Avengers: Infinity War Drowns in Mini Stories
Going into the movie theater on Sunday, I was expecting to have an amazing experience. Never before had I heard such high praise for an almost three-hour movie.
"It didn't even feel like I'd been sitting there that long," one person said. "The whole thing just flew by! It was that good," said another. I heard so many people say this movie kept their full attention from start to finish. Unfortunately, letting myself believe the hype surrounding Avengers: Infinity War was probably my biggest mistake.
I'll preface this whole review by saying that I wasn't 100 percent caught up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) going into the theater. I'd seen most of the movies, but there were a few that I just didn't get around to before watching Infinity War. I hadn't seen Black Panther or Doctor Strange, which probably impacted my enjoyment of the segments where those characters were involved. I also hadn't seen the second Guardians of the Galaxy movie, but I saw the first, so I at least knew who those characters were and what their personalities were like.
Rating: 7/10 (Good)
Avengers: Infinity War is by no means a bad movie. It scratches the action itch that every superhero fan has and collects all of the MCU heroes into one cinematic package. For those who are just looking for a reason to see fan favorite characters intermingling with each other, Infinity War is perfect. It gives just enough context to justify all the heroes coming together in epic, action-packed settings.
However, if the character interactions aren't enough to make an entire feature film a hit, Infinity War falls flat.
The movie suffers most from how it sets itself up. Infinity War centers around Thanos' quest to collect all six Infinity Stones in order to provide balance to the universe through his own methods. He's arguably the main character of the movie, with the entire story relying on him more than any other one character. The problem is that, until this movie, Thanos had only been introduced through very brief cameos in the first two Avengers movies and a minor role in the first Guardians of the Galaxy. The last time he was even seen in an MCU film was in 2015. For viewers who aren't huge fans or didn't watch all of the movies again leading up to Infinity War, remembering even who Thanos is can be difficult.
At the beginning of Infinity War, Thanos already has one of the Infinity Stones, making the entire movie feel more like a collection of very fast and mostly emotionless fetch quests that are slammed together in order to justify the shock ending. The huge cast is split into smaller, more palatable groups, which helps make the sheer number of heroes not so overwhelming but forces the movie to spend more time jumping from group to group than it does focusing on any one storyline.
The number of characters included in the movie also makes it so that very few characters get more than a few lines throughout the entire film. There's very little character development, leaving fan impressions of the heroes generally in the same place they were at the beginning of the film.
Even Thanos, who had the potential to become a truly flawed and interesting villain, gets very little actual character development. He comes off as a cookie-cutter madman who is simply looking for ultimate power to do whatever he thinks is best. There's no backstory to help people understand why he's trying to collect the Infinity Stones or why he thinks he should have this power. We don't know what in his past made him suddenly so dedicated to this goal. All we know is that he a conqueror who has murdered thousands in his search.
Overall, Avengers: Infinity War is about what you'd expect from a big-budget action movie. The story is fairly predictable and the emotional beats are hit or miss, but the jokes deliver more often than not and the action doesn't disappoint. Infinity War isn't the greatest movie ever made. It really isn't even the greatest superhero movie ever made. It is an entertaining and enjoyable 2 hours and 40 minutes, though, and a welcome escape from reality.