The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe. (from IMDB)
What does ten years of movies consisting of 18 films culminate to? Marvel Studios’ impressive arsenal of feature films have been leading up to this event: Infinity War. Ever since Captain America: The First Avenger introduced the teseract, which housed the space stone, in 2011, we’ve seen Marvel pave the road to this cataclysmic event. But it all began in 2008 with the introduction of Iron Man and S.H.I.E.L.D., which first laid the building blocks to the Avengers in 2012. Each film has added a new piece to the puzzle, with new characters, places, Infinity Stones, and more. Now, a decade later, Avengers: Infinity War is here.
Infinity War is the third Avengers film, and it opens only mere hours after the events of the mid-credits scene from November’s Thor: Ragnarok took place. (It was actually Thanos’ massive ship we see looming over Loki and Thor as they gazed outside the window into space.) But this film so beautifully brings so many well-plotted things together. Last year’s Spider-Man: Homecoming works to further the surrogate-father relationship Tony Stark has with Peter Parker, Stark and Pepper have taken their relationship to the next level, we see how the events of Captain America: Civil War has affected the team and how the Avengers operate, and we see how much the Guardians of the Galaxy have grown as a family. The one thing you don’t get in this movie, however, is a glimpse of Hawkeye or Ant-Man (who are both dismissed from this film in one line about them being on house arrest as part of a deal struck with the government to keep them out of jail – following the events of Civil War). But the real charm of Infinity War is getting to see so many beloved Marvel characters together in one place – and interact with one another. If you’d thought, while watching 2012’s Avengers, “How could it get any better than this?” Infinity War is your answer.
The Russo brothers previously gave fans Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War — both great films in their own right that offered different and unique superhero fare with loads of heart and entertainment value. Some have heralded Winter Soldier as one of the best in the entirety of the Marvel franchise, and it’s certainly up there. Infinity War is the first Avengers film (not counting Civil War) that hasn’t had Joss Whedon in the director’s chair. But, comparatively, the Russos’ Avengers feel like a healthy mix of Whedon’s approach and the past two Cap movies. With a story as weighty as Infinity War, comic relief is paramount, and the Russos (and the cast) deliver in spades — without cheapening the emotional heft of the film in the process. Because, believe me, there’s significant emotional weight here.
I’ll do my best to not spoil anything from the film (unless you count knowing ahead of time that you won’t see Hawkeye or Ant-Man this time around a spoiler), but the Russos make good on their promise that there would be (irreversible) deaths in this film. Granted, there are some ambiguous ones (that are less likely to actually be “deaths”) but there are definite ends to the lives of some characters that are tough to watch if you’re a fan of these films. Also, tonally — again, I’m trying not to spoil anything — Infinity War concludes on a bit of an Empire Strikes Back note. It’s bleak (as one would expect), and a bit of a cliffhanger, leaving viewers wondering what might transpire in next year’s Avengers 4. The post-credits scene (which brings back some familiar faces and is worth sticking around for) gives us a glimmer of hope, but otherwise, the movie ends leaving you anxiously awaiting the next chapter.
That’s really the only “negative” to the film’s story. It’s virtually a 2-and-a-half-hour “Part One” to a larger story (then again, each movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been part of a grander story). Also, some may feel a little cheated by some of their favorite characters not getting a whole lot of screen time. However, I found there to be a pretty good balance struck amongst the characters. I may have wanted to see more from some characters (like Cap or Bucky or Hulk), but everyone — every single character — has at least one moment to shine. And many of them will make fans giddy. There are quite a few references or gags carried through from other films too — little things that seemed relatively insignificant in another movie that are mentioned or have a great pay-off here. But it’s these kinds of details that make following all of these films so worth it. I could go on, but I’ll just say this movie leaves me eager for each upcoming Marvel movie.
