Gauntlet already encrusted with two of the Infinity Stones, Thanos is after the other four, with which he would be able to use mass death to restore “balance” in the universe.

According to the opening credits, this is the tenth anniversary feature from MARVEL STUD10S, directed by the Russo brothers, with great battle scenes alternating with excellent opportunities for the fine cast to play off each other, often with humour, especially once the Guardians meet the Avengers. The heavy symphonic Alan Silvestri score provides an appropriate accompaniment to the action.

Having sworn to not give away any spoilers, I can simply say that after about 2 1/2 hours, almost everyone stayed to the end of the credits for an extra scene, and we can’t wait for next year’s sequel.

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Consensus:​ Bringing together countless different superheroes from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Avengers: Infinity War is a gigantic and hugely entertaining blockbuster that works thanks to the great interplay between the characters, while taking genuine narrative risks and featuring a multitude of thrilling sequences. ★★★½ (out of 4)

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