A few blockbuster movies ago, I decided I’d had it with modern movie trailers. They spoil too much, take away from beautiful and powerful moments, and have the propensity to diminish the movie-going experience. My passion has only increased on this stance after suffering through the general public salivating for every new Infinity War trailer the last several months, and being “unable” to watch; I literally predicted (as I watched the film for the first time) which moments had been in the trailers, and was met with startling accuracy when I finally did watch them. That’s a dissertation for another day, but I start there to say this: the notes I took during the film are almost entirely filled with shock and wonderment. There are so many exclamation points and expletives and half-words where I have literally interrupted myself in scrawling, barely-legible handwriting. I probably had the most emotional time of anyone in the theater tonight; that also means I am the most in need of a rewatch, in order to have a less emotionally charged response.
So this isn’t an objective “review”. There are so many major outlets that write excellent reviews of varying detail. This one from ComicBook.com is the one I most relate with thus far. It’s generally spoiler-free, if you’ve been watching trailers, etc, though I may have been slightly disappointed to read it in advance.
Some people like my friend Patty do a superb job of breaking down which kids should or should not see MCU films, Avengers: Infinity War included. Instead, this will be what you might have come for if you already know you’re going to see it, and just want to know whether it will be worth your time.
TL;DR: It will.
What Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War Gets So Very Right
I kind of wish I could have live tweeted this movie – if only because I think my reactions could’ve given some people a laugh. I’m pretty sure if someone saw my notes, they’d have enough grounds to question my sanity. I’m ok with that; the fact that I was fidgety and my heart was racing before the movie began made it clear that I’m probably a little too invested. I mean, if there were such a thing.
From Marvel Studios:
“Avengers: Infinity War” picks up as the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, but a dangerous menace has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos. A despot of intergalactic infamy, Thanos will stop at nothing to collect all six Infinity Stones in his quest to wield unimaginable power and his twisted will on all of humanity.
There is never a question about the mood or heaviness of the film.
Everyone joked online before the movie had been screened anywhere, that it would probably just be safer to assume that everyone in the film dies – so that if anyone lives, it’ll be a relief. Someday, someone will count the number of deaths in this film (I don’t mean of anyone specific – just general slaughter) and the number will be shocking. Speculations were rampant about who would meet what end, and I’m not touching any of that with a 10-foot pole.
But if you didn’t go into Infinity War with the understanding that things were going to get real (given that the super villain we’ve heard about for a decade wanted to “wield unimaginable power and his twisted will on all of humanity”, you would have figured it out quickly when the otherwise familiar opening comic sequence had a totally different tone.
There are countless surprises, shocks, and jump scares.
I’m not sure if it was because there’s just so much going on in a film of this proportion or if it was just that much more intense (and it generally was that much more intense), but a lot of big things happened really quickly. (For what it’s worth – I don’t mean big on a “ruin your life” kind of scale, just from a sensory standpoint.)
If you cry about anything, you’ll likely cry in this movie.
Ok. Maybe you won’t weep like I nearly did once or twice, but there were lots of sniffles in my theater.
It might not be for any reason you think… or it might be for all the reasons you think. It may be over something sweet, something tragic, something senseless, something beautiful. This is such a big film. Big emotions come with it.
Thanos makes Darth Vader (or insert your favorite epic villain here) look tame.
Thanos is physically imposing. He’s out to take over the universe. We’ve seen his stature and heard of his treatment of Gamora and Nebula in previous movies, so from the moment we first see him he’s as scary as any villain I’ve seen. As he begins to garner (and is able to wield) the most powerful forces on earth, his power grows exponentially. As you might expect.
The writers struck a wonderfully merciful balance of heart and humor.
I said in my review of Thor: Ragnarok, that it was a perfect juxtaposition of the humor of Guardians of the Galaxy movies with the rest of the action-packed Marvel Cinematic Universe; it was exactly what I think was needed to begin to merge these parts of the universe together.
Avengers: Infinity War has no shortage of laugh-out-loud moments. Fans of Tony Stark’s wit and sarcasm or any other brand of humor you prefer in this cinematic universe will find what they’re looking for – though not in overwhelming amounts.
What I noticed on several occasions though, is that immediately when things started to feel like too much, the mood was lightened – but never in jarring fashion. I was so grateful for that throughout the film. Eventually the movie reaches a dramatic climax, of course, but the script is so delicately balance so that you aren’t exhausted before you even get there.
It wasn’t even a little bit disappointing when different parts of the MCU began to collide.
This movie has been over a decade in the making. When the first Avengers movie came out, then again with the infamous “airport scene” in Captain America: Civil War, when Tony Stark was a key player in Spiderman: Homecoming, and probably several times in between, fans of these marvel movies have been downright giddy when worlds came together. Or, you know, so I’m told.
