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‘Avengers: Infinity War’ (review by Sharon Knolle)

Produced by Kevin Feige
Screenplay by Christopher Markus,
Stephen McFeely

Directed by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth,
Mark Ruffalo, Benedict Cumberbatch,
Chadwick Boseman, Tom Hiddleston,
Tom Holland, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Pratt,
Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Don Cheadle,
Josh Brolin, Paul Bettany, Dave Bautista,
Elizabeth Olsen, Sebastian Stan, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anthony Mackie, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel,
Danai Gurira, Benedict Wong, Letitia Wright,
Winston Duke, Pom Klementieff

 

I won’t be revealing any spoilers in this review except to say bring someone with you so you can hash it out afterwards. Audiences will leave Avengers: Infinity War with their jaws on the floor, but not in the way you might expect.

There are several crowd-pleasing scenes that will have you cheering and some that will leave you gasping.

Die-hard Marvel fans can’t miss it: Casual fans might get lost.

Pretty much everyone in the Marvel Cinematic Universe joins forces to save the universe from the unstoppable Thanos (Josh Brolin) in this much-anticipated crossover. Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (as well as the Guardians, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man and Black Panther) are practically elbowing each other out of the way for the higher cause here, so of course there’s a death toll.

To say that the stakes have never been higher is a ridiculous understatement. And the film rises to that challenge, despite having to juggle so many characters, locations and conflicts.

Infinity War repeats what worked so wonderfully in the first Avengers: The delightful ego clashes, misunderstandings, and new nicknames that result from characters used to being the center of their own universes crossing paths for the first time.

Watching Tony Stark meet (and raise an incredulous eyebrow) at Doctor Strange and Peter Quill is alone worth the price of admission.

A surprising amount of characters make an appearance, but only a few get a real story arc or significant screen time. It’s a testament to the strength of these characters that even brief scenes can be satisfying. A few get short-changed (including some of your favorites, probably), but that’s unavoidable.

Disregard the cast listing on IMDb, by the way. Unless some of those actors are in deleted scenes, it’s not accurate as I write this.

I won’t reveal all of the unexpected team-ups here (the above-mentioned meet-ups were all in pre-release trailers), but it’s worth noting that Thor retains much of his jokey persona from Thor: Ragnarok, which helps make his story line one of the most enjoyable.

With so many smart-asses vying for the spotlight, the film does dish out a few too many one-liners. But the balance tilts more towards mayhem and tragedy as the film goes on: As Thanos adds Infinity Stones to his specially-forged gauntlet, he gets closer to being able to fulfill his twisted plan of killing half the universe.

Like Black Panther‘s Killmonger, Thanos’s motivation is understandable: He doesn’t want to see people starve or societies fail due to overpopulation. But his chosen solution is so extreme that it defies imagination.

Despite the Hulk-sized Thanos being entirely CGI, Brolin’s performance (and the FX that brings Thanos to life) stands among the best of Marvel’s villains. Although, for my money, he still can’t beat Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger or Tom Hiddleston as Loki, who didn’t have to act via motion-capture or from behind a mask.

The film delivers terrific characters beats and interactions and stunning battle scenes. If it’s a bit too heavy on the CGI, well, that’s to be expected.

We’re going to be debating what this film means for the rest of the MCU for a long time. Or at least until the next MCU film comes out.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

 

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