Okay, technically the movie of the decade, Avengers: Infinity War has been out for a while now. A penultimate conclusion to a story that began with the first Iron Man in 2008. Anyone who’s ever been invested completely or partially to the MCU has to see this film which would indeed make it one of the biggest blockbuster movies to date. By now most of you have seen it, and we can freely discuss the events that transpired in the film, whether we liked them or not. To those stumbling in who haven’t seen the film yet, I am invoking a major SPOILER ALERT. But if you want to proceed to know what we think and watch the film anyway, you’re the better judge if you like it or not. I may sound ominous here, but the movie is great as I’ve described in the non-spoiler review. There are plenty of surprises and highlights in this film which we will be talking about henceforth.
Avengers: Infinity War picks up where Thor: Ragnarok left off. In a previous article, I cryptically compared Thor: Ragnarok and Infinity War to the Aliens franchise, comparing them to Aliens and Aliens 3 respectively. If you enjoyed Thor: Ragnarok, you’ll feel a slap in the face when you see what comes next when Thor’s ship meets with Thanos’ ship, the Sanctuary. After emotionally investing yourself to Ripley, Newt, and Hicks’ survival in Aliens, you’re suddenly met with the deaths of Newt and Hicks at the beginning of Alien 3. That was a WTF moment when I viewed Alien 3 in the theater. And that’s what you’ll feel at the beginning of Infinity War. All the Asgardians are dead except for Thor, Loki, and Heimdall. Presumably, Korg, Meek, and Valkyrie die at the hands of Thanos and the Black Order. Thor looks beat up at the beginning with Loki hovering around. Strangely, the Hulk shows up to challenge Thanos but gets beaten unconscious. Where was he during the massacre of the Asgardians they so fought for in the previous film. He would probably have creamed half the Black Order first. Before Thanos could strike the killing blow to Thor and Hulk, Heimdall uses the last of his powers to create transport Hulk away. Heimdall gets killed. Loki then offers Thanos the Tesseract but has a change of heart and tries to kill Thanos only to get killed himself. So much for the only compelling MCU villain so far. Thanos and crew then leave Thor as the ship is destroyed. And everyone so wanted a follow-up to Thor: Ragnarok since Now-King-Thor was cool again. Ebony Maw, by the way, conducts some sort of customary speech as Thanos’ forces massacres everyone. While watching, I was trying to remember what his name was but he is a cool character.
It takes Thanos six months (or is it two years since the timeline became a bit blurry) to reach Earth because Ragnarok supposedly occurred in tandem with Captain America: Civil War. Hulk, hurtling through space fortunately crashes into the Sanctum Sanctorum of Doctor Strange alerting them of Thanos’ impending arrival. In the comics, it was Silver Surfer who crashed into the Sanctum, but we know the MCU can’t use him yet. So Strange transports to Tony Stark’s location and takes him to the sanctum to discuss the threat. They discuss the Infinity stones and Thanos’ plan to collect them. Tony suggests they destroy the Time Stone but Strange, knowing its value against Dormammu and other dimensional threats is against the idea. Bruce urges Tony to set aside his issues and call Steve. Before he does, the Black Order arrive.
The heroes fight against Ebony Maw and the Cull Obsidian. Bruce can’t seem to transform when Hulk’s sorely needed. Tony then shows off his new nanotech armor. To be honest, nanotech seems a bit much going from the more grounded Mark II. Reminding myself this is a comic book film. Spider-Man joins in as well, and they manage to defeat Cull Obsidian. Strange gets defeated by Ebony Maw and gets taken with Tony and Peter in pursuit. Tony launches the armored spider suit to help Peter with the high altitude which explains how Peter gets the suit despite his refusal in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Tony and Peter get trapped in space inside Maw’s ship thinking on how to save Strange as Maw tortures Strange to remove the spell protecting the Eye of Agamotto which is connected to Strange’s life force. If Strange dies, the Time Stone becomes inaccessible.
