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Review: “Avengers Infinity War” Poignant but Expected

Everything in the Marvel Universe has been building to this movie with lots of clues that characters and changes were planned. I know I was anticipating this movie with excitement but was unsure if the writers would be able to execute the diverse elements in a coherent fashion. With Thanos (Josh Brolin) being such a rich character, it was important for the story to keep momentum for the fourth Avengers film but be strong enough on its own as well. The story is executed well, the characters will make you cry and while the storyline held few surprises, it was exactly what it needed to be to build to the second half of Avengers in Part II of Infinity War.

The beginning of the movie begins almost exactly where Thor: Ragnarok leaves off with the Asgardians decimated, ships destroyed and Thanos come to collect on the Tesseract or more precisely, one of the six Infinity stones. Without giving away how, he manages to obtain the stone and leaves Thor (Chris Hemsworth) behind, wounded on a crippled ship. In the process of fighting Thanos, Heimdell (Idris Elba) manages to send Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) back to Earth. Thanos sends his soldiers, The Black Order, after the stones on Earth and continues his search for the other two stones in the wider universe.

While Hulk lands back on Earth, Thor ends up with the Guardians. Gamorra (Zoe Saldano) recognizes the threat, with Thanos having raised her and the group end up aiding Thor. Bruce Banner recruits Dr. Strange, who holds the stone of time and the pair of them bring Tony Stark to the fight. While Bruce searches for Vision, the last stone embedded in his skull, the others prepare for Thanos journey to Earth. If they can’t stop him, he plans to use the stones to wipe out half of all living beings in the universe.

There are so many elements that are working so well in this movie. With this many characters, it would be easy to lose parts of what makes them unique. After all, the egos between Stark, Strange and Starlord (Chris Pratt) alone would fill a large building but the writers manage to tell the story while streamlining the backstories of the various characters smoothly. They manage to keep the essential nature of each character but without dragging down the story all while injecting humor into the dialogue over all those egos!

This is a movie with some poignant moments. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to tell you that not everyone makes it. The director and the writers build some beautiful moments increasing those heartbreaking scenes. But there are also some dialogue, especially between Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and Stark that just made the audience burst out in laughter. That balance of lightness is well needed to highlight those scenes that inevitably happen in a movie labeled Infinity War.

Marvel has always had a way with making the action sequences kick ass and this film was no exception. The scenes in Wakanda, in particular, were stirring, the dervish of activity amazing and the Wakandans, Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Shuri (Letitia Wright), Okoye (Danai Gurira) and M’Baku (Winston Duke), were one of my favorite parts, most especially because of how important they and their country were to the plot. I was pleased at how critical the writers made their piece. I also liked how connected each scene was to the others, with no parts of the plot being unimportant.

But it is the emotional scenes that carry the most weight. There are many along the way but these couldn’t have worked without excellent acting. One of the most beautiful scenes happens between Wanda Maximoff (Elisabeth Olsen) and Vision played by Paul Bettany.

This pair’s chemistry was incredible and their scenes together were haunting. Of equal delight were the scenes between Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana (Gamorra). Chris Hemsworth was incredible as Thor, his losses allowing the actor to capture a different side of the character. Tom Holland as Peter Parker managed to imbue the character with everything I’ve ever wanted in the character and was a critical element to the humor in his scenes with Robert Downey Jr. There aren’t any bad scenes or any bad acting in this entire film.

What did lose a bit with me was the predictability of the movie. There were very few surprises. All of it was what had to happen to setup for the final Avengers film. The problem with this, though, is that a lot of actions were telegraphed long before they happened and even some part of the next film, I have an idea of what is going to happen, just due to the rather strong hints at the end of the movie. There were some parts that did happen differently or in a different sequence but most of the critical pieces were what I expected to see. Even in the end sequence, nothing happened that was a surprise.

The other little piece that bothered me was in the proportions on some of the larger characters, like Hulk, Thanos, and some of the hulkbuster robots. Quite a few of them were out of proportion with the other characters at times. The close ups with Thanos and Gamorra were well shot but there were others where the ratio was just slightly off. While it is difficult to be perfect, at least one of those scenes pulled me out of the movie.

Still, I loved this movie. Because it was what I wanted, even though it didn’t surprise me, I still found it to be a great movie. The writing worked well, never missing a beat with the dialogue and humor. The acting was almost perfect and too many characters, too many actors to name. It truly was an ensemble cast and each has their moment to shine. The writers connect and consolidate the world, bringing the characters together. And while it does end on a change, it is what needs to happen to create the set up for the last Avengers movie. It was an emotional ride that I need to see again!
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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