Let’s be real: we’re still on a Black Panther high. Avengers: Infinity War is the next major film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), and it’s a big one.
Directed by Joe Russo and Anthony Russo (known by fans as The Russo Brothers), Avengers: Infinity War follows the Avengers two years after their significant conflict in Captain America: Civil War. When Thanos comes to Earth to collect all six Infinity Stones to bend reality to his will, the Avengers must enlist the help of the Guardians of the Galaxy to stop him before he destroys half of the universe. Yes, exactly half.
Avengers: Infinity War is basically the Earth, Wind & Fire of the MCU. It’s a reunion tour of sorts, with everyone’s faves popping up at pivotal points in the film: Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Captain Amereica (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), War Machine (Don Cheadle), Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Vision (Paul Bettany), Scarlet Witch (Elizbeth Olsen), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Star-Lord (Chris Pratt)… and don’t forget Groot (Vin Diesel). And we still haven’t named them all!
As Marvel films have typically portrayed, the comedy is rife throughout the film but elevated to another level. It’s like if Thor: Ragnorok and Guardians of the Galaxy had a baby. If you ever imagined the sheer level of pompous snark that would occur if Tony Stark and Stephen Strange were in the same room, consider your wonder fulfilled in this film.
One thing that has always been impressive about the MCU — especially when dealing with ensemble casts such as Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy — is its ability to adequately convey the storylines of multiple characters within its allotted time. Be that 2 hours or — in the case of Avengers: Infinity War — nearly three, every character is given their own moment to shine all the while serving as threads within the larger story.
For those of us still stimulated off the adrenaline from chanting “Wakanda Forever” everywhere we go, this film is more like… Wakanda for a minute. Without going too much into detail of how T’Challa, Okoye (Danai Gurira), Shuri (Letitia Wright) and M’Baku (Winston Duke) play a part in the larger scheme of things, please go in with measured expectations. After all, we’re corralling every single Avenger and their friends (and their friends’ friends) into their magnum opus.
In a very pleasant surprise, Zoe Saldana’s Gamora is handed the emotional depth that she hadn’t been afforded in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. Certainly not to this level. As Marvel fans know, she is Thanos’ adopted daughter, and Avengers: Infinity War delves into her background that has a great payoff in relation to Thanos himself.
In a superb performance by Josh Brolin, Thanos inherits a richness that makes up for Marvel’s routine major flaw: the characterization of their villains. That may be one of the most significant reasons why Black Panther didn’t feel like a typical Marvel film. In Killmonger, Black Panther introduced a villain that no other villain had really done within the universe since The Winter Soldier; it offered multi-layered dynamic that left audiences conflicted in a mixture of empathy and hatred. That is Thanos, the core of the story.
He is, essentially, the biggest and baddest bitch, but he isn’t all purple muscle. Thanos has almost as many layers as there are Infinity Stones to collect, and it shows. Because it would’ve been easy to make Thanos two-dimensional evil, given that he is the most-feared and most-anticipated villain yet. However, in Avengers: Infinity War, he is portrayed as an antagonistic protagonist, and it’s intriguing.
As expected, Avengers: Infinity War has one of the most sensational and complicated group of action scenes in the MCU so far. This is, after all, the big fight.
Fans who knew even an inkling of the general dynamic of Avengers: Infinity War are aware that major deaths will occur. The phrase “everybody dies,” while hyperbolic, was generally met with some acceptance. It’s safe to go into this film knowing one thing: no one is safe. And yet, audiences will still leave just as surprised or upset as they would if they didn’t have such an expectation, which truly speaks to the beauty of the film.
Avengers: Infinity War explodes into theaters on April 27.