Review: Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Avengers: Infinity War doesn’t function as it’s own film. It forgoes any introductions and assumes that you’re well acquainted with the characters from the other films, and it makes little pretence of having any sense of finality, the ending basically serving as a teaser for the next film due to be released in May of 2019. This in itself isn’t necessarily a damning indictment; as there’s many other sequels have forgone long character re-introductions in order to be more direct, and one thing you can’t fault the film on is it’s directness. It understands what the bulk of the audience came to see, and a good portion of the runtime is dedicated to explosive fight scenes or quipy dialogue exchanges. They’re fine, and with most of the film being built around them it means most of the film is fine too, in this case it’s in the connective tissue where many problems reside.
The cast of characters play out almost exactly the same as they have in previous films, save for the new introduction, Thanos. Josh Brolin’s CGI laden performance is quite good in all actuality; he conveys a wide range of emotions and feels convincing while doing so, but the script gives him so little to work with he feels like a carbon copy of Ultron from the second Avengers film in that the entirety of his menace is predicated on the fact that he’s soft spoken. The audience is never really given any backstory in relation to his character apart from a few lines about a nice planet, and his motivations for enacting his grand plan are vague and confusing. There’s ins’t really any supporting villains to speak of, the few that do appear basically serving as glorified bodyguards with painfully boring designs so the force the heroes face isn’t entirely composed of identical mindless monsters.
Which brings me to the films second main problem, it’s look. It’s a given by now that these Disney-Marvel movies all have the same basic content, so the look matters even more so than it normally would. The visuals in Avengers: Infinity War aren’t the poppy pastel colours and flamboyant designs of Thor: Ragnarok, nor do they replicate the cold simplicity of the designs of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Instead it’s just a mess of flat greys and muddles earth tones arranged in uninspired designs, especially in the case of Thanos’s minions, who look like they could be the under-bosses from just about any other CGI filled superhero-fest, but also the vistas the the architecture. The photography is decent, and the action is highlighted efficiently except in a few cases in which the camera wildly swings around whilst computer generated limbs and ligaments fly all over the screen. It’s shot rather evenly and without a distinct style, but I would be hard-pressed to describe the cinematography as of poor quality in any regard. The soundtrack is in a similar vein, serviceable but not particularly impressive in any way.
The film’s strengths lie in how well it handles the recurring characters. They all feel fleshed out and well-developed and all have their own distinct voices. Even characters that have previously only served as plot devices, like Vision, have their own clear motivations and desires. It’s essentially the main reason that the film so effectively focused, in that there’s a defined cast of heroes with a clear goal and an adequately logical way of way of achieving that goal. They don’t downplay the severity of the situation at all, and though the humour threatens to become too familiar at some points it never outpaced the more serious elements of the story. The jokes themselves were quite snappy and mostly free from pop-culture references, though with a few noticeable exceptions, and all the characters get their won fair share of the comedic and the more dramatic elements of the film. Avengers: Infinity War is a good balance of lighthearted joviality, visually impressive action, and more starkly morbid moments, but it’s nothing that the rest of the Disney-Marvel films aren’t already. It’s serviceable, and I suppose at the end of the day that’s all it needs to be.
Image Source: Marvel.