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AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR gets 7.5/10 Throwing down the gauntlet

Directed by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Staring Robert Downey Jnr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Chris Pratt, Josh Brolin

7.5/10

Certainly since The Avengers (2012), if not before, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been working towards one giant cross-over event. In Avengers: Infinity War fans finally get their chance to see it. The question is, does it have the stones to deliver on a decade of anticipation?

At the heart of the Infinity War is the big purple tyrant himself Thanos (Josh Brolin). Introduced in The Avengers, Thanos and the Infinity Stones have been the threads that have knitted together the various parts of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After the destruction of his home-world, Thanos’ quest has been to restore balance in the universe by destroying half of all life. His solution to the ethical thought exercise of the Trolley Car Problem (and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch The Good Place) is to crank the train up to full speed, and to get the passengers to form a cult to worship him.

To this end he’s had crafted some fashionable accessory enabling him to wield multiple Infinity Stones at the same time. More than just a gaudy tribute to Michael Jackson, once completed it should grant him undreamed of power enabling him to complete his goal of wiping out half of all life in the universe, leaving enough resources to allow the rest of sentient life to continue existing in peace and security. Of course, despite having fallen out in Captain America: Civil War(2016), Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jnr), Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and the rest of The Avengers (along with Doctor Strange, Spider-man and the Guardians of the Galaxy) seek to stand in the mad Titan’s way, but will even their combined might be enough?

This is almost the very definition of a big summer blockbuster tent-pole film, promising spectacle and world altering stakes. Avengers: Infinity War hits the ground running delivering on the action from the very first scene, and rarely takes a pause for breath. There is a lot going on here, taking advantage of the score of Marvel films that have gone before it establishing the worlds and the concepts. Still Infinity War does have a lot of moving pieces itself, bringing the diverse teams into contact and sharing the fragments of information that each of them have about Thanos and the Infinity Stones in their attempts to thwart the Mad Titan.

That interaction is certainly a crowd pleaser, allowing for some great one liners from the cast, that will be quoted by fans for years to come (the Guardians of the Galaxy are an obvious stand-out here). It gets the pairings right, allowing for tension and comic relief in each of the groupings, giving most of the ridiculously large cast their moment in the spotlight. It also may be one of the issues with the film. With such a large cast of characters and such an epic scale to its story telling, there is no time for those small moments of emotional connection, or to allow the film space to breathe. As such it can feel a little overstuffed and emotionally void for it, loosing a little of its impact despite the stakes.

Still, credit where credit is due, in those broad brush strokes the Markus and McFeeley (Captain America: Civil War) script delivers a fair few unexpected shocks that will resonate through the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Especially in those big exciting action set pieces, and the film’s ending (that is leaving audiences floored). The Avengers: Infinity War is certainly the epic film that fans were expecting, and a top tier Marvel film. Although perhaps not one of their very best due to it being so overstuffed with characters and story, it has left audiences elated by its heroics, shocked by the power of its ending, and hungry for its conclusion in a year’s time.

DAVID O’CONNELL

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