If you take a look at the poster for Avengers: Infinity War, there’s almost too many characters to fit. All of the main heroes from the first 18 MCU films are there (except for Hawkeye and Ant-Man) and I wondered how the directors, the Russo brothers, would possibly give them all enough time. But I tip my hat, because they do. Some get more time than others (Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, and Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Strange seem to get the most screen time) but everybody gets their moment.
I read an article in which the author complained that there was no character development. That’s true–there isn’t time. And all of these characters got plenty of development in other films. The only character getting development is the villain, a huge purple guy with a big chin called Thanos (Josh Brolin). He’s obviously studied the Malthusian theory, because he wants to wipe out half of the universe’s population in order for more resources to be available. Of course he’s technically right, but our heroes aren’t about to let anyone kill trillions of beings.
In order to fully appreciate the film, you have to have seen most of the others. I watched Thor: Ragnarok the night before and I’m glad I did, because Avengers: Infinity War picks up right after that one ends.Thanos is after six “Infinity Stones” to gain absolute power, and Loki has one. Bruce Banner is aboard the ship, but gets zapped to Dr. Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum and fills him in on the threat. Strange notifies Iron Man, and pretty soon the ball is rolling.
The film works like a comic book, and I watched it with a smile on my face, as it made me feel 13 years old again. The heroes are grouped in bunches–Iron Man, Strange, and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) get aboard Thanos’ ship; Thor takes Rocket Raccoon and Groot to a planet where his hammer was forged (the forger is Peter Dinklage, as big as a house); and Captain America (Chris Evans), Falcon (Anthony Mackie) Black Widow (Scarlett Johannsen), War Machine (Don Cheadle), Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) go to Wakanda to meet up with Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman). The Vision has an Infinity Stone in his head, and he needs it to live, so the Wakandans try to take it out without killing him.Meanwhile, Thanos’ henchmen arrive to attack.
The rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Starlord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bauttista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) try to prevent Thanos from getting a stone from The Collector (Benicio Del Toro). Thanos, who has killed thousands, has a soft spot for Gamora, whom he adopted. Later they will be joined by his other daughter, Nebula (Karen Gillan).
The film cuts between these groups skillfully, just like a comic book. There’s arguments and humor (Downey remarks that Strange’s cloak, which can act independently, is “an incredibly loyal piece of outerwear,” and Cumberbatch calls Downey a “douchebag.”) Also, because contracts are up and actors have decided to move on, there is the possibility of irrevocal death. A huge body count at the end will certainly be fixed in part two, coming next May. But some who die have films coming up. A guy I knew writing for Marvel told me, “In the Marvel Universe, no one stays dead except for Uncle Ben.”
I had a great time at the movie. There’s plenty of action to go with the humor, which is always a big part of Marvel’s success. The heroes also are humanistic, willing to sacrifice for the greater good, and despite their arguments, they always have each other’s backs, so this makes one feel good. (When told the Avengers have broken up, Banner, who was gone for two years, says, “Broken up? Like a band? Like the Beatles?”)
Try to watch this with an audience. When characters show up, they are cheered (I didn’t recognize Captain America at first–he hardly wears a costume anymore). When the end of the film comes, and people realize they’ve just seen two and a half hours of a film that is only half over, there were groans. But I think everyone will be back in a year’s time.