After 10 years and 18 movies full of bombastic, superheroic action you could be forgiven for thinking you know what to expect in Avengers: Infinity War.
To put it plainly you’re already wrong, and like Earth’s mightiest heroes completely unprepared for the coming of Thanos because Infinity War is the boldest, most daring movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date.
Following on from the events of Captain America: Civil War the film follows Thanos as he finally begins his quest to collect the six Infinity Stones, pop them in his snazzy Infinity Gauntlet and wipe out half the life in the universe.
Unsurprisingly the Avengers aren’t too cool with this and unite the largest ensemble of superheroes ever seen on the big screen to take on the mad titan and stop his genocidal plans.
Simply put Infinity War is the ultimate demonstration of Marvel’s confidence and capability to tell an engaging, surprising and most importantly entertaining superhero film.
How do they do it, well they put character first.
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Throughout the film a number of small beats help ground these larger than life heroes so despite the near-constant spectacle you never lose track of a character’s motivation or drives.
Interesting then considering Marvel’s history of putting spectacle ahead of developing its villains that it’s Thanos who manages to be the film’s most compelling character.
Josh Brolin imbues the character with a surprising gentleness along with a sense of terrifying purpose that makes him a captivating lead character.
There were moments, despite his genocidal plans for population control, where I genuinely wanted to see Thanos win because he seemed so certain that he was right that I couldn’t help but believe him.
Of course, it’s the way he’s trying to realise his goal that makes him so scary and Brolin gives the character a menace and cold indifferent evil I’m sure will see him enshrined as one of the greatest on-screen baddies of the decade.
Don’t go thinking this is going to be some introverted character piece looking into Thanos’s psyche – Infinity War, as you’d expect after a decade in the making, is all about the spectacle.
Our heroes fight across the world and indeed the galaxy in a desperate attempt to thwart Thanos and every time you think the directors Joe and Anthony Russo can’t possibly outdo themselves in terms of action they somehow do.
The film’s set pieces are simply staggering and some of the best I’ve ever seen on the big screen, it’s simply mind-bending especially when the reality warping Infinity Gauntlet gets thrown into the mix.
The cosmic McGuffin allows the Russos to throw all laws of physics out the window to create action sequences beyond anything you’ve ever imagined.
Unfortunately, Avengers: Infinity War is not without its foibles, with almost every superhero ever seen on the big screen assembled it’s cluttered and more than a little messy during the action scenes.
Thankfully the Russos, who’ve got some experience with big superhero throwdowns, manage to mitigate this by giving every character their own moment to shine.
All in all Infinity War isn’t a perfect movie. It’s over packed and over stylised and yet despite all this it works and that’s a testament to the incredible world that everyone who’s contributed to the Marvel Cinematic Universe has built.
It works in spite of itself because of the incredible amount of goodwill Marvel has earned over the years and that sets the stage for all their future films to come.