Assessing the recent James Bond casting controversy, Film Critic Antonia Miles calls for a more imaginative approach to female representationWritten by Antonia Miles on 20th October 2018
Review: Avengers Infinity War
Does Avengers: Infinity War live up to the hype? Film Critic Todd Waugh Ambridge unpicks a blockbuster supposedly ten-years in the making.
Avengers: Infinity War is the most anticipated film of the year. It has promised, since its announcement in 2014, to be the culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the highest-grossing film franchise of all time. The Russo brothers replace Joss Whedon as director – coming off the success of their two Captain America hits – and have the unenviable task of bringing the nineteen films, tens of characters and countless plot threads to some form of climax. Against all doubters (myself included), they succeed to a very strong degree, with only minor issues keeping this back from being among the MCU’s best.
In Infinity War, the disassembled Avengers team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy to combat the threat of Thanos, a hulking titan hell-bent on bringing balance to the universe by harnessing the power of the Infinity Stones (i.e. those things that were in the other MCU movies). The twenty-something starring characters are split into wonderfully diverse groups that allows for some very fun combinations (Thor, Rocket and Groot) and some less fun ones (Vision and Scarlet Witch). The film bounces around between these disparate groups in a dizzying fashion, with Thanos actually serving as the central character who binds the individual stories together towards a questionably epic conclusion. The result is a mostly successful, if exhausting, two-and-a-half hour culmination of the MCU that holds together far better than many would have expected.
Right off the bat, the biggest win for this film is its cast of colourful characters that have already been developed and so the audience is already hugely invested in. Seeing many of these previously-disparate characters interact for the first time is the best part of Infinity War, and delivering many of the film’s biggest laughs and cheers.
“Given how much the audience loves these characters, though, it’s a shame that many get lost in the crowd
That being said however, it is not the heroes of this movie who are (necessarily) the most important characters. Its villain Thanos – the name we’ve heard for years with hardly an appearance – is one of the best the MCU has to offer, continuing the upward trend of Spider-Man: Homecoming and Black Panther. Josh Brolin crushes his mo-cap performance, bringing equal parts menace, confidence and sympathy to the mad titan.
“Thanos is one of the best villains the MCU has to offer
It almost goes without saying that the artistic craftsmanship of Infinity War is spot-on. The musical score swells just when it needs to, and the Avengers theme is already going down as a lauded motif. The camera-work and fight-scene choreography is incredibly dynamic and meshes all the different tones and superpowers of the individual heroes together in some of the most visually interesting moments in MCU history.
“It’s just a shame that Infinity War’s substance was traded in for spectacle so late in the day
This will go down as one of the most discussed blockbusters in recent times, and people will debate everything from the cold opening to the divisive ending. But, ultimately, the question to ask is: does Avengers: Infinity War payoff the MCU’s ten-year history? And the answer is yes. It’s the film Marvel fans have been waiting for for ten years. Watching these characters who we’ve grown to love interact and fight side-by-side is intoxicatingly entertaining. While the weight of this film does render it feeling a little weightless and, in areas, disappointing, Avengers: Infinity War is the definitive big-screen version of a huge comic-book event series. It has all the showmanship, fan-service, impossibly-high stakes and spectacle-over-substance attitude.
Verdict: The promise that Avengers: Infinity War would bring ten-years of world-building to a dazzling, exhilarating blockbuster of a climax has been cashed in. The movie has all the charm, wit and stylisation that the MCU always has, and a little disappointment notwithstanding is able to rise above its impossibly-high expectations and deliver an incredibly fun movie.