Avengers: Infinity War
Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo
I don't even know where to start with Avengers: Infinity War. Imagine, if you will, the task of writing about an album. Let's pick Beggars Banquet or Sticky Fingers or Let It Bleed or Exile on Main Street just because I went on a Stones deep dive earlier. So, yeah. Your task is to write about an early 70s Stones album. But you can't write about the songs. Or the guest musicians. Or how the album begins, if it has continuity or is a collection of songs, or how it ends. In fact, even suggesting that some songs are stronger than others may be considered a spoiler by some. And you really don't want to spoil anything for anyone. But now you've suggested that there may be things to spoil, that surprises are waiting to be found. And in your haste to be as proper as possible you've gone ahead and spoiled something for someone somewhere. Or you could decide to be an obnoxious jerk about it and then the spoiler gates are busted wide open and all kinds of things come spilling out. Rosebud is a sled. Harvey is real. Norman is dressing as his mother. It was Earth all along. Joe Gillis is dead. Ash is a robot. I know who Keyser Soze is and I'll tell you what's in the box.
And what have you done but gone so far the other way that you've destroyed someone else's sense of discovery. So, here I am faced with writing about a movie I can't write about. Again. So, where to start with Avengers: Infinity War?
Things I can tell you. It's directed by the Russo brothers, who cut their teeth working on Arrested Development and Community. Which explains the Arrested Development and Community cameos and Easter Eggs in their Marvel movies. Danny Pudi and D.C. Pierson in Winter Soldier. Jim Rash and the Bluth stair car in Civil War.
What else can I tell you? The Russos do an amazing job balancing all of the characters, giving everyone moments that resonate. They create set pieces that are brilliant spectacles while somehow finding character moments in the midst of chaos. The Russos, the screenwriters, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and the Marvel team have created a movie that at times goes to the darkest depths yet seen in a Marvel film while at the same time serving heaping plates of hilarity with multiple courses of giant set pieces. This is the movie that had to come after eighteen films of franchise building, after ten years of myth building. In many ways Infinity War is a testament to the foundation that was built before it, from the first Iron Man in 2008 to Black Panther just a couple of months ago and everything in between. The careful way the universe was put together, the way everyone figured out what worked and what didn't. The way the MCU evolved over the course of these films. All of the character development, the egos and nuances and subtleties, that's the stuff this shared cinematic universe is made of. The filmmakers never forgot it and Infinity War is full of those character moments that have made the Marvel movies beloved.
Infinity War is also one hell of a tightrope walk. On the one hand, it is the ultimate fan service. Want to see those people with these people fighting stuff and things? Or how about those people joining up with those other people and they're fighting stuff and things? There's a lot of it in Infinity War. And yet, somehow, against all odds, Infinity War is also approachable for anyone who has skipped any of the eighteen films before it. Hell, I think it would still be a roller coaster ride for anyone coming in blind. Seriously, there is just the right amount of exposition that I think if someone came in a complete comic book movie virgin they would still find Infinity War a hell of a ride. They may miss out on some callbacks and wonder about some character moments, but if your first comic book movie is going to be this one I think you'd feel like you were caught up pretty quickly.
Other things I can write about comfortably. Infinity War moves fast. The pace never sags, it never lets up. From the Marvel logo through to the credits, the movie never slows down. But, somehow there are moments when the film breathes, when everyone can ponder what just happened, and then, boom, we're off again. This thing is like two and a half hours long but, weirdly, somehow feels short, like it could have been longer and it still would have been a fantastic ride. A movie with an above the title cast this massive should feel overstuffed, but Infinity War never feels like that. It helps that the story is streamlined, the Big Bad wants to do a thing, the Heroes want to stop the Big Bad.
And the acting is tremendous, by all involved. But the MVP has to be Josh Brolin, playing Thanos. Acting under tons of makeup or through motion capture or I don't know what, Josh Brolin makes Thanos a full character with depth and dimensions. Thanos is more than the ones and zeroes and the prosthetics. We may not agree with his rationale, but there is no doubting his conviction. But, this is Josh Brolin we're talking about here. Anyone who has seen No Country For Old Men or Sicario knows what he's capable of.
What else can I say about Infinity War? Not much, not much at all. Is it worth your monies? Oh, yes. Repeated viewings yes. Is it the best Marvel movie yet? Not my personal favourite, but results may vary for others. And everything else that I've written and then deleted and pondered wrote and deleted and thought about or whatever is skating too close to the blue line of spoiler country. So I'm going to end this here. And, please, if you're going to comment, no spoilers please. Thanks.