The team’s spoiler-free thoughts on Avengers: Infinity War

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So, Avengers: Infinity War. After what might be the longest build-up in movie history, the first half of Marvel’s proposed magnum opus is finally here. And hot damn, was it worth the wait! I wasn’t the only fortunate one on the team who got to watch the superhero smash-up though, and there was no way Noelle, Craig, Tracy, and Nick were going to be able to keep quiet about this monumental achievement in comic book blockbuster filmmaking, so here’s what they had to say about Avengers: Infinity War. Spoiler alert: They liked it just as much as I did!

Noelle:

Well, I didn’t honesty expect that. The opening scene for Avengers: Infinity War sets the tone for the movie and it is as dark and ruthless when it comes to the fate of Marvel heroes as Game of Thrones is to its characters. Take tissues, and if you’re going with wide-eyed young superhero enthusiasts, you may want to prep them for inevitable trauma. In fact, you have to wonder if many fans will react to Infinity War the way they did with Star Wars: The Last Jedi, in terms of how it dances around expectation and fan theory? Then again, comic readers are well-acquainted with character death, so we’ll see.

Mostly, watching Avengers: Infinity War, two thoughts came through clearly:

1) Well done to the Russos for managing the entire MCU of characters, strewn across multiple galaxies. If you thought what they accomplished in Civil War was impressive, you’ll be blown away by the delicate balance achieved here. While there isn’t much in the way of established character exploration (Vision and Gamora are exceptions), pretty much everyone has a moment to shine. What’s particularly impressive is that each of the heroes is allowed to maintain the tone and differentiation of their solo movies, right down to Doctor Strange’s trippy, reality-bending magic. And, yes, there are many fan service moments (think long-fantasised team-ups and verbal sparring) but they always feel organically integrated into the bigger story instead of being dropped in like doorstops to bring the movie’s pace to a halt. For 149 minutes, Infinity War always moves along briskly.

2) You know why so many Marvel villains – with the exception of Loki and Killmonger – have been a bit naff? Evidently, it’s because MCU decision-makers didn’t want these enemies to compete with Thanos. The Universe’s Big Bad (played by Josh Brolin) is magnificent: emotionally complex, awful and understandable in equal measure. I cried once while watching Infinity War, and it was surprisingly during a Thanos-centred scene. The character is hands-down the best part of Infinity War.  He dominates the movie, as he rightly should, although his hench-alien “Children” are also chilling presences. (Proxima Midnight cosplays incoming!)

There’s no denying that Infinity War is a dark movie. The shadow of the Avengers’ inevitable failure hangs over the whole project. Fortunately, it’s not all gloom, thanks to the mood-lifting provided by the likes of Drax and Spidey. Instances of triumph and exhilaration accompany the heartbreak, making Infinity War the rare superhero movie that is a genuine emotional experience. Plus, you’ll probably end the movie feeling stunned, and speculating frantically about the nature of the as-yet-unnamed Part 2 – given hints dropped in dialogue throughout this film, and its tantalising post-credits scene.

Score: 9/10

Craig:

Never before have I felt the fate of the universe more at stake than what this film made me feel here and it’s all a result of the excellent writing from Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely and immaculate directing skills the Russo brothers wield. It’s a movie that so easily could have gone wrong as the filmmakers try to balance the biggest collection of superheroes ever assembled in one movie, yet in this film, despite perhaps a couple underutilized a little, they still make you experience the power and awe of almost every single character and ensure that the story is relevant and meaningful all at the same time. It truly is a rare and special achievement.

One thing the film does so well is to capture the feeling of the different characters from the quirky laughs of the Guardians of the Galaxy and the fast-talking of Spider-Man, to the tribal beats of Black Panther and dramatic intensity of Captain America and Iron Man. The different sections of the movie all come to life as you experienced them in their own films and it truly is incredible how they brought all of it together here. Though the credit lies not just on this film, but on every film that has preceded it because you only experience this and feel so strongly for the characters of the film because you’ve got to be part of the experience over the past few years.

And yet despite all that collection of heroes in one film at the same time, the real star is Josh Brolin’s Thanos, who is not only easily the best villain Marvel has ever delivered to the big screen, but possibly one of the best movie villains in a film of all time. Brolin plays the role to perfection in ways that you are in awe of his sheer ruthlessness, while almost feeling drawn to his cause at the same time. It’s almost amazing that through all of the excellently executed action scenes, a story like this could have so much heart at the same time. Even the score produced in this film is by far the most powerful and memorable in a Marvel movie and perfect mirrors the intensity and emotion of the film.

From the very beginning, the film unlaces its intensity at you and for the entire movie it simply never stops delivering. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you most certainly will have your mind blown at the audacity and excellence of it all. Avengers: Infinity War is a cinematic event that needs to be experienced. It is not a perfect movie, but it is possibly the perfect superhero movie.

Score: 9/10

Tracy:

Honestly, sitting down to put thoughts into words is exceedingly difficult with this movie, as everything seems like it could be a spoiler. From the get-go, Infinity War turns the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe on its head. I won’t wax lyrical about how incredible Thanos is, or how the filmmakers have managed to seamlessly blend the different film styles of the standalone movies into one epic mashup (that works!) as Noelle, Craig and Kervyn have already expanded at length about those points.

What I will add is that the emotional impact of the film had me crying for hours after the end credits rolled. Marvel pulls no punches here, and one scene in particular still has me tearing up as I think about it now, two days after watching the film. The cinematography in Infinity War is beautiful, every scene is practically picture perfect and so many specific moments still linger in my mind. All the actors have brought their A-game as well, not just Josh Brolin’s multi-layered and powerful performance as Thanos. Even though some characters get a lot less screen-time than others, which is understandable with a movie of this scale, every last one of them is a pitch-perfect version of their characters, with many highly emotional and vulnerable moments added in for good measure.

I don’t really know what I was expecting when I walked into the screening of Avengers: Infinity War, but whatever preconceptions I might have had were completely blown out of the water. I laughed, I cried, I cried some more, and the ending left me speechless. Okay, I lie, the first words out of my mouth when the credits rolled were “Take it back!”. I feel uncomfortable with just how much this film got under my skin, mostly because it took my breath away and basically tore out my heart. Waiting for Part II seems virtually impossible now.

Score: 9/10

Nick:

Sitting down to watch this was not easy. I was as anxious as I was watching A Quiet Place. The reason for that anxiety is because I have loved the MCU so damn much since Iron Man. Even the movies that I deem not that great have a place in my heart because of the characters. This was going to be an emotional ride because it was the culmination of so much time and effort and if it sucked I would be devastated. I also knew the stakes were high for characters I dare call friends. Walking out I was shattered because the movie not only lived up to the hype, it exceeds it in a way that no movie, not even a Star Wars one, has ever achieved. I needed to settle with a glass of red just to speak about it!

Score: 9/10

So that’s everybody’s thoughts. Once you folks check it yourself from tonight onwards, feel free to come back and tell us what you thought!

Last Updated: April 26, 2018

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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