Avengers: Infinity War (Movie Review)

With the arrival of Ant-Man and the Wasp, I wanted to finish something I've put off for far too long. Three months ago, Marvel Studios released its nineteenth film, Avengers: Infinity War. I went to see it at the cinema, and wound up seeing it three times - half because of a poster promotion and half to see if the long-awaited film was worth the wait. This review is mainly for those who missed it in cinemas and are waiting for its release on Blu-ray and DVD on September 3rd. I'll keep spoilers to a minimum, but nonetheless beware!

After being teased and discussed in previous films, the Marvel Universe's greatest threat finally appears: The Mad Titan Thanos (Josh Brolin). With his generals, the Black Order, he sets out to gather the six all-powerful Infinity Stones and wipe out half the universe. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) returns to Earth to warn Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), but with the Avengers torn apart after Captain America: Civil War, they are forced to join with two new allies: the Time Stone's guardian Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch); and Stark's young protégé Spider-Man (Tom Holland). Meanwhile, Cap (Chris Evans) and his fugitive band of Avengers come out of hiding to protect Vision (Paul Bettany), who is now a prime target for Thanos due to the Mind Stone powering him. In space, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) meets the Guardians of the Galaxy (Chris Pratt et al.) and recruits them to help secure the remaining Stones, and forge a new weapon to kill Thanos. However, the combined might of the Avengers and Guardians may not be enough.

As the culmination of everything we've seen so far in the MCU, Infinity War has a lot to achieve. As well as unleashing its ultimate villain, the film faces the challenge of packing the universe's entire cast into one film. Some, inevitably, didn't make the cut - but the main stars of the previous films are all here (or accounted for, in the case of Ant-Man). The film's main cast includes eighteen characters and, miraculously, they're all given a decent amount of screentime. Directors Tony and Joe Russo achieved this by splitting them up into smaller groups, each with their own mission. Everyone has a part to play however big or small, and they're all kept busy. Better still, the teams change as the film progresses, resulting in members clashing with each other. If you want to know how Iron Man and Doctor Strange would treat each other, or how Spider-Man would behave around Star-Lord, you're in for a treat. The heroes' interactions with each other make for the film's funniest moments, bringing much-needed relief to an otherwise grim story. However, some characters get more attention than others; and with Thanos in the picture, there's no time to catch up with their offscreen exploits. If you want to get the most out of Infinity War, you must watch all the films before it.

Whoever you root for, Infinity War's main star isn't one of the heroes - it's the Mad Titan himself. Josh Brolin portrays Thanos using the same motion-capture tech created by Weta for the Middle-earth and Planet of the Apes films. This not only makes him an impressive CG character, but an incredibly expressive one too. And thanks to Brolin's performance, he's one of the deepest villains the MCU has ever seen. Through the course of the film, you'll get to know his backstory, his mindset, and his reasons for finding the Infinity Stones - and unlike his comic counterparts, he isn't threatening the universe to "court death" in some way or another. There's method in the Titan's madness. He's also the strongest enemy the Avengers have ever faced. If you doubt that a purple alien giant could give Earth's mightiest heroes a tough time, you're in for a shock. He proved me wrong in the first five minutes. The Black Order are just as formidable, but sadly, they're nowhere near as fleshed out as Thanos. In the comics they're Thanos' adopted children and his strongest warriors, but on screen they're Children of Thanos in name only. However, their collective body count makes up for their lack of personality.

From the opening scene, Infinity War is the darkest film yet in the MCU. Like villains out of Game of Thrones, Thanos and the Black Order rack up a huge body count - and everyone they kill is a beloved character. It couldn't be more appropriate for a threat that's been teased for so long, but it may be too much for some people. Some deaths are especially hard to watch, pushing the film's 12-rating to its very limits. I wouldn't show this film to children. The film's tone is much, much darker than any Marvel film before it, and some may find it too tragic after the more light-hearted films we had last year. The Russos are filming a sequel to conclude Thanos' story, but it won't make Infinity War any less upsetting. I strongly recommend tissues whether you think you'll need them or not.

After ten years of waiting, Avengers: Infinity War made good on its promises - but between the huge cast and its dark tone, it may be too much for some fans. If you've seen the film, leave a comment below, or feel free to write to us on our Facebook or Twitter; and tell us if you're buying it on September 3rd!

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