Avengers: Infinity War

  • 05 May - 11 May, 2018
  • Farheen Jawaid
  • Reviews

Is it really any surprise that gazillions in public property gets blown up in blockbusters every week? Or for that matter everyday people – most of whom are whisked away to safety in the background – actually do not have much to contribute to the story? More importantly, are you even remotely interested in going to the cinemas to watch a movie where a layman’s perspective plays a major part in the evolution of the storyline, where the world crumbles and nearly dies?

If the answer to any (if not all) of these questions depends on two letters – N and O – then, you’ll find much to enjoy in Avengers: Infinity War, the culmination of the first three phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and perhaps (no make that definitely!) a roadmap for the next ten or so years.

Yes, I kid you not – Marvel Studios, a subsidiary of Disney who are making all the wrong decisions with Star Wars – plan to make superhero films based on their properties till 2028.

If that thought produces a whopping cough, wait and buy a ticket to Infinity Wars.

By far the greatest, crack-a-joke-a-minute, pulse-pounding actioner since the first Avengers, this latest installment (the 19th movie of the Marvel Universe) from the Russo Brothers (Captain American: Winter Soldier and Civil War) wants to finish story-threads laid out since “tesseract” came up in the first Thor’s post-credit sequence in 2011.

Seven years to the dot (Thor came out on April 27), Infinity War rallies up every one of Marvel’s heavy-hitters into a very difficult to manage ensemble film.

While I will keep the plot under-wraps (though, there isn’t really any need for it), Infinity War opens straight from Thor: Ragnarok’s climax. Thanos, in search of the stones of power visits the Asgardian ship leaving it in shambles. Voiced by Josh Brolin, Thanos is a villain with a deep-rooted Malthusian agenda and a sorrowful heart. He wants the universe to end – but there may be more than what meets the eye, as the final shot of the film tells us.

To stop the unstoppable villain (which, according to yours truly, is the best bad guy Marvel has even made for screen), Thor rallies up with the Guardians of the Galaxy, while Bruce Banner lands on Doctor Strange’s mystical house, and a rag-tag team of defenders are assembled, including Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Falcon, Vision, Scarlett Witch, Black Panther, War Machine and the entire nation of Wakanda.

Naturally, an assemblage like this leave little room for innate character play. Despite the hitch, screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely manage to scatter bits of screwball-ish tones idiosyncratic to each character within the divided set of scenes throughout the film.

Some of it, embedded within gargantuan 3D action set-pieces (the 3D is quite good, by the way), is laugh-out-loud funny; most of them give actors room to throw weighty, drawn out looks to the audience (the actors are fantastic, by the way).

Of course, no one in their right minds would watch Avengers: Infinity War without going through the set of preceding story arcs featuring the infinity gems that Thanos wants.

The gems, if you didn’t know, control minds, space, time, perceptions of reality and power. The Soul Stone, the final elusive stone that completes Thanos’s gauntlet (a left-arm metal-glove that houses these stones of power) is still missing though. It’s whereabouts and way of acquisition withheld until this film, is introduced as a pivotal, yet not unforeseen, twist.

On plot level, the story is miniscule; even rudimentary. A mad-man, mincing planets to interstellar dust wants to acquire these stones of power, so that he may do something really nasty to the universe. The heroes, of course, will stop him – and spoiler alert – some will die in the process.

The screenplay, for lack of a better word, is unexpected.

The story’s layout reminds me of those great big comic book arcs, where characters either evolve or come to terms with their journeys while finding ways to stop a universe-ending catastrophe.

A lot of the stuff happening on the screen is fulfilling, goose-bump inducing experience. Kevin Feige, the President of Marvel Studios and Executive Producer of most of its films, has a fine understanding of what works within a film’s narrative confines (the Stones themselves, plucked from the comic book world, reminds me of another immensely powerful Marvel comic element called the Cosmic Cube).

Infinity War isn’t an off-shoot of an animated show, or a comic book (though in essence, it springs from that origin); however, the film is an individual entity by itself – and so, deserves every respect as a motion picture.

Avengers: Infinity War is a rousing epic that demands a round of applause, for its wit, audacity and level-headedness – especially more so given that it is, indeed, as a summer pop-corn flick.