When it comes to content, it’s definitely rough, but mostly on an emotional level. The film is dark — in look and tone, but that should be expected. When a character is looking to wipe out the galaxy as we know it, you can expect the film not to be a fluffy one. Again, there’s a great balance of humor used in the film to help alleviate the intensity of the film, but rest assured – it’s still intense. As expected these days, there is some profanity, but it’s kept to being relatively infrequent, considering. There are a handful of uses of the “S” word, 1 use of “eff” (said just like that), 1 incomplete “mother–” in the post-credits scene, a few each of the “a” word, “h*ll,” and “d*mn,” and several uses of “Oh my G-d” as exclamations (I don’t think they’re meant to be blasphemous, however). There is a scene where Star-Lord flashes the middle finger, and in another scene where the Guardians are asked what master they serve, Star-Lord sarcastically questions the inquiry and says “Who are we supposed to say? Jesus?!” It’s an iffy moment that especially sounds odd coming out of Chris Pratt’s mouth, given the actor is a devout Christian. Otherwise, the film has some very intense sequences that show characters dying, saying goodbye to each other, confessing love for one another, etc. There’s an emphasis placed on the theme of sacrifice, and everything adds up to a lot to unpack for a film about fictional superheroes and magical Infinity Stones. There isn’t a lot of graphic content, but we do see a monster’s severed hand burned on one end after a portal closes on its arm, a bunch of monsters get torn into pieces as they try to break through a barrier, blood coming from a couple characters’ mouths in different scenes, scrapes and cuts on their faces, a couple characters looking discolored after death, and other violent imagery.
Avengers: Infinity War is something worth talking about amongst fellow fans for hours after viewing. It’s a powerful, entertaining, fun, thrilling, emotional, memorable and impactful film that you’ll want to see again as soon as you finish processing what you’ve just experienced. It’s a magnificent achievement in filmmaking as well. I’m sure Avengers 4 — which is slated to release this time next year — will make or break this film (Empire Strikes Back remains my second-favorite film of all-time, but I’m sure it’s only so good also because we know how things resolve in the follow-up film, Return of the Jedi). Until then, Avengers: Infinity War is a lot worth getting excited about.
– John DiBiase (reviewed: 4/28/18)
Blu-Ray Special Features Review
Along with the feature film in HD, the Blu-Ray/Digital combo pack version of the film offers the following Extras (which, sadly, isn’t much):
Deleted Scenes (10:13) – There are four deleted scenes, viewable with a Play All option. All of them have a mixture of completed and unfinished effects. The first scene, “Happy Knows Best,” is an extended version of Tony and Pepper in Central Park where Happy suggests they elope to simplify things (1 “oh my G-d,” 1 “S.O.B.”). “Hunt for the Mind Stone” is an extended version of Wanda and Vision’s scuffle with Thanos’ minions. It suffers a bit from unfinished animation for the creatures, but the scene definitely has a creepy, intense “being hunted” vibe. “The Guardians Get their Groove Back” starts off with kind of an alternate version of Nebula’s escape from Thanos’ lair. Meanwhile, Drax and Peter fight over the music playing in the Milano, which leads to them realizing Nebula has been trying to get in contact with them. It’s a fun scene, but definitely unnecessary. Lastly, “A Father’s Choice” is a scene where Thanos uses the reality stone to project a memory of a younger Gamora while he tries to win her allegiance.
Gag Reel (2:05) – This sadly short blooper reel is fun, but it features a lot of bleeped language. It’s mostly just the cast goofing off on set and messing up their lines. (1 “oh my G-d,” 1 “G-d-BLEEP”)
Featurettes (32:18) – The four featurettes have a Play All option and only total 30 minutes. For a long film as epic as this one, it seems unfortunate that there wasn’t more behind-the-scenes material. It makes me wonder if they’re saving it for a re-release later this year or next year before Avengers 4. “Strange Alchemy,” the first featurette, is about bringing (almost) all of the iconic characters together in one movie, and what that looked like for the planning and writing of the material. “The Mad Titan” is dedicated to the Infinity Stones and the character of Thanos, and his history throughout the films. It also focuses on Josh Brolin playing the character and how he acted out his scenes with a motion capture suit. “Beyond the Battle: Titan” is revealed to have been entirely shot on a sound stage with minimal set pieces. They talk about the scenes’ color scheme and how they created it all digitally. It also addresses the creation of Thanos with CG and motion capture. It concludes with them talking about the snap effect. Finally, “Beyond the Battle: Wakanda” is about shooting on location in Georgia in a field to serve as Wakanda, and the scope of the battle. They also talk about the creatures that were part of Thanos’ team.
