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Avengers: Infinity War - DVD Review

Avengers: Infinity War

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4.5 out of 5

OVER the course of 10 years and 18 films, Marvel’s Cinematic Universe has been building to the endgame that is Infinity War. The question has always been, however, could they pull it off without underwhelming and blowing so much of their terrific, game-changing work? The answer has unveiled itself to be a resounding yes.

The 19th film in this sprawling cinematic saga is epic in every sense. It’s an eye-popping, sometimes mind-blowing, always exciting and occasionally even poignant ‘event movie’ that delivers in just about every area that Marvel fans could possibly hope for.

There are surprises designed to make you gasp aloud. There are cool crowd-pleasing moments to bring on the cheers. There’s even an ending that will leave you floored and crying out for more, which is due to arrive in the form of the as-yet untitled Avengers 4 in 2019. Perhaps most incredibly, there is no sense of fatigue setting in just yet.

The possibilities set up by Infinity War are endless and designed to have the fans scrambling to figure out what might happen next.

And, as ever, it’s hats off to the creative geniuses (and that term is appropriate now) at Marvel for delivering what many felt would be well beyond their reach. The secrecy surrounding the film in terms of plot details and character journeys has been brilliantly maintained. It’s a rare treat to find a film in this day and age that still has the ability to surprise. Disney, with this and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, now has two.

But the decision by co-directors Joe and Anthony Russo, screenwriters Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus, and producer Kevin Feige to play their cards so close to their chest does pay rich dividends. So, we’re not going to spoil anything here.

Avengers: Infinity War

What we can say about the film itself is this: the plot revolves around Thanos (Josh Brolin), the galactic warlord whose arrival has been anticipated since the very first Avengers Assemble film.

Thanos needs to unite six Infinity Stones in his Infinity Gauntlet to gain power over the universe and bring about the balance he seeks. It’s up to the Avengers, who are still recovering from the events of Captain America: Civil War, to try to stop him.

But anyone anticipating a long build-up to a massive showdown with inevitable winners and losers had best think twice. The Russo brothers aren’t afraid to deploy Thanos regularly in the thick of the battle. And he is formidable. An opening sequence sets the standard for what follows. There are consequences for anyone unfortunate enough to cross his path.

And if that weren’t enough, Thanos has minions in the form of The Black Order, led by the equally ruthless likes of Ebony Maw (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor) and Proxima Midnight (Carrie Coon). They provide the opportunity for even more scuffles.

If there’s a minor criticism, it’s that with so many characters to play with and so many battles to choreograph, the film doesn’t leave much room for much character development (bar two pivotal, and ironically, hitherto lesser characters). The emotional investment we have in our main heroes (Captain America, Thor, Iron Man et al) has previously been earned, thereby allowing for the heightened nature of any pay-offs.

Thanos, too, is afforded a lot of time to talk and explain his motivations, creating an unexpected amount of layering. Brolin, therefore, has plenty to work with – he’s not just there to smash. He’s intelligent, even philosophical, to boot.

Avengers: Infinity War

But the big moments are balanced nicely with the more glib ones. There’s an almost seamless mix of tones, with the Russo brothers even managing to pull off the inconceivable trick of paying lip services to the type of varied films that have come before.

Hence, the subversive nature of the Guardians of the Galaxy humour remains intact (complete with their ability to suddenly surprise emotionally), while the quick-witted banter of the likes of Peter Parker and Tony Stark is also there to enjoy. This blends well with the more earnest likes of Captain America and Black Panther, or the kick-ass style of Black Widow and Falcon.

Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) has plenty to do, too, and magically mixes the mystic hokum with the self-deprecating, while Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk continues to be comically conflicted post-Thor: Ragnarok. Everyone has brought their A-game, from cast to crew.

It means that Avengers: Infinity War never sags despite its 2-hour, 40 minute running time. It’s a rollercoaster ride that leaves you breathless, invested and eventually panting for more. Marvel’s Cinematic Universe really is something to savour and hold up as special.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 2hrs 40mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: September 3, 2018