Movie review: Avengers plus Guardians plus a vile villain equals action-packed fun
Here’s all you need to know about the new Avengers movie: It’s also a Guardians of the Galaxy movie; Dr. Strange, who is on neither team, is on board; Ant-Man and Hawkeye are no-shows; it’s as packed with action as it is with one-liners and argumentative bantering — most of it funny, some of it silly; the bad guy is Thanos, played with dramatic flair by Josh Brolin; Tony Stark and Pepper Potts are planning or at least talking about their wedding; if you manage to collect all six Infinity Stones that are scattered throughout the universe, you can control the universe; the Avengers and the Guardians don’t know each other; Stan Lee does his cameo, this time as a school bus driver, at the 20-minute mark; Iron Man has a new, improved suit; so does Spider-Man; Thor is 1,500 years old; all roads lead to the planet Titan (no, wait, they lead to Wakanda, or maybe they lead to New York City). Also, if you’re only a casual fan of this ever-expanding series, don’t worry, it’s pretty much a stand-alone story.
With so many strands going on (the above info only scratches the surface), “Avengers: Infinity War” is both one of the biggest, grandest superhero films ever made, and it’s kind of confusing. While that sort of thing can weigh a movie down, no problem comes of it here. If you just roll with the idea that there are a whole bunch of good guys going up against one bad guy (and some of his really nasty accomplices), and that if they defeat him, they will in turn save the universe, then you’re going to be OK.
Now, about those Infinity Stones: They’re very powerful on their own, but when and if they were all to be together as one, that power would be ... ummm, infinite! What exactly are these vari-colored little rocks? Well, there’s a space stone, a mind stone, a reality stone, and stones named power, soul, and time. They’re scattered all over the place and big, bad Thanos wants them, and is traversing the cosmos to find them in order to, of course, get them all together as one.
The Avengers who, in the storyline, broke up a couple of years ago, are also scattered — in New York, in Scotland, in Wakanda. The Guardians — all of them — are zipping through space, answering distress signals, when they find the unconscious, barely alive Thor (Chris Hemsworth), who has been beaten to a pulp by Thanos and his cronies. That discovery leads to some of the film’s best and funniest dialogue courtesy of show-boater Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and hunky Thor playing out a jealousy bit.
All it takes for our heroes to begin getting closer in proximity to each other is the arrival on Earth of a powerful and destructive emissary or two of Thanos (seems that two of the stones are here). It’s easy to tell when they arrive; people are running and screaming in the streets. Even that plot point becomes a case of taunting and bickering and funny stuff. But the film’s main theme of a hunger for power eventually leads to some serious life and death situations. Kudos to the film’s writers and directors, all of whom have a few earlier Avengers-related films on their résumés, for maintaining a balance between the light and dark moods (a balance that definitely tips toward the light).
There are massive fights on Titan and in Wakanda, some seat-shaking explosions and, in the last half-hour, terrifically done utter pandemonium. Right near the end we get a batch of startling events and outstanding visual effects and, because this is a Marvel movie, you’d better not go anywhere till the last credit goes by.
— Ed Symkus writes about movies for More Content Now. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Avengers: Infinity War”
Written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely; directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
With pretty much every Avenger and Guardian you can think of, along with Josh Brolin