MILLICENT THOMAS: Infinity War takes the MCU’s best elements and combines them for a spectacular and nostalgic ride
Ten years’ worth of badass planet-saving and more-than-memorable fight sequences, and Marvel Studios have finally brought us their world-spanning showstopper, Avengers: Infinity War. The six precious Infinity Stones have been cropping up since 2012’s Avengers Assemble, from Loki’s staff to the Eye of Agamotto, the stones have bound their cinematic universe and hinted at a bigger picture for years. That big picture is here, and it is truly spectacular.
Pacing, particularly in recent years, is one thing Marvel have really cemented their skills in. Each film has a consistent tone that rarely lags. Thor: Ragnarok, in the hands of Taika Waititi, made for a skilfully reinvented Asgardian – and the history-making Black Panther brought us some fantastic women and a whole other side to superheroes, other than smart, rich, white men. Infinity War encompasses all of these elements and then some. For a film that boasts 30-something heroes, screen time is expertly shared. Characters meet for the first time in worlds they’ve never stepped foot on, and the script brings both excitement and comedy in perfect balance. (“Why is Gamora?”)
You may think I’m gushing about how great it was and that I’m clearly a fan who’s not viewing it objectively in the slightest – and you would be absolutely right. I vividly remember leaving Iron Man with my dad back in 2008, I was 10 and I ran to the bus stop demanding everyone call me ‘Iron Girl’. I have loved and lost with these heroes for quite literally half of my life and Infinity War brought me immense joy. I laughed, gasped, leaned forward on the edge of my seat and left in tears; all with reckless abandon. Superhero films are often cast aside as simple summer blockbusters. But, as we all know, a film is never just a film. Call them what they are, but never dismiss the power they have.
GEORGIA CARROLL: The Russo brothers solve Marvel’s villain problem and strike gold with balancing the dark and humorous elements of this first instalment
Avengers: Infinity War was announced in 2014. It started filming in 2017. It was released just over a week ago. But really, this is a film 10 years in the making. On May 2nd 2008 Iron Man was released, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe was created. Now, exactly a decade later, Infinity War brings together 18 movies worth of characters and stories to create one of the most incredible cinematic experiences in recent history.
This was my first time going to a midnight premiere, and I think it really was the perfect film for it. There were mass gasps, big laughs, and the most intense silences. Seeing it again just a few days later I noticed more of how the audience responded to the most reactionary scenes, and you could really tell how much this movie means to people; we’ve grown up with these characters as they’ve grown with each other.
A common criticsm with the MCU is that the villains tend to be somewhat lacking. For a cinematic universe made up of comic book characters, it is only really the villains that feel like caricatures – like a costume waiting to be put on store shelves. To be honest though, this has never really been a problem for me. I’ve never cared that a villain isn’t as fleshed out because the story has never been theirs. Through Infinity War, Marvel not only finds a solution to their villain problem, they make one the protagonist. This is a film about Thanos just as much as it is about our beloved Avengers, and Josh Brolin does a stellar job bringing his character to life.
There are some gripes I have with this film, mainly with certain decisions made by certain characters, but nothing too major. In fact, with an upcoming sequel some of these decisions are (hopefully) likely to be explained. At times in Marvel I feel the humour can be misplaced and take away from what could otherwise be a quite impactful and dramatic scene. Here, it works in being genuine to the characters whilst also breaking up the tone well in an otherwise pretty dark film.
The Russo brothers (Joe & Anthony) have directed Captain America: Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War before this; arguably two of the MCU’s movies most rooted in emotion. So it is no surprise that this tone is continued through Infinity War, let alone at its core. And I have absolutely no doubts that the sequel to follow is in the safest of hands.
HANNAH RYAN: Infinity War is entertaining and surprisingly touching but often casts aside some of its characters with its grand scale
This is what it’s all been leading to. It has been ten years since Marvel Studios released Iron Man, revolutionised the comic book genre in film and changed the way in which we see blockbusters forever. In those ten years, we have had eighteen Marvel films in total, which have ranged from the Captain America trilogy to the Guardians of the Galaxy series, the latter of which centres around a group of heroes whose team consists of a talking racoon and an anthropomorphic tree. Now, we finally have the film that Marvel have gearing up for all these years, and it is certainly not without fanfare.