Somewhere else on Earth, Vision is on a date with Wanda when they get attacked by Corvus Glaive and Proxima Midnight. Vision is immediately at a disadvantage, but Wanda holds her own until Steve Rogers and Natasha arrive to help. Audiences cheered at the sight of Steve Rogers walking out of the shadows sporting his new beard. They manage to drive away the Black Order and protect Vision’s Mind Stone. The heroes then go back to Avengers HQ to address the threat of Thanos. Despite their differences, Rhodey welcomes them back regretting to signing the Sokovia accords. Wanda isn’t exactly a skilled fighter it’s tough for her to do close combat with Proxima but Proxima doesn’t stand a chance against the combination of Black Widow and Steve Rogers. While there doesn’t seem to be much of a problem with CGI Ebony Maw, Both Corvus and Proxima seem too uncanny. We know they’re CG but certainly, Marvel/Disney can do better. To be really honest they look a lot like PS4 cut scenes. But I was forced to overlook it due to the fast-pacing of the story.
In space, the Guardians of the Galaxy travel to the source of a distress signal which is the one broadcast in the opening. They arrive too late and then Thor bumps into them like a bug in a windshield. Now I may be nitpicking here, but given what just happened to him and what’s left of Asgard, I was expecting a little more anguish out of Thor. The humor is still funny though considering the present company. But Thor seems to be hiding it in some form of bravado and orienting himself to getting a new hammer to focus his powers. He tells the Guardians to go to where Mjolnir was forged. Thor convinces Rocket and Groot to accompany him since Rocket is familiar with the place while the others go to Knowhere to get the Reality stone from The Collector where they expect Thanos to be next.
At the forge, we meet Peter Dinklage who is not Pip the Troll, as earlier speculated but a rather large dwarf named Yttri. It was quite interesting that both Peter and the dwarf race weren’t stereotyped. Anyway, with Rocket’s help, they manage to forge Stormbreaker, Thor’s new hammer. I expressed an audible wow at the thought of Stormbreaker. It was the hammer of the alien Thor named Beta Ray Bill in the comics. The hammer was forged without a handle which Groot provided to prevent Thor from dying. Groot, by the way, is on a stereotypical distracted-and-moody-teen-phase in the film. We still don’t hear the deep voice of Vin Diesel. Marvel could still use someone else to voice kid and teen Groot because I feel Vin Diesel is wasted here. He only has that one line after all.
At Knowhere, the rest of the Guardians catch up to Thanos torturing the Collector to give up the Reality Stone. Drax couldn’t help but confront Thanos spoiling their surprise, leading Gamora and Quill to fight him. Gamora seemingly kills Thanos, but it was all an illusion. Thanos already destroyed the place, killed The Collector and taken the Reality Stone. Thanos takes Gamora because she knows where the Soul Stone is all along.
Back at Maw’s ship heading to Titan, Maw tortures Strange to remove the sell on the Eye of Agamotto. Iron-Man and Spider-Man team up to fight Ebony Maw and manage to defeat him through Spider-Man’s Aliens film reference, thus saving Strange. Strange remains stubborn about the Time Stone while Tony wants to fight Thanos when he least expects it. He wants to surprise Thanos on Titan.
We later get a backstory on Thanos and Gamora on when Thanos took her from her planet where he killed half the population as Ebony Maw preaches Thanos’ beliefs. As Nebula previously described in GOTG Vol. 2, Thanos has a twisted concept on family as he raised the two girls making them fight for his approval. We then see Nebula being tortured by Thanos after she failed to assassinate him. He tortures Nebula forcing Gamora into disclosing the location of the Soul Stone. Nebula manages to escape telling Mantis to go to Titan.
Stark’s team arrive at Titan before Thanos and there they meet with Quill’s team. They do the customary hero versus hero acquaintance fight and later get familiar with each other. They plan on how to defeat Thanos once he arrives as Doctor Strange uses the time stone to assess their chances of victory which is very, very slim. Back on Earth, Steve Rogers takes his team to Wakanda to find a way to get the Mind Stone off Vision without killing him. T’Challa assigns Shuri to the task while marshalling his forces.
Thanos arrives at the planet where the Soul Stone is kept atop some mountain. There they meet the dark, hooded guardian of the Soul Stone which some YouTube channels describe as The Unseen in Marvel Comics. The Unseen in the comics is actually the original Nick Fury (white dude in the main Marvel Comics universe) forced to take up the role after he killed entity called The Watcher. In Avengers: Infinity War, the hooded guardian is actually Red Skull which surprised many audiences who are more familiar with the MCU. I looked at the people around me despite my surprise to see if they felt the same thing. For whatever reason, Red Skull was cursed to keep watch over the Soul Stone. This is where things get hairy. For the stone to appear, the soul of a loved one must be sacrificed. Gamora, thinking that Thanos is an uncaring father figure, unable to love anyone, thought that Thanos would never get the stone. However, we get the idea here that Thanos actually felt and cared for Gamora as a daughter. Despite his love for her, Thanos needed to consider his bigger picture and sacrifices Gamora by throwing her off the cliff. Gamora dies, and the soul stone appears.
