Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Chris Pratt, Josh Brolin
It’s been ten years since the first film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe — Iron Man — came out. Since then, we have been through 18 films and more than 40 characters. Unlike DC, Marvel has typically stuck to keeping things safe. The most risk they took was having Rhodes aka Warmachine get paralysed in Captain America: Civil War, and the death of Scarlet Witch’s brother Quicksilver in Avengers: Age of Ultron which we did not really spend sleepless nights over. The good guys have otherwise lost precious little while saving the universe again and again.
That’s where the Russo brothers who directed Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War, have made a difference. The franchise gets its biggest villain in the almighty Thanos, who even while trampling everyone in his way, seems to have a heart. He bleeds, he cries, and even while wreaking havoc, he’s grounded in a way other villains haven’t been so far. His journey to gain the Infinity stones for his gauntlet is brilliantly written.
Avengers: Infinity War hits the ground running, and makes us wonder, laugh, and clap, all even before the opening credits roll. The primary characters are introduced in no time and though we never get to see them all under the same roof, it doesn’t really matter as Thanos makes up for all of them with his omnipresence. The film also forays into unseen corners of the universe that weren’t mentioned in prior films. The 149-minute long runtime makes it the longest film in the franchise but you never feel it, for, there’s rarely a bump in this hyperdrive.
The directors, not only have the challenge of maintaining the action, romance, humour and sentiment which the MCU is known for, but also have the unenviable task of giving enough screen space to all the major characters. With the experience they’ve no doubt gained over the years, they successfully manage to break the screen time for various superheroes into segments and connect them all through the main story of Thanos. On the good guys’ side, we get to witness many heartwarming scenes, including the romantic companionship which Vision (Paul Bettany) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) share, and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) coming to terms with the aftermath of Thor: Ragnarok.
As expected, there’s also quite a bit of humour, and the directors really strike a balance between balancing the emotions. Be it the sequences where Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) tries to cover his insecurities against Thor’s masculinity, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) indulging in verbal sparring (it’s a pleasure to see the two Sherlocks converse), or the Teenage Groot (Vin Diesel) who, I think, deserved more screen space; there’s no dearth of scenes to get us laughing. The technology the Avengers employ in the film is also stunning. We get to see Iron Man and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) donning the Mark 37 aka the Bleeding Edge Armour and Iron Spider suit respectively. There’s also Captain America’s (Chris Evans) new shield and the return of the Hulkbuster. And oh, did I tell you that the biggest pop-culture phenomenon borrows pop-culture references from films such as Aliens? Not to mention the film’s steadfast loyalty to the comics it’s based on.
Avengers: Infinity War is a visual extravaganza and right from the different worlds to the minor facial reactions of CGI Thanos (which received its fair share of flak during the promos), the attention to detail is stunning. Being the first film to be shot completely in IMAX 3D, it’ll be a cardinal sin to watch this film in any other format. This is also probably the film that shows that Marvel is no stranger to darkness. The problem though is the long wait ahead. With the sequel only scheduled for May 2019, I now understand what the Game of Thrones fans feel like.