Review: 'Avengers: Infinity War'
To begin, a little bit of justification as to why I'm reviewing this. In addition to being the 19th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Avengers three ... point five ... ish, this movie is also essentially Guardians of the Galaxy volume 2.5. And seeing as how that team just won its second motion picture Ursa Major by a pretty good margin over historically fierce competition, well, this is a team furries apparently care about, even if it's really just Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) bringing the furry.
Next, a little bit of warning. This movie ends on what could be a cliffhanger which may totally be retconned out of existence by the end of next year's Untitled Avengers Film, or maybe not, in which case there is a lot, a lot, of stuff to spoil. Now, people have a tendency to act, well, spoiled about spoilers, which basically didn't exist before Alfred Hitchcock invented the idea to promote Psycho, despite the fact that the trailer consists of Hitchcock giving the game away, since it doesn't matter.
However, there's no need to be rude, so I'm not going into the ending, other than I think I will reveal Rocket's fate, so you know whether or not, as a furry, you should just give up on this Marvel Cinematic Universe or not.
But I'll do that after the break, so if you don't want to know, well, don't click "read more".
The Russo brothers took over from Joss Whedon, who directed the first two Avengers movies and has gone over to the other side, basically co-directing DC's Justice League last year – which should have been more of a lateral move in theory, but in practice, is not. There's a more solid baseline of competency in the Marvel movies than the DC movies (or any other non-Marvel studios outfit, such as Fox's X-Men series), even when they're basically forgettable (Ant-Man or Doctor Strange) or even imminently frustrating (the Russo's own Captain America: Civil War).
And comparatively, Avengers: Infinity War falls somewhere between The Winter Soldier (which I really liked) and Civil War (which, not to beat a dead horse or anything, I really hated). It's one of the darker movies in the MCU, seeing as how the plot is basically a mega-maniacal god-like alien who decides that half the people in the universe need to die, and he has the wherewithal to go through with that plan, and is working pretty steadily on the means to that end throughout the movie. Thanos (voiced by Josh Brolin), after spending a lot of time lurking in the shadows of other villains' schemes for the last decade, finally decides to get off his butt and collect the Infinity Stones himself, which basically lets him do whatever he wants if collected together. He maybe should have done this years earlier, though, because he takes like a day to get most of them. The movie doesn't even bother to show us how he got the purple one, which basically renders the major conflict of the best MCU movie essentially meaningless. Should have just given it to Yondu after all.
The movie begins like five minutes after the credits roll on Thor: Ragnarok, with Thanos arriving on the Asgardian refugee ship and basically killing everyone that isn't Thor (Chris Hemsworth) or the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), therefore rendering another one of the better MCU's central conflicts moot. All I'm saying is Iron Man 2 and Thor: The Dark World were right there, and they chose to render obsolete the good ones?
Anyway, the Hulk is sent back to Earth, and is so traumatized by his short fight with Thanos he morphs back into Bruce Banner and refuses to hulk out for the rest of movie (which sounds kind of lame when you type it out like that, but is one of the stronger decisions in the movie character-wise because it allows Banner to be pretty awesome in his own right). Thor, meanwhile, is sent into space, but because he's Asgardian, he's okay, even when the Guardians of the Galaxy run over him with their spaceship. These two are able to tell everyone what's going on, and basically the rest of the movie is attempts to keep Thanos from collecting various stones, with a big final battle building in Wakanda.
If large swaths of the last two paragraphs sounded like complete and utter gibberish, well, you can probably set this one out. You've probably been sitting out the last 18 movies, so this is not what is known in comic book lingo as "a good jumping on spot". The movie does highlight characters that haven't gotten their own spotlight movie, or at least not one for a while, so, for example, War Machine (Don Cheadle) has a small scene that serves as refresher course reminding us who this guy is and why we should care about him (which is kind of depressing, because War Machine is actually the second hero ever introduced in the MCU, way back in the original Iron Man), while Captain America (Chris Evans) literally just appears in a scene out of nowhere with absolutely no explanation, then or later on, as to who he is, what he does or even where he came from. The movie doesn't have to explain anything; he's Captain freakin' America. Even if you got lost in the Infinity Stones wiki links, you know who he is. But it's still amusing to note the movie just doesn't even worry about trying to explain him, and it works.
Rather than listing it's many, many characters, it's easier to note who's not here. Ant-Man and the Wasp are getting their own movie later this year (and that's going to be weird in the timeline), and Hawkeye is just kind of mentioned off-handedly at one point. Family stuff. Poor guy. Despite the fact that he had the single best moment in the last Avengers movie, he was at the top of the deadpool, and people noticed he wasn't even on the poster. Turns out he's not on the poster because he's not in the movie. Well, that's one way to beat the deadpool odds.
Well, that's enough about the humans, let's talk about Rocket! After accidentally running over Thor, he teams up with the guy, who is looking for a replacement for his hammer. Thor knows a place where weapons of immense power are forged, and Rocket's sold. While the rest of the Guardians head back to Knowwhere, he goes with Thor (who, in an echo of the last Guardians movie's running joke where a character repeatedly mistook Rocket for a fox, repeatedly mistakes Rocket for a rabbit; significant downgrade, in my opinion), and actually gets a scene where he begins to try and act on some of the things he learned in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. He eventually ends up on Earth in the big battle, where he ...
Well, now we're in that promised spoiler territory. Don't worry, though, at the end of the movie Rocket is ... fine. He's fine. He'll be fine.