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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Avengers: Infinity War – Review


“Can you feel it, see it, hear it today?
If you can’t, then it doesn’t matter anyway
You will never understand it ’cause it happens too fast
And it feels so good, it’s like walking on glass
It’s so cool, it’s so hip, it’s alright
It’s so groovy, it’s outta sight
You can touch it, smell it, taste it so sweet
But it makes no difference ’cause it knocks you off your feet ”

Faith no more – Epic

10 years in the making. 10 years of build up and 10 years of setting the stage for a War to end all Wars in the marvel cinematic universe..well until the Skrulls show up but that’s a story for another time.

Starting in 2008 with Robert Downey Jnr appearing on screen as Tony Stark/IRONMAN and the words uttered by Samuel L Jackson “Nick Fury Director of S.H.I.E.LD, in the post credit scene, “I’m here to talk about the Avenger Initiative!” and ending in 2018 with the click of two over sized fingers.

We as Geeks have been provided with a proverbial cavalcade of action packed awesome, with Norse Gods, Super humans, Sorcerers, Magicians, Green Monsters, plucky misfits, Government agents and Space Cowboys. And in every instance we’ve come back for more, knowing that deep down everything will be alright…. or would it?

Many great enemies have fallen for Sure: The Red Skull, Loki, Ultron, Hela and many more but since the Avengers there has been an underlying menace tying all the films together and one that, until now we weren’t expecting how devastating it would be; Thanos and the Infinity Stones.

As the movies progressed we were made aware of Thanos and then 5 of the 6 infinity stones:

  1. The Space stone – Captain America The First Avenger
  2. The Reality Stone – Thor Dark World
  3. The Power Stone – Guardians of the Galaxy
  4. The Mind Stone – Avengers Age of Ultron
  5. The Time Stone – Doctor Strange

For those not aware of the Comics this may not have been too much of a concern but for those who have read them or, at least, know the canon, this was something big and potentially cataclysmic, all that was left was the Soul Stone and within Infinity War we find the last stone and with it a crescendo of our 10 year Journey.

This will be the Russo Brothers third time out into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Captain America the Winter Soldier and Civil War only 2 years later.  With those two great films behind them and an incredible arsenal of Talent the two brothers stepped forward to give us the first instalment of the infinity War.

The film in itself is a work of art, a tragic tearful work of chaotic art. With a runtime of 156 minutes the Russo Brothers elegantly filled every single minute with as much action and storyline as they possibly could. Every member, every Hero had an equal amount of screen time during the segments throughout and quite like a Tarantino film infinity war was cut up into segments, with each segment being dedicated to a small group of Heroes. This plot mechanism enabled the Russo Brothers to tell the story from three points of View without it feeling rushed or bogged down.

Even at the very beginning we are thrown directly into the fire,  we start off where Thor Ragnarok left us, and by that I mean the after credit scene where Thor and Loki are having a discussion about returning to Earth and THANOS ship appears in front of them,  during this opening sequence we are introduced to Thanos and his Black Order. Corvus Glaive, Proxima Midnight, Obsidian and Ebony Maw stand looming over a decimated ship while a distress signal still Echoes in the background,  Ebony Maw starts conducting a sermon of his master and how the Asgardian people have given their lives in service of Thanos,  we see here a beaten Loki, a battered Heimdahl  and Thanos walking the Deck of the ship in full battle armour.

Probably the most appealing moments of a very tragic first opening sequence where Loki gets to say the immortal words “we have a Hulk”  unfortunately for our a jolly Green angry giant it’s a short lived attack as Thanos lays proverbial Smack down on him,  beating him so badly it knocks him unconscious,  leaving Heimdahl no other alternative but the summon the last of the dark magic and Bifrost him to Earth and so  leading us to our first death as Thanos uses Glaives own staff to impale Heimdahl.

As you can imagine this left most of the cinema Auditorium I was sitting in with a gasp as we had not imagined this would happen so soon,  to be honest we all walked in a little naive, a little hopeful; boy were we wrong.

The decimation does not stop there though and as we watch Loki try to save his brother, as only Loki can, his attempts are fruitless and  not only does he have to give Thanos the Tesseract, but he is also the second casualty. Thor rages in sorrow as he is both restrained and powerless having to bear witness to his brother’s death and left to the ships Destruction all around him, casting him off into the cold emptiness of space.  I just like to point out at this point Thanos has the power stone already in the infinity gauntlet,  now he must have got this from Xandar,  which means Xandar has already been decimated.  luckily we will find this information out a bit further on in the film but it would have been great if we could have had a flashback to Thanos acquiring the power stone from the Nova corp.

Next up we arrive on Earth at the home of one Dr Stephen strange and Wong,  unfortunately for them their peace and quiet lasts a fraction of a second as Bruce Banner comes crashing down through the ceiling and through the staircase, both Strange and Wong look on in disbelief as Bruce Banner changing back from the Hulk announces “Thanos is coming”.

