Movie Review: Avengers: Infinity War

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PG-13 |

Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

by Jason Koenigsberg

Avengers: Infinity War feels like the movie equivalent of an All Star Game. Huge A-list stars appear onscreen for a few minutes then disappear for half an hour so that other big name stars can get some screen time. Much like in an All Star game players will come in and out so that everyone can get a chance to have a moment. This is an ensemble film with a slew of great actors and zero great performances. They are barely given enough time to be great and are bombarded with special effects that there are very few emotional and humanistic moments to be found. The result is just another loud blockbuster the likes of which we have seen many times before from Marvel Studios. 

The film opens with a spaceship and the audio of a distress call. This picks up right where the end credits scene from Thor: Ragnarok (2017) left off. We see Thor and Loki being beaten to a pulp at the mercy of Thanos played by Josh Brolin. Thanos is supposed to be intimidating but he is rather silly looking. A big purple giant with a chin that looks like a scrotum as one character points out, but it is an accurate description. Avengers: Infinity War has a darker tone than previous Avengers movies but still has a lot of colorful images flying around onscreen. It follows the same formula as the other Marvel movies, mass destruction of major cities with sarcastic one liners spliced in between the action. This is a money making creation, nothing more and nothing less. 

Avengers: Infinity War is a bloated action movie with too many characters to follow in any sort of cohesive manner. Chris Pratt kind of steals the show early on doing his Peter Quill/Star Lord role from the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, but even that gets lost among the overblown CGI, grandiose sound effects and nondescript music score. Robert Downey Jr., Chadwick Boseman, Mark Ruffalo, Don Cheadle, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Zoe Saldana, Benedict Cumberbatch are all such talented  actors but are given very little chance to act amidst all the overblown action sequences. That is still only about half the actors in this movie that are talented enough to carry their own movie and earn Oscar nominations along the way. I wish more time was focused on the performances and their emotional depth and interpersonal relations. That they were actually given an opportunity to act and not play second fiddle to the special effects. But money talks and they are all going to make millions more by showing their face in this franchise installment than lending their talents elsewhere. The only Avenger that is mysteriously absent from Infinity War is Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye. There is no explanation as to why he was missing but it is a real head scratcher. Even Samuel L. Jackson and William Hurt reprise their roles from this franchise in basically cameos. 

There are a few comical moments that might illicit a laugh especially when Dave Bautista’s character calls Thor a “pirate angel”, which is an on point description. Plus they made sly use of casting Peter Dinklage as the character he plays that should not be spoiled but it was very nice to see him play a very unlikely role. Avengers: Infinity War also is a clever parable about family dysfunction where certain characters talk about the damage their close relatives have done to them and ways that they have hurt their family. If they developed those dialogues more this might have been a more interesting film. 

In the end, the negative outweighs the positive for Avengers: Infinity War. The special effects take center stage and they are just more of the same unmemorable CGI explosions. Thanos is evil and even despite a dour third act, there never really is a threat that the world will end or that any of these beloved characters will die. There is far too much money to be made by everyone for this to be the final moments of the world, or the actual death of any of these heroes. 

Skip Avengers: Infinity War and see Black Panther still in theaters, a much smarter and more emotionally engaging Marvel film.

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