It’s hard to believe when you look back at it that it has been 10 years since Marvel Studios–then on its own–embarked on a bold strategy to change cinematic storytelling as we knew it. What started in 2008 with Iron Man has evolved into what can arguably be called the standard of superhero film-making. Of course, during that time, many of the films have fallen between OK to amazing in terms of quality. Lately, the box office tallies have been record breaking (Wakanda Forever!). So, after 10 years, and the much anticipated Thanos showdown with the entire MCU, it is of no surprise that this weekend Marvel will shatter even more records. Still, the question remains whether or not the film actually lives up to the hype?
Ever since the first Avengers film, Thanos has been a lingering threat. Slowly, Marvel has moved towards the inevitable collision with the Mad Titan and we had to wait until now for, as Bobby Bouche’s mom tells him, “The chickens [to finally]come to home to roost.” I can say that, for the second film in a row, Marvel has knocked it out of the park with their villain (something they haven’t been able to do since Loki). Like Killmonger, Thanos comes off as a villain whose motive actually makes sense though in the mind of a mad man, it is insane. Josh Brolin is exceptional in this role, and we are given a character in Thanos who is not just menacing and powerful, but even almost relatable. In the midst of a high pace edge of your seat film, The Russo brothers were able to inject just enough of Thanos’ background to give us a glimpse into what makes this madman tick. If not for the fact that he wants to wipe out half the universe without remorse, one might almost feel bad for him. When Infinity War was over, I was left speechless and in awe and Thanos was a big reason as to why.
One of the questions many had going into the film is how managing all these characters in one film would work. There are some things that I question, but overall the Russo brothers did a great job in putting together a film that balanced the characters extremely well. Not an easy task, that’s for sure! There was balance between character screen time, pace, seriousness, and humor. Like most Marvel films, you find your self laughing out loud at parts, edge of your seat for some, and even tears for others. All emotions are tapped and some for the most unexpected of characters. From the ego filled banter of Tony and Dr. Strange; the camaraderie of Thor and Rocket; the respect of T’Challa and Captain America; to the relationships that take center stage of the film, each character gets a moment to shine like we know they can (even teenage Groot). My only gripe in relation to the characters has to do with a missing person, and what I consider a cop out near the end of the film. Outside of that, the film handled the balancing act very well.
From the start, this film was intense with a splash of fun added in for good measure. It truly brought the past 10 years of Marvel films together while showing us what heroism is. From the start, the heroes were over-matched and outgunned, as it should be. The children of Thanos (Black Dwarf, Proxima Midnight, Ebony Maw, and Corvis Claive) were a handful for our heroes on their own. From the beginning, we witnessed the power of Thanos. Still, similar to the scene in Captain America: The First Avenger, where a puny Steve Rogers is getting beat up and continues to get up, the heroes stood up to fight. We see that no matter what the enemy throws at us, we need to stand firm and fight. In the end, although we may be broken, battered, shattered, and feel like the world as we know it is ending, we can look to the horizon and realize there is still hope.
Avengers: Infinity War not only lives up to the hype, but I believe it may even shatter some expectations. There are story points that not even the cast knew would happen until they actually watched the film. The ending will leave the audience speechless, and some bold decisions might make some fans unhappy. However, in the end, this is what makes the film work. It stayed on point, never drifted away from what it wanted to do, and delivered what may one day be considered one of the best superhero films of all time. Avengers 4 comes out next year, and it has a lot to live up to.
Personally, I hope the Russo brothers can deliver again.
P.S. The film has no mid-credit scene. Though, there is a post-credit scene that really Marvels…