FRED Watch Quickie Review: Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

MARVEL UNITED!

Welcome to FRED Watch, where we review everything from the mainstream to the obscure. Today’s film is the much-anticipated blockbuster, Avengers: Infinity War

Marvel Studios / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Kendall Richardson reviewing (2018):

The credits have finished rolling; the stinger scene fresh in my mind like everything else I have just witnessed. Then the lights in the theatre slowly wash over us all, telling us it’s over, we can go home. I sit in stunned silence, holding my friend’s hand, as we comfort each other, my tear-stained face proof of the sobs that caused it…

We had just experienced, not watched, experienced Avengers: Infinity War. You may laugh or judge but I assure you, this is no overreaction. The gamut of emotions we all felt through the film’s two-and-a-half-hour runtime was beyond anything I’ve ever felt from a movie before. This is proof of the power of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), the perfection of the writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, the mastery of directors the Russo brothers, and the unyielding dedication of producer Mr. Kevin Feige.

I think it is fair to say that no other film studio or movie franchise has ever accomplished a feat of this magnitude. This year marks ten years of the MCU, which started with 2008’s Iron Man; who would have thought that road would have lead us to this? I knew going into the cinema that this film would be a game changer, but I just had no idea how much.

Without getting too spoilery, here are some of my thoughts on what I loved and kinda disliked (?) about Avengers: Infinity War. My absolute favourite thing, and I’m sure most of you would agree, was the meet-ups of all our favourite characters—The Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers colliding for the first time. We knew it would be great and, by gosh, it did not disappoint. Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.)  and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) butting heads was a joyful explosion of egos; Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) feeling threatened by Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and trying to make himself sound like him was beyond wonderful; and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) bowing to T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) after Rhodey (Don Cheadle) made him do it as a joke was absolutely hysterical. The character moments of this film really make it worth your time, and that really comes down to each individual actor completely bringing it in their performances. (This review is my petition to give Chris Pratt and Tom Holland Oscar nominations FYI.)

Speaking of characters, there was one in particular that I feel didn’t get enough time to shine, and surprisingly, that was Captain America. However, this really is the nittiest of nitpicks, and it is understandable given that they had a gazillion characters to juggle here, which ultimately they really did pull off. But I felt Steve Rogers deserved a little more time than what was given to him. (Maybe we should have figured that out, considering he wasn’t featured too heavily in the trailers.) Still, Chris Evans gives a great performance as he always does, and Cap does get to do a hell of a lot of impressive fighting.

As for Thanos… well… let’s just say he may have dethroned Loki as the MCU’s best villain. Josh Brolin has crafted a career-defining performance as the Mad Titan, and the CGI is just off the charts extraordinary. Thanos turned out to be so much more than we thought. He is a complex character driven by somewhat understandable motivations and filled with a depth that only Loki could come close out of the whole MCU. This film really is his story and it is carried out in such a mind blowing way that you will be in shock. Thor, however, has to be my favourite character here. Aside from Thanos, he has the best arc and Chris Hemsworth has yet again knocked it out of the park with his portrayal; a combination of the humour of Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and the pathos of his earlier outings Thor (2011) and Thor: The Dark World (2013).

Avengers: Infinity War works best when taken in by the experienced Marvel viewer, but as an overall film, the casual fan will definitely get enjoyment out of it and connect with it on an emotional level. It simply is just a really good movie and probably the best comic book movie ever made. You will laugh, you will certainly cry, and you will feel every moment along with our heroes on the big screen as they make a last stand against their greatest foe yet. Thanos is a being of the likes we have never seen before, wreaking havoc everywhere he goes. Brace yourselves for that opening scene though, it’s a doosy. And the wait for Avengers 4 begins. Only 52 weeks to go…

6 Infinity Stones out of 6

Wayne Stellini reviewing (2020):

The nineteenth film in the blockbuster Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) was met with much hype and anticipation upon its initial release for fans who had waited patiently for the ultimate grudge match.

As a standalone pic, Anthony and Joe Russo’s Avengers: Infinity War is an incoherent mess, and nothing more than a compilation of rumbles in multiple jungles with limited time to invest in or develop characters. But this film was never meant to be your introduction to the MCU and nor was meant to simply stand alone.

As with any long-running saga, Avengers: Infinity War works far better than it should because of the time it has taken to delve into its characters, many plot lines, and overarching storyline up to this point. While numerous superheroes will occasionally appear in one another’s films, it is really in the Avengers titles that fans get their money’s worth.

So, with eighteen movies behind it, Avengers: Infinity War easily achieves what it sets out to do… and then some. With so many characters thrown into the mix, it is a joy to see heroes meeting for the first time and fighting alongside one another for a greater good. The scenes on Wakanda—the fictional nation looks far more polished than it did in Black Panther (2018)—showcases the ultimate battle, but there are plenty preceding it to keep you entertained.

Because this movie is all about cartoonish combats, and let’s not pretend otherwise, it runs at a neck-break pace, so unlike most of its predecessors, you never notice the extensive runtime. The film knows when to take a breather, too, allowing us to finally get some depth into villain Thanos (an excellent Josh Brolin). The clarity and simplicity of Thanos’ ultimate goal and method of balance in the universe gives him an underlying passive menace; Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have written his scenes quite well, so Thanos’ final moment on screen solidifies him as a figure who wants more than to merely see the universe turn to dust.

Combating him, a sizeable number of familiar faces are suited up once more and do a fine job reprising the roles that have immortalised them in popular culture discourse, though Zoe Saldana (as Gamora) and Tom Holland (as Spider-Man) are particular highlights here. And while not given much to do, it was a pleasure seeing Sebastian Stan as Winter Soldier “Bucky” again. It was also refreshing to see that Benedict Cumberbatch’s Dr. Strange was much better written this time around. (See: 2016’s Doctor Strange).

Overall, Avengers: Infinity War has been made for fans and it will not disappoint. From the epic scale of the unfolding narrative to the cast of thousands (real-life and digital), to Alan Silvestri’s score and a final act that has a similar emotional punch to the excellent James Bond franchise entry On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), Avengers: Infinity War will have fans begging for the next round. 4½ / 5

 

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Peter Dinklage, Benedict Wong, Pom Klementieff, Karen Gillan, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, William Hurt, Kerry Condon [voice], Winston Duke, Florence Kasumba, Jacob Batalon, Isabella Amara, Tiffany Espensen, Ethan Dizon, Samuel L. Jackson [uncredited], Cobie Smulders [uncredited], Terry Notary, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Carrie Coon, Michael James Shaw, Ross Marquand [voice], Stan Lee [cameo], Stephen McFeely [cameo], Kenneth Branagh [voice cameo].

Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo | Producer: Kevin Feige | Writers: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (based on The Avengers by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby) | Music: Alan Silvestri | Cinematographer: Trent Opaloch | Editors: Jeffrey Ford, Matthew Schmidt

Available: Disney+, Google Play, and YouTube.

Let us know what you thought of this film in the comments!

 

You’ve just experienced FRED Watch.


Kendall Richardson’s review was first published on Thursday, 3 May 2018. It was updated to include Wayne Stellini’s review and the film’s online viewing availability on Wednesday, 29 April 2020.


RELATED POST: Countdown to Avengers: Infinity War with Kendall Richardson ⬇︎

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