Thanos then arrives at Titan where he encounters Doctor Strange. He tells him that Titan was once a thriving world, but the planet was running out of resources. And the only insane way to save the planet was to randomly cull half the population. No one listened and the planet fell to ruin, thus Thanos’ concept of the need for balance. To save the rest of the universe, he goes about invading planet after planet and killing half of its population. This is contrary to how Thanos is depicted in the Comics where he loves and worships the embodiment of Death which is Mistress Death. To satisfy her, Thanos goes on a quest for the Infinity Stones to kill half the population of the entire universe. In Avengers: Infinity War, Death remains a concept and Thanos’ quest is a bit more grounded and in a way, makes some sense. It’s the same concept as Samuel L. Jackson’s villain character in Kingsmen. As additional info, there is an alternate Marvel Universe reality called the Cancerverse where Death was eliminated and no one dies, creating a twisted universe gradually filling up with all forms of life and quickly running out of space and resources. And like anyone with a life’s goal, he wants to pursue it and retire to a quiet life. Wow! That’s all anyone wants to do. I want to earn enough to retire and sit back in a quiet balcony reading books and comics all day.
So Thanos battles the combined forces of Doctor Strange, Iron Man, Spider-Man and the Guardians of the Galaxy in order to prevent Thanos from using it by keeping his hand open. They hold out their own against Thanos. Mantis renders him immobile in a trance as Stark and Peter try to remove the gauntlet. However, Nebula reveals that Thanos killed Gamora to get the stone thus enraging Quill. The plan fails and Thanos gets the Time Stone from Strange. Despite Strange’s resolve to protect the Time Stone at the cost of everyone else’s lives, he surrenders it before Thanos could kill Stark. At this point, it’s awesome how the plot really comes together and balancing out the film’s many characters with plenty of action scenes and most of the main heroes getting their spotlight.
And so, in Wakanda, it’s a race against time as Shuri tries to take out Vision’s Mind Stone without killing him. Thanos’ forces arrive at Wakanda for the Mind Stone, and here we see a tower-defense style epic battle a-la Battle of Hogwarts. As seen in the trailers, an army of monsters arrive and swarm Wakanda’s dome barrier. Many of the monsters die but some get through, and our heroes fight them off with Wanda again behind to stay on guard. The monsters begin to circle the barrier putting the rest of Wakanda at stake, so they decide to open it a bit and fight the monsters head on. The battle goes against the heroes forcing Wanda to abandon her post allowing Corvus Glaive to infiltrate the palace and halt the stone removal process. Here we see how powerful Wanda is as she fights off Thanos’ army and killing Proxima. Thor also arrives with his new hammer and decimates the monster army. Hulk still refuses to emerge after his first fight with Thanos perhaps due to fear, trauma or humiliation. Bruce in the Hulkbuster armor also fights and kills Cull Obsidian.
Thanos then arrives and battles the heroes as Wanda is forced to destroy the Mind Stone while it’s still on Vision. She succeeds but Thanos quickly undoes it using the Time Stone, rendering Vision’s sacrifice moot. Thanos kills Vision and completes the Infinity gauntlet and finally gets his wish. He first gets a vision of Gamora as a child and walks with her in the ethereal plane. At the end of the film, Only Rocket is left of the Guardians, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, Black Panther, Wanda, Falcon, and Bucky are gone. Now this is the part that left audiences bewildered, open-jawed, surprised, sad and upset. People leave the theater in silence yet I believe in their minds they saw a good film and know that the next part resolves the questions left in their minds.
I’ve seen Avengers: Infinity War twice now and established that this is a very good film. The first viewing is for spectacle and the second will help you appreciate all the story and emotion going on. All the deaths become secondary. It’s a conspiracy to pump up the numbers I tell you, but you really need to see it twice as early reviews, including mine, might not have given it justice. Superb action, great drama, cool effects. That cliffhanger though.