The Avengers face their greatest threat to date as genocidal alien Thanos (Josh Brolin) sets his sights on wreaking havoc on the entire universe. ‘Earth’s mightiest heroes’, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther and his pals all join forces to fight the good fight.
Billed as ‘the most ambitious crossover event in history’, Avengers: Infinity War is the culmination of the first ten years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As a result, it is a very busy film – practically every main character from the studio’s previous eighteen films makes an appearance. Returning directors Anthony & Joe Russo continue their excellent run of form after helming the previous two Captain America films and handle the film’s congested cast very well.
The directors are, however, assisted by the talent on display. Brolin impresses in a very difficult role and may be the first truly threatening CGI comic book villain. Of the Avengers themselves, Robert Downey Jr. is superb as ever, while Benedict Cumerbatch steps up as Doctor Strange after a lukewarm start in his solo film. As Gamora, Zoe Saldana thrives in a much larger role and Tom Holland gives another sterling performance as Spider-Man.
However, the standard of facial hair on display is not as universally strong as the acting. Chris Pratt, though excellent as the ever-quipping Peter Quill, sports a truly dreadful moustache. Fortunately, Chris Evans’ beard is as fine as his performance. Unfortunately, as Black Widow, Scarlett Johansson is again underused – with this amount of lead characters, not everyone gets their fair share of screen time.
While the acting is excellent, the spectacle and scope of Infinity War is staggering. Marvel delivers on their ambition. The plethora of locations are realised beautifully, and the action set pieces utilise the abundant cast of heroes and their varying powers to full effect.
The action is improved by the screen presence of Thanos. Although there are several large-scale skirmishes against a faceless alien army, most of the action consists of battles against Brolin’s big bad. With forearms that put Thor to shame, Thanos is a suitably powerful antagonist, who is a bona fide thorn in the Avengers’ side.
After ten years of solid filmmaking, there was a risk that Marvel Cinematic Universe could turn stale. However, in 2018, the studio has delivered the superb Black Panther and now, arguably their best film to date. Don’t be expecting the typical Marvel formula though. While there is wisecracking aplenty, this is a dark film. In the past, the comic book giants have been accused of lacking genuine stakes and lasting consequences. Infinity War renounces this claim and some. Without spoiling anything, this is far from a breezy blockbuster.
As ambitious as any film you’ll see this year, Avengers: Infinity War is a triumph. Beguiling, bold and bombastic; Marvel have struck gold yet again. Superhero fatigue? I think not.