Cut to Tony Stark and Pepper Pots, walking in a park, happily engaged! Tony has an arc reactor in his chest but it’s actually nanotech for his Bleeding Edge armour, which thank god looks utterly fantastic on screen.  Doctor Strange uses his slip ring to bring Tony to the Sanctum Sanctorum  much to Peppers disapproval,  there old friends reunite and Tony is brought up the speed on Thanos  while Bruce is brought up to speed on everything that happened in the past couple of years he’s been gone (civil war and the breakup of the Avengers).

I’d like to say this is the part of the film where we can take a breather and relax for a spell, but no, I would be lying. Just as we start to gain any type of a step forward, the Black order turn up to push us two steps back. Ebony Maw and Obsidian show up to claim the Time Stone from around the good doctors neck, here we get to see the full prowess of the Sorcerer Supreme and Tony’s new Bleeding Edge nanotech armour. It is glorious. The CGI work that’s gone into this film is delicate but profoundly intricate in detail and appearance.

Time for everyone’s favourite Web slinging wall crawler to show up and does so with a giggle thanks to the ever wonderful guy in the chair, Ned, while not forgetting the Stan Lee cameo. The Russo brothers took everything Homecoming was and brought the same plucky attitude Peter has and let it run in Infinity War.  We get to see both Doctor Strange and Wong using the full Force of their mystic arts which on screen in an IMAX theatre looks fantastic.

The battle raging and Doctor Strange being captured by Ebony Maw who escapes in his ship,  Spider-Man gives chase unbeknown to him the ship has begun to leave orbit,  Peter finding it hard to breathe struggles to give chase. Tony feels our favourite wall crawler could use an upgrade,  so cue iron spider armour. This giving Peter a well deserved  fighting chance both him and Tony enter Ebony Maws ship,  the race Is on to rescue Doctor Strange.

Back on Earth, Bruce Banner having some performance issues due to the Hulk having his ass handed to him by Thanos says goodbye to Wong as he is left to guard the Sanctum, finds Tony’s flip phone that was given to him by Steve Rogers in Civil War and makes a call.

Now we come to probably one of my favourite moments of the film, we’re back in the galaxy. The Rubber band man playing in the background, we’re reintroduced to everyone’s favourite Guardians. Star Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket and a very adolescent Groot all singing along to The Swingers 70s hit. We find out the Guardians of the Galaxy are actually coming to the aid of the Asgardian distress signal, for a prophet of course. Instead they are welcomed by debris, floating bodies oh and a floating Thor! who ends up on the cockpit window with Rocket screaming “wipers, get it off!”. With the Guardians you’re always sure of a few chuckles and uplifting moments,  these are few and far between and during the course of the film a welcoming break It’s here, Thor sets off to Nidavellir to retrieve a weapon capable of killing Thanos but he’s not doing it alone he’s accompanied by Rocket and Groot.

We find out that Vision and Wanda have been together now off grid since Civil War and living very happily in Scotland,  unfortunately  they are ambushed by Proxima Midnight and Corvus Glaive. Luckily for them Bruce Banners call got through to the Secret Avengers, the name given to Steve Rogers covert team consisting of Black Widow and The Falcon. They arrive just in time and rescue both Wanda and Vision.

Each team has a specific goal throughout the film and it usually consists of tracking down, keeping safe or destroying and infinity stone. The Teams have an equal amount of screen time and all with their pacing and story laid out and easy to follow.

The next step in our journey leads us to the Soul Stone.

Gamora having been captured by Thanos is forced to provide the whereabouts of the last stone, where in we are reunited with an old villain from the First Avenger. Yes boys and girls the Red Skull is back,  he’s back but not in any shape or form that could threaten our good captain. He is actually back as an oracle type character and explains to Thanos that to gain the soul stone a soul must be offered in sacrifice. So with a heavy heart, if you can believe such a thing Thanos sacrifices his own favourite daughter to retrieve it; something you can actually see him struggle with.

I came into the film wanting to hate Thanos, he has always been a character of evil, Terror and dread but during the course of 156 minutes  I saw a different side. I was not expecting the concerned father figure, not for any of his other children I might add but only for Gamora, we saw the fatherly Instinct in him which was odd to say the least.

Let’s talk about Peter Dinklage,  now for months there’s been a lot of debate especially with Nerdist ‘Jessica Chobot’ on what character he could be, alas it seems Jess and Nerdist were wrong and I, having said from the very beginning, knew he would be  Eitri the great dwarf blacksmith. He would be the one to forge Stormbreaker.  Before anything is said, I know Stormbreaker is Beta Ray Bills hammer of choice and this axe hammer being more Thor’s Ultimate Marvel Universe weapon with a subtle nod to JarnBjorn but you have to have some creative licence and it was great to see.

