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The beginning of the end
‘Avengers: Infinity War’ smashes hearts, expectations and box office records
Let me begin this review by promising to give as few spoilers as possible. You’re welcome.
We open the film to find some familiar faces in distress and directors Anthony and Joe Russo waste no time in beginning the massacre that Marvel led us to expect. Within minutes, we say goodbye to a beloved character, so if you haven’t seen this film yet, here’s your official warning: bring tissues.
This first death truly sets the tone for the film, as viewers realize that their favorite characters may not be as immortal as they’ve appeared so far. This overarching fear carries to the end of the film, through misunderstandings, confrontations and war scenes, as pictured in several of the film’s trailers.
After this dark beginning, we find some relief in scenes of romance between Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and a comedic return by the “Guardians of the Galaxy” crew. Both romance and comedy were far more apparent in “Infinity War” than in MCU films of the past. We see at least three separate couples profess their love in both times of fear and of sentiment. With the news of an engagement and a reunion of almost-lovers, these characters have become much more than super heros to viewers.
As far as comedy, hardly any scenes went by without inciting a resounding laugh from the audience. Screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely knew going into “Infinity War,” that each MCU world coming together already had an established tone and style that would need to be balanced with all the others. Joe Russo commends them for doing so in such a seamless manner.
“You’re talking about the unprecedented notion of taking pre-existing franchises, that all have tones that are beloved by the audience, very different tones, and bringing them together,” Russo said to Marc Bernardin of Syfy. “And tone is really the defining element of whether a story is told successfully or not.”
And successful it was. In this whopping two hour and 40 minute film, it somehow feels like you are spending time in each MCU bubble. From Thor’s (Chris Hemsworth) poetic yet puzzling remarks, to Stark’s snarky witticisms, to Peter Parker’s (Tom Holland) naive confidence and Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) idiotic banter with everyone he meets, it all felt authentic and it all had its place. This film was so well balanced and developed that it was almost confusing when the scenes shifted location because you could so easily get lost in every setting and character’s plotline.
But this film goes even deeper than that. Another clearly intentional choice by the MCU team was to develop and showcase strong female characters. One scene in particular includes Okoye (Danai Gurira), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) coming face to face with what appears to be a female minion of Thanos. This female dominated combat scene was not only full of action and physical power, but also a positive reception of female power by other females.
Perhaps the most prominent theme in “Infinity War” is family. Compared to MCU films of the past, at least in my opinion, family and loved ones seem to be the motivation of almost every character. Even Thanos, whose goal is to kill half the population, is motivated and moved by his loved one. Two characters didn’t even show in the film due to apparent obligations to their families. This showed true empathy in otherwise stoic or mailitant characters, adding to the already emotional end of this film.
Overall, “Infinity War” has elevated MCU to new levels of storytelling, visual effects, emotional tolls, drama and box office records. Now the biggest global opening in history, “Infinity War” netted an estimated $630 million in its opening weekend, according to deadline.com.
While this film leaves plenty of questions unanswered (Where did Wanda’s accent go? Will there be a wedding? Will I ever stop crying?), viewers only have to wait one year to get some answers. The unnamed fourth Avengers film, wich is currently listed as “Untitled Avengers Movie” on IMDb, is set to be released in the U.K. on April 26, 2019 and in the U.S. on May 3, 2019.