The Avengers: Infinity War is absolutely a feat of epic proportions and, naturally, it has carried the heaviest of expectations. Under such pressure, many films would buckle and perhaps fail to deliver. Infinity War, however, despite the enormity of its cast and characters, which could easily feel overstuffed, manages to be both hugely entertaining and surprisingly touching. The emotion comes not just during the film’s grand finale but, rather, is felt throughout Infinity War’s two-and-a-half-hour runtime, as our relationships with characters we have grown to love in the past decade are altered forever. Many of us have, after all, have grown up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I was eleven when Iron Man first came out and I have followed Marvel ever since, even in the dullest of times as Thor: The Dark World and The Incredible Hulk were churned out. Resultantly, and perhaps somewhat unexpectedly, I find myself at twenty-one deeply attached to many of the characters that pop up in Infinity War. For anyone that has also spent their childhoods with these particular characters, Infinity War will feel like a fitting tribute to them, to what they’ve been through and just how much they’ve developed over this epic series.
While Infinity War is indeed overwhelming at times with its plethora of superheroes, it never suffers from the sense that certain characters have been pushed aside. Rather, there is ample time here for many of our beloved heroes to shine, to delve into their feelings, particularly so with the young Peter Parker and Gamora; two characters that are given enough room to serve as the emotional cruxes of the whole film. As for those that feel there are characters we may have liked to see more of, I am sure that we’ll be able to spend plenty of time with them in part two of this epic.
Ultimately, Infinity War delivers exactly what it promises: a gargantuan feature of a film that finally brings together many of our favourite heroes and doesn’t lose any of the emotional sincerity that has frequently elevated many Marvel features to higher levels, to make them more than just a ‘superhero movie’. Whatever your opinion of Marvel and their box office domination, there is no denying that Infinity War is an endlessly entertaining that will leave some in a far more fragile emotional state than they perhaps expected.
CHLOE LEESON: Marvel’s biggest project is handled with as much grace as it can probably be given, but disregards its female characters due to its lengthy first half
With the exception of Marvel’s two most recent outings Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther, the trailer drop and pre-booking ticket announcements for most MCU films leave me groaning that I’m going to have to endure a few more chaotic months of Marvel content in my life that follows their same formulaic (but hey it makes money who am I to complain?) patterns. After the incredibly bright and forward thinking angles Marvel had taken with Ragnarok and Black Panther, I wasn’t sure how Infinity War would pan out- 40 odd characters flying and diving and flipping about in space and on earth honestly sounds like an anxiety attack waiting to happen.
This accumulation of 10 years’ worth of work, characters and storylines is absolutely no mean feat that I don’t want to critique so harshly as it does seem like the Russo brothers have made the best film out of an entirely complicated situation. They maintain the unique styles of each set of heroes: the humour of Guardians, the culture of Black Panther and the patriotic nature of The Avengers pretty damn seamlessly. However, the first half of the film was pretty forgettable for me, a huge hodge podge of jumping from place to place assembling the various teams in their various locations, which is obviously kind of unavoidable on such a grand scale film, it was just sad that it took the film so long to get into its own groove and find what works. What did work so well (very surprising as someone that really dislikes RDJ and Benny C) was the scenes with Guardians, Spidey, Iron Man and Doctor Strange. Each characters unique humour was never downplayed or overshadowed and their particular fight scene against Thanos was the most entertaining.
Ultimately it was Thor that stole the show for me, his crowning moment coming as he lands on Wakanda to join the larger group says absolutely nothing but ‘scene stealer’ to me, the Ragnarok wit and humour was brought along for the ride and the banter with Rocket Raccoon was a great developing friendship.
In all this pit of male bravado, action and comedy, sadly Infinity War feels like it disregards how badass its female characters could be in this film (maybe with the exception of Nebula). Gamora was shipped off with very little to do, Scarlet Witch’s screen time was dictated by her love interest, Black Widow did virtually nothing, Mantis did one thing and the women of Wakanda were given the odd one liner and fierce glare as opposed to the rich lives Black Panther donned them with.
Infinity War definitely is not the strongest film in the Marvel catalogue, I don’t think any of the ‘team-up’ movies ever will be. It’s certainly entertaining in some moments, and completely sub-standard in others, but its never going to stop a fan base this powerful from going out to see them. I don’t agree with the world-ending sentiments a lot of viewers have had for Infinity War, there is probably going to be at least 10,000 more Marvel films after this to clog up all your local cinema screenings until the end of time, but for now I’m incredibly glad for a little breather.