Featured Extras: The Director’s Round Table (32:50) – This appears to be a digital-only release, so you’ll need to use your digital copy to access it. Directors Joss Whedon, Ryan Coogler, James Gunn, Peyton Reed, Jon Favreau, the Russo brothers and Taika Waititi (via an iPad screen) sit around to discuss making their own Marvel film cinematic entries, what it was like to develop their own films and how they fit with each other’s. It’s really interesting as a fan of these Marvel films and movies in general to hear these talented filmmakers discuss their inspirations, the impact of their films, what it’s like to do a Marvel movie and more. It’s a quick 30 minutes and, although that is a good length, I feel like I could have listened to them all talk for hours. It’s definitely worth watching!
– John DiBiase, (reviewed: 8/10/18)
Parental Guide: Content Summary
Sex/Nudity: We see Vision and Wanda are staying in a hotel together, but nothing explicit is shown (they’re not married); some characters fawn over how manly and attractive Thor is.
Vulgarity/Language: At least 1 incomplete “mother–“, 1 “eff” (said just like that), 5 “S” words, 5 “d*mn,” 6 Oh my G-d,” 6 “G-d,” 2 “*ssh*le”, 3 “a” words, 1 “cr*p,” 6 “h*ll,” 2 “b*stard. Star-Lord gives the middle finger.
Blood/Gore: We see a ship decimated with lots of dead bodies littering the floor. A character is shown with blood all over his head and mouth. Another character lies with blood on them but is still alive. Another character has blood on their mouth after being beaten up; A character turns discolored when choked to death; Strange and Stark have blood on their faces at different times in the movie during fights; Rogers has some scrapes on his face during the Wakanda battle; A portal closes on a monster’s arm, cutting off its hand. We see it lying charred on the ground; A character is stabbed and we see blood on them and their mouth, but then we find out it wasn’t real; The Reality Stone causes a character to fall into broken blocks, while another character is stretched into a taffy-like form. We then see them pull themselves back together; We see blood under a character’s head and on their mouth (at a distance) after they’ve fallen to their death; A character is impaled by a blade and there is some (not red) blood; A mechanical character is suspended in air and pulled apart into pieces as they are tortured (but they are able to pull themselves back together); A bunch of alien monsters with multiple arms try climbing through a force field that causes some to rip to pieces, drawing black-ish blood. Throughout the fight with these monsters, we see alien blood and some being stabbed or torn apart; A character blows up; A character is beaten up and impaled and we see blood on them and coming from their mouth. SPOILERS: A character spreads open an eye socket missing an eye and pushes a prosthetic eyeball into it (Not too bad, but maybe a little gross to some). We see fingers go into the mechanical head of a character and pull something out, revealing wires and circuitry underneath. We see a lot of characters disappear and fade away into ashes (which is very emotional).
Violence: Lots and lots of action violence. The film opens after a ship has been brutally taken over by Thanos’s people. As such, we see them stepping over dead bodies; A man is lying on the ground as he’s dying. Another man is beaten and bleeding and has blood all over their head; A character tries to stab another character but is grabbed and choked to death; Two big characters fight with one of them getting severely beaten and knocked out; A dying character is stabbed and killed; A large ship explodes; A man falls through the ceiling in a building; There’s a big battle on the streets of New York between Thanos’ minions and several of the Avengers; Doctor Strange is shown tied up on a ship with crystal type needles being slowly pushed into his face and body; A character is impaled by a blade and shown hurt afterwards; Lots of multiple-character fights occur on land and in space; A portal closes on a monster’s arm, cutting off its hand. We see it lying charred on the ground; We see a flashback where an alien race is lined up and then gunned down just off screen; Creepy multi-armed monsters charge the Avengers, which leads to a mssive ground battle with Wakandans and aliens both being killed; A character risks their life to take the brunt force of power from a star and almost die; A tree like creature cuts off its own arm (it grows back) in order to help in a situation; Many characters are punched, hit, thrown, etc, some in rather brutal moments, and many often happen at the hand of Thanos; And much more action violence. SPOILERS: We see fingers go into the mechanical head of a character and pull something out, revealing wires and circuitry underneath. We see a lot of characters disappear and fade away into ashes (which is very emotional).