Warning: Major movie spoilers ahead.
Fun isn't something one considers when balancing the universe. But this...
does put a smile on my face.
After an almost a decade development, you might have expected Disney to grant the greatest fan service with the casting of 76 characters all across Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. They will finally team up to defeat their one common enemy. Finally, the heroes will triumph because the good always wins... NAH!
Avengers: The Infinity War is the third installment of the Avengers franchise and the nineteenth film of the MCU saga. The story sets just days after the events in Thor: Ragnarok when one of its post-credit scenes revealed that Thanos’ ship loomed over Thor and Loki’s spacecraft. He is now after the six infinity stones to achieve his ultimate goal of genocide to create a more sustainable future for the universe.
This film is a fun, gripping, emotional, and thrilling ride filled with larger-than-life characters. It can be overwhelming and uneven at times but it’s one of the MCU’s finest works to date. Infinity War explored how expanded MCU is through multiple subplots are interwoven into a single epic. Here’s my breakdown of what elements and storyline stood out in the film, its flaws, and Infinity War’s implication to the future of MCU:
First, the Basics: Awesome Visuals, Excellent Score, Great Acting and Superb Directing
Anthony and Joe Russo returned to direct this film after their success with the two previous Captain America films: The Winter Soldier and Civil War. They brought their signature shaky-cam break-neck shots during most of the pivotal action scenes that actually really works with the movie’s tone. Unlike in the Civil War, those shots are fewer in this film. They tried to incorporate some of the wider and steady shots, especially the ones during the Battle of Wakanda.
I kinda prepared myself to see seamless visuals because of its mammoth budget. True enough, the visual elements, both the natural and computer-generated ones, looks great. However, the CGI can still be tweaked. That gets me excited as a Marvel fan because I know as time goes by; the technology will be so advanced that the CGI in film will look hyper-realistic. On the other hand, the scenes shot outside the bounds of a green screen pop out. The nit and gritty of the action scenes in a natural setting is just stunning to look at most of the times.
The score by Alan Silvestri is just amazing. An excellent music score for me is something that doesn’t distract you from the film itself. Rather, it lures you in to invest in a scene even more. During the most emotional and nail-biting moments in Infinity War, that score added some kick, making the viewers empathize more to what the characters are going through at that moment.
The acting performances are all on-point. Tom Holland as Spider-Man and Zoe Saldana as Gamora stood out among the heroes. However, I would give a well-deserved standing ovation for Josh Brolin. The motion capture was done so well along with his voice work for Thanos.
Well-Developed Characters and Great Sub-team Dynamics
From the previous MCU films, we now have a clear picture of what the characters are like. Drax is still the muscular comedic relief. Spiderman is still your high school friendly neighborhood with his usual pop culture references. This film delves into the psyche of key characters like Gamora with his relationship with Thanos, Tony Stark’s struggles with his PTSD and ultimate fear, Thor with his lost, and Scarlet Witch’s dilemma during one of the last parts of the movie.
The back stories are established well so we get to see where the characters are coming from, especially Thanos. He is a clever and scary villain. It’s amazing how the writers found a way to ground his character through his dialogues and flashbacks with Gamora.
Although there are times when the characters move out of their impulse, we understand their motivation and reason for doing so.
The heroes are divided into sub-teams, which followed a different storyline. I love how each one’s characteristics complement and contrast each other. Doctor Strange and Tony Stark canceled each other out. They can be called as ‘frienemies’. Rocket Raccoon and Thor’s personalities meshed really well. However, I found that Black Panther, Hulk, and Black Widow were underutilized in this film. Although they had their mini-moments, I don’t think that is the best that they can do.
A Messy Yet Engaging Story with High Stakes
Infinity War ties up with the previous MCU films well. It is cohesive with Thor: Ragnarok, Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the first two Avengers film. I like how Thor‘s character developed since Ragnarok. He became chiller but without forgetting what he has been through to get there as it showed on his recollection while talking to the Guardians.