This movie felt like all of those and then some. Of course I was aware that the Guardians of the Galaxy, Dr. Strange (and perhaps even other sorcerers), etc would be in Infinity War; still, the moment they first appeared on screen alongside the other Avengers was certainly satisfying. The entire crew did a beautiful job of merging styles from each of the film franchises into relatively seamless transitions and mergers.
There are even some wonderfully relatable moments where the movie does not shy away from the fact that not everyone has been in the last couple of films together. Those may be, in fact, some of the funniest conversations.
Relationships aren’t as big a focus as in some Marvel installments, but they don’t completely take a backseat.
Without giving away any details, every scene and every partnering of characters offers opportunities for great glimpses into interpersonal relationships – whether romantic, platonic, or professional.
It’s true that Avengers: Infinity War takes on a lot in a relatively short time. I didn’t feel like that kept us from truly feeling these connections. In fact, some of the most powerful moments are because of commitment and sacrifice, friendship and love.
The jury is still out on whether that’s because of my previous involvement with the universe or because of excellent acting throughout; I’d venture to guess it’s a little of both.
You don’t have to watch all of the MCU movies to enjoy this one.
Each of the Marvel movies does a great job of connecting with the rest of the Universe, while also being solid as a stand-alone film. I have to admit, I wasn’t sure this one would be able to; there is just so much that had to happen.
As it turns out, you can get relatively up to speed pretty quickly in this film when you need to, even if you haven’t seen the rest. You may be somewhat confused on details, of course, but perhaps better than any other movie thus far there are some moments of clear explanation – what are the infinity stones, why does Thanos want them, etc.
Admittedly, there were a few instances in which this felt a little too expository. That said, I’m pretty sure it was entirely necessary, to make sure everyone had what they needed in order to enjoy the movie.
All that said, you’ll enjoy this one immeasurably more if you have seen the other movies. Ten years of super solid character development might be what makes this movie truly outstanding.
Fans of Black Panther won’t be disappointed in Wakandans in Infinity War.
It still feels really odd to me that Black Panther – another MCU blockbuster – came out so recently that it isn’t even out for home release yet. It worked out well though. All of the things we loved about Black Panther – not the least of which were strong female characters and a beautiful mixture of African heritage and culture with cutting-edge technology – take center stage again in much of Infinity War. The characters we met and quickly loved blend into the rest of the Marvel world beautifully – and often humorously.
Fans of the airport scene in Civil War won’t be disappointed in hero interactions.
There is a marked switch from hero-on-hero combat to “us against them”, as you’d expect from this movie as compared to the third Captain America installment. However, if you loved the niceties in the middle of major battles or seeing one superhero starstruck when meeting another, there are a number of similarly charming moments in this film.
Nothing ever feels safe.
I don’t watch Game of Thrones, but I’m in the world enough to understand that this sentiment prevails there, too. I don’t know if it’s the build up and speculation, the actual direness of the situation, the magnitude of Thanos’ evil, or all of the above, but literally every time anyone I liked was on the screen with Thanos or members of his Black Order, I was scared. Nothing felt off-limits, so nothing felt safe. I will go public in saying that some people survive. But that’s all you’re getting from me, which means you’ll probably feel the same tension throughout the movie.
I had forgotten – or maybe never known – just how good all of the casting has been in the cinematic universe.
Time and time again throughout the movie, I found myself thinking, “Dang. That is a perfectly executed look… an extremely nuanced performance… undeniable chemistry… such unexpected raw emotion.” And on and on. I can point to so many scenes when the audience could feel the weight of a moment so intensely that we were all in said moment together.
Even at 2.5 hours, it’s over too quickly.
My entire family has ADHD. During even my favorite movies, I have an undeniable urge to be doing something else – anything else – while watching. It is almost physically unbearable for me to sit and watch a movie without thinking about doing something else, regardless of the movie.
Two hours into Avengers: Infinity War, I looked at my watch to try and gauge where we might be in the story. I was shocked; the time had passed so quickly. That’s probably good I guess, considering I kept forgetting to breathe. When it was over – even when the credits were over (and I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but don’t leave when they roll) – I wasn’t ready to leave so I just sat a few more minutes.
You probably don’t know the whole story.
As with any good movie, there were so many times I found myself wondering – is everything as it seems? Can I make this assumption about that person? Is this just a misunderstanding? Might I actually sympathize with that thing that was said or done?
I realize that’s super vague, but if you’re a fan of books or movies you probably know what I mean, to some extent. The world is not black and white – and neither is the MCU, as we’ve seen to increasing degrees in recent films. That doesn’t end just because it seems the world is about to.
I really want some ice cream. Specifically, Ben and Jerry’s.
You might too, when you’re done watching. Or about 20 minutes in. Just saying…