Infinity War Is a Rollercoaster and I don’t mean the one where you  just put your hands up in the air, you scream and you’re having a good time, NO! This is a rollercoaster that makes you grit your teeth and hold on for dear life because you’re about to pull a couple of G’s. The pinnacle of this being the  big battle in Wakanda and the fight with Thanos on Titan.

Our Secret Avengers seek the help of Black Panther and his sister Shuri  in the removal of the mind stone from Visions head. luckily Steve Rogers now has a Hulk and the war machine to back him up. In similar fashion Black Panther has a White Wolf aka Bucky Barnes with a new shiny Vibranium arm to back him up. The tasks to remove the Mind stone from visions head can only be done by one person and that’s Shuri,  this girl could give Tony Stark a run for his money. During the process that could destroy Vision, Thanos’s army of Outriders invade Wakanda,  “Yibambe!”

Now I was talking about Titan.

On Titan the trio of Doctor Strange, Stark and Peter come up with a plan to remove The Gauntlet from Thanos,  luckily they meet up with Quill, Drax and Mantis. In this time Doctor Strange uses the time stone to view all the possible futures, all 4 million of them and tells the others that there is only one future in which Thanos loses.  Thanos arrives to explain that this is a necessary act to guarantee the survival of the universe he has to destroy half.  While the battle ensues  Nebula arrives, having escaped capture aboard Thanos’s ship, she helps the group and manages to subdue him.  Nebula and Quill briefly interrogate Thanos while Mantis tries to keep him at docile. They learn that he’s killed Gamora, Quill goes into a rage which breaks the groups hold on the Titan, just as Spider-Man was about to remove The Gauntlet from his left hand.  Thanos defeats them by launching a cluster of moon debris onto the planet surface, in exchange for sparing Stark’s life Doctor Strange offers up the time stone.

Now Thanos has five stones and leaves for Wakanda.

This being the moment I was cheering in the theatre, the Outriders are decimating the Wakandan armies and our Secret Avengers all hope seems to be lost, Until. Thor, Rocket and Groot return to Earth via the Bifrost in a Symphony of lightning and thunder with Thor holding the newly forged Stormbreaker And a promise to keep the Thanos.  Midnight, Obsidian and Glaive are killed leading the outriders retreat.  Thanos then appears, with all of us thinking that the Avengers had won with Wanda destroying the mind stone, little do we know with the use of the time stone,  Thanos is able to turn the clock back to retrieve the final stone. Out of nowhere though, the god of Thunder launches a final attack with Stormbreaker piercing through the gauntlets energy blast and plunging Stormbreaker directly into his chest,  Thor’s promise of it ending with Thanos’s death comes to light, until the mad Titan utters  the words “you should have aimed for my head” and Snaps his fingers. The mad Titans plan comes to fruition and probably the most gut wrenching moment where everyone in the Auditorium that I was sitting in felt like we’ve been punched in the dick.

Bucky, Drax, Groot, Mantis, Wanda, Peter, Quill, Strange, Black Panther and Falcon all disintegrate in front of the remaining Heroes.  Peter’s disintegration I think got me the most as even though previously Tony had knighted him an Avenger, a very proud moment for every wall crawling  fan,  we’re reminded cripplingly that he is just a teenager and scared, Grasping onto Tony asking for help knowing that Tony can’t do anything to save him. Our surviving heroes Nebula and Stark, separated and stranded on Titan,  Steve, Thor, Banner, Widow, War Machine and the remaining Guardians are left in Wakanda. Thanos now healed awakens on a planet, sits in satisfaction and watches the sunset.

I was gutted, distraught, upset.. in one click of the fingers we lost half of the Marvel Universe and I wasn’t sure how i felt about it and had to keep telling myself that it was a two part film really and that there was still hope… I think?!

On to that post credit scene.

We see a black SUV,  it’s clearly and old S.H.I.E.L.D vehicle inside Nick Fury and Maria Hill are discussing the situation when chaos ensues around them,  they both leave their vehicle to survey what’s going on.  Maria Starts to disintegrate,  just as the same thing starts to happen to Nick Fury he starts to transmit a distress signal from what looks like a pager as his body dissolves  Samuel Jackson utters his  famous one-liner “mother fu…”  we see the pager  fall to the floor and an insignia appears on the front,  it belongs to Captain Marvel. With her film coming up soon, this will tie her in well to the second part of Infinity War

I’ve many words to describe this film, epic is one of them, magnum opus  are two others, it was a roller coaster ride of highs and lows, action packed and well thought out. Everything tied in beautifully and left you feeling numerous emotions. Sure I was upset but I knew there was a second part and it just made me long for that to come out; long being the operative word as its not for another year!

The Russo Brothers have set up for a winning goal with Infinity War; one that befits the grandeur of the Marvel universe.


Journalist, PR, father all round King of Geeks. "Hail to the king!"

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