By TC Phillips
Well, it has finally arrived. After ten years, eighteen other movies, and our own five-part guide (see lessons one, two, three, four and five) the Marvel Cinematic Universe has finally released the first half of their climatic showdown with Thanos, the Mad Titan. Ever since the presence of the Infinity Gauntlet was first teased in the original Thor movie, Marvel fans have been hankering to get to this point – and it has certainly been a long road to travel. So does it all pay
off in the end? Well, hot damn yes!
First of all special kudos should be given to the Russo brothers responsible for putting together what is clearly the most ambitious cinematic event in history, filled near to bursting with characters we’ve taken a decade to get to know and non-stop, universe changing, head-stomping action. The Russos have not only easily taken up the Avengers steering wheel first set in motion by Joss Whedon, but have super-injected it with their natural affinity for action sequences shown over the last two Captain America films. Marvel Studio head Kevin Feige was more than justified in entrusting the Avengers to the Russos after Whedon’s departure from the studio after Age of Ultron.
It's hard to get too deep into dissecting the film without spoiling too much, but there are
definitely a few things you should probably know going in. Firstly, as one could easily imagine, with the ambitious nature of this film there’s very little room for lengthy exposition to bring new audiences up to speed. From the very first frames, the Russos launch into a non-stop ride which assumes everyone is already up to speed with the complete history of the MCU to date. If you haven’t watched pretty much every other Marvel film so far, trust me when I say you’ll be hopelessly lost from the start of Infinity War and just totally perplexed by the end. This is a movie you need to know your Marvel history for, so if you need a refresher before seeing it be sure to check out my Road to Infinity War articles through the links at the top of this review. I can’t emphasise this enough – this movie is NOT a good starting point for people new to the MCU, they spent a whole 10 years building up to this one event and for damn good reasons.
Come prepared for a death fest of George R.R. Martin-esque proportions. I won’t say who does and doesn’t make it out of the movie alive, but the Russos warned us there’d be important deaths throughout this movie, and they weren’t lying. I’m sure once Game of Thrones scribe Martin sees the film, he’ll need to rethink the impact of the whole Red Wedding thing. A LOT of favourites end up copping it by the end credits, but (of course) in comic book land death is never quite as permanent as it seems, so the bigger question is “who will come back?” as opposed to “who will survive?” After all, we are dealing with a cinematic universe that plays with the notions of reality and time like a two-year-old does with their favourite train set.
This is really a two-parter in every sense of the word. The Russos tried to downplay the
original connection between Infinity War and the next as-yet untitled Avengers 4, claiming they were very separate stories, but you’re going to walk out of the cinema with the realisation you’ll have to wait another 12 months before everything the film sets up is resolved. The post credit scene (there’s only one in this movie), however, sets up the introduction of a new hero into the MCU – and we’ll need to get her story straight before she shows up in Avengers 4. (Yes, I said her - if you’re a real Marvel fan you’ll already know who I’m talking about).
There are some things you’d wish they’d been able to cram in but just didn’t have the time for. This is a movie with four main narrative threads in one, and each one has been so carefully thought out, plotted and executed, there’s no room left for anything else. This movie is jam packed to the hilt, and you can tell a massive amount of thought was put into ensuring everything included was absolutely necessary. There isn’t the slightest bit of wiggle room for other fan service wish lists, and as much as I would have loved to see Marvel Netflix characters like Daredevil and The Punisher make a cameo there’s no way the Russos could have added them in with everything else they had going on.
Personally I love the idea that our next foray into the MCU will be a much smaller scale film in the form of Ant-Man and the Wasp, no doubt set before the events of Infinity War. It's those standalone movies which have all the narrative space for special fan service moments, but Infinity War is such a enormous movie that starts out going 100 mph from the start and never once lets up.
I wish I could say more, but I've probably said too much already. My advice: once you're confident with your MCU history, go buy your ticket – but don’t try that until you’re ready.