Looking back, it really is incredible to think about the journey leading up to “Avengers: Infinity War.”
It’s been almost 10 years since “Iron Man” was released, at roughly the same time of year in 2008. This fact isn’t lost on Marvel Studios, which celebrated the decade milestone by incorporating it into its logo — and by releasing what is easily its biggest feature to date.
There is arguably no other movie studio that has achieved what Marvel has, crafting a cinematic universe that builds and expands, finally culminating in a grand design. The effort leading up to this feat must be commended. But what needs to be discussed is this film itself. Fortunately, it was pretty good as well.
“Avengers: Infinity War” is directed by brothers Anthony and Joe Russo and features many heroes from the past Marvel Cinematic Universe movies as they team up to defeat the ultimate villain, Thanos. Thanos seeks a collection of Infinity Stones, which together will give him the power to destroy all life in the universe.
Given how many characters are in this movie, even someone with only a casual knowledge of the Marvel movies will be happy to see some of their favorites. I was expecting to see all the past heavy hitters appear in the movie, but was pleasantly surprised by how many supporting characters from previous movies appear, too, even though some are just cameos. Unfortunately, a tradeoff of having so many great characters in a movie is that no one really has a chance to shine or steal any scenes. Ironically, the only exception to this is Thanos himself.
As great as many of the past Marvel movies have been, a common critique is that the movies’ heroes are portrayed as likable and complex, while the villains are often shallow and generally unmemorable. An important attribute of a great villain is that they truly believe they’re the hero of the story, while also demonstrating their power to be a real menace. In “Avengers: Infinity War,” Thanos contains both qualities in spades. His plans, while horrible, make a scary amount of sense. And as he collects the Infinity Stones, his powers increase exponentially, making him one of the most powerful villains we’ve ever seen. Thanos’ appearance in a movie has been building up for years, ever since we saw him at the end of “The Avengers” in 2012. It would have been a massive blunder by the studio if he ended up falling flat, but fortunately, he comes away being one of the best comic book movie villains ever.
Another setback is that the film is forced to address too much, between the many characters, locations and set pieces, which leads to a fairly long run time at 2 hours and 29 minutes. While it can feel long at times, it’s hard to say that much of that time is wasted during the movie, as every scene really furthers the plot of the movie. The fact that there is just so much plot to get through is a natural result of 10 years of buildup.
At the time of publication, “Avengers: Infinity War” has broken the record for biggest weekend opening of all time, sitting at a massive $250 million. With its hype, you’ve probably already seen the movie. But if you haven’t, I would definitely recommend it. Granted, you won’t get much out of it if you haven’t seen, or liked, any previous Marvel movie — but with 10 years and 18 movies under Marvel’s belt, chances are at least one caught your interest. If that’s the case, please watch “Avengers: Infinity War,” if only to see Thanos pulverize your favorite hero.