For the Fan’s Rapture: A Review of "Avengers: Infinity War"
If you’ve been an avid fan of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) since it’s inception ten years ago; then you will be in the throes of wondrous rapture watching Avengers: Infinity War. With expectations built up to such a fever pitch over the last few months, conventional wisdom and Justice League lessons would have us thinking that the bar may have been set too high. Between the exposition of why they’re all meeting up, and apportioning screen time for all the assembled superheroes, we could have reasonably expected that effective storytelling would be bogged down.
But credit the directing Russo Brothers and the screenplay-writing team for gifting us with a solid, fast-paced storyline. Surprisingly, even the sharing of screen time for all the assembled doesn’t seem forced. Deftly blending the action sequences, with repartee and comedy, the Russo Brothers bring together the experience they amassed bringing Winter Soldier and Civil War to life, along with their years on television with Arrested Development and Community. It’s crazy, how with all the dire going on’s, fate of the world in the balance, near-deaths and actual tragic mortalities; we’re constantly given shafts of humour via bickering, personality clashes, and throwaway lines and asides.
And it’s a true fan’s delight to be thrown right into the new story, in the proverbial mix of things. What minimal exposition there is has to do with letting us know who Thanos is, and why he’s after the Infinity Stones. If you’re an uninitiated, wondering who is who, which is an Avenger and which is Guardian, or why the audience is laughing when our superheroes converge and argue; you’ll have to feed your need for MCU 101 on your own time. Infinity War has a gargantuan story to place on the table; and fans will be surprised with how the running time of two hours forty just flies by once immersed in the storytelling.
Like pulling rabbits (or raccoons) out of a hat, the movie constantly surprises, defying expectations. The Russos talked about ‘strange alchemy’; how they would utilize known personality types, and put them together to play with the possibilities. Like how Iron Man and Dr. Strange have such massive egos and would end up rubbing each other the wrong way. Or how Thor would be effortless grace, and make someone like Quill terrifically insecure. These are all mined for the waves of humour that punctuate all the end of the world scenarios.
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And finally, a villain worth his weight in gold. Thanos (Josh Brolin) is all you could ask for, with a back story that has us appreciating why the wholesale destruction. This is solid movie making that leaves us hanging at the end, wishing that Part ii could come sooner. And that’s saying a lot when we’ve just sat through a hundred sixty minutes.