He proved that he’s not only as strong as his hammer. It takes great resilience to endure his loss on Asgard and Loki’s death. Peter Dinklage role as Eitri, a giant dwarf who forged Thor’s new hammer. Watch out for him (or Stormbreaker, at least) because he may have a crucial role to play in Avengers 4.
Gamora was tasked to find the Soul stone by Thanos himself. With her alliance shifting to the Guardians of the Galaxy, she refused to let Thanos know the whereabouts of the stone. She would have to lead Thanos to Vormir to stop him from torturing Nebula. In the previous GOTG films, we saw a very complicated relationship between the father and his daughters. Thanos always favored Gamora, which led to the most difficult decision of his life: sacrificing the one that he loved the most in exchange for the Soul Stone.
After they escaped from the raft in Civil War, Scarlett Witch moved to Scotland where she was visited frequently by Vision. Just as when they felt they were free to love each other, Thanos went after the Mind Stone, which Vision had. This lead to Scarlett Witch’s hardest sacrifice to destroy the Mind stone while killing her love in the process.
Every character moves with a sense of purpose and desperation. One wrong action could turn everything around. What I love the most about Infinity War is sacrificing the bonds the characters’ formed in order to accomplish their goals. We saw them grew and formed strong bonds in the previous MCU movies that raised the stakes even higher. It just goes to show that they are not perfect and still vulnerable to loss, grief, and anxiety.
Perfect Blend of Humor but the Tones are All over the Place
Infinity War has the right amount of humor scattered in different instances. This film is darker than most MCU films yet it still manages to make some situational jokes on cue. Despite that, the film’s tone and pacing can be messy at times because of the different subplots. It’s perfectly understandable since it jumped from one scene to another briskly. It doesn’t give enough time to the viewers to absorb what just happened.
The ending part is just compelling. All emotions reached their peak and as the tension subsided, the movie delivered what it promised in the trailers: sheer hopelessness.
Themes Such as the perfect Balance and Utilitarianism
Other than self-sacrifice and friendship, the movie tackles balance as its central theme. Even the poster proves this point:
In one scene, Thanos even talked about the importance of balance as he gave Gamora a double-ended dagger.
"When I'm done, half of humanity will still exist. Perfectly balanced, as all things should be. I hope they remember you."
Any other villain would dream of taking over an entire universe. Thanos is different. He just dreamed that everything is still in control. And, everyone lives in one perfect balance. That’s why he led to a Utilitarianist point of view.
“With all six stones, I can simply snap my fingers, they would all cease to exist. I call that mercy.”
“And then what?”
“I finally rest, and watch the sunrise on a grateful universe.”
The Mad Titan just wanted to commit a wrongdoing for a greater good. Some may even side with him on this idea. How is he different from the heroes we love? We can’t really classify him as ‘evil’. Thanos thinks that the end justifies the means.
The ending showed an anti-thesis to what Thanos believes in. Most of the heroes ceased to exist and the dream of a perfect balance is just a guise for tipping the scale into what he wanted for the universe.
The Implications and Few Theories
I was so satisfied leaving the theatre after watching this movie. However, there was something about it that really bothered me. I am actually afraid that Disney had put all the good stuff into one basket that there’ll be nothing left for the next Avengers movies.
By the end of the movie, the original Avengers from 2012 remained along with few others like Star-Lord. Although most of the heroes are gone, with the existence of the Infinity Stones, the concept of death is skewed. Most especially, the Time stone could still be used to reverse all the deaths and disappearances. Like, no one is really dead unless those stones are destroyed.
My biggest issue is how the Avengers can defeat such an ethereal force that can control basically everything. In the post-credit scene, we saw Nick Fury sending a message to Captain Marvel before he disintegrated. How can she make a difference?
I think that the Stormbreaker will play a major role in Avengers 4. In order to defeat a god-like force, you need a god-like force too. Thor almost succeeded in killing Thanos with that weapon. Unfortunately, he “didn’t aim for the head”.
Avengers: Infinity War has lots in store for MCU fans. It is rich with complex characters, great antagonist, well-crafted storylines, and dark themes. Although it sometimes suffered from tonal and pacing issues, it definitely gave DCEU a run for its money.