10 years, 67 characters and 18 previous (for the most part) well-made films have slowly lead up to one of the most anticipated movie climaxes of all time in the form of Avenger: Inifinity War.
A team of superheroes coming together from across the galaxy, to attempt to stop an evil titan from collecting six different magic stones of power might not, at a glance, sound all that special. But the intricately woven mythology that’s built up to this experience feels so realistic in its own bonkers existence that Infinity War gets to feel smugly confident with the expansive and detailed world it has painstakingly crafted.
From the get-go, something feels different about Avengers this time round: the volume is turned up and the threat feels more ominous than ever. As an audience, you're going to care in a way that you wouldn’t with your usual afternoon blockbuster, as the stakes are higher than Stark Tower.
Nope, Marvel is not messing around this time and without delving into spoiler territory, there’s a genuine threat of death that will keep you clutching your pearls throughout.
Even though we should knowingly trust the Russo brothers after they juggled multiple plot strands in Civil War so effortlessly, the cast is even bigger this time round and the pacing is still astoundingly good given the amount they have to balance. From the very first scene, it is obvious that what is to follow is going to be quite the ride and from then on out, we relentlessly spin from one over-flowingly rich sequence into another.
Yes, with so many superheroes, this is clearly overstuffed with content, but that is precisely what was intended and exactly what fans wanted. The interplay with the new groupings of characters is fantastic fun and though inevitably some characters get less screen time than others, pretty much everyone gets at least one moment to shine.
Infinity War is full of hair-on-end moments, from the entrances and returns of fan favourites, to the return to Wakanda, which rides the wave of the still-fresh Black Panther mania. You’ll cheer, you’ll laugh and you’ll cry, as this superhero extravaganza is jam-packed with everything.
Yes, the usual Marvel humour is prevalent and is funnier than ever, but expect a darker tone this time round, as we’re taken to bleaker, more frightening places. The Russos manage to keep from falling into a lull at any point, which is something even the best action films usually fail to manage. Every scene in this 160-minute epic feels essential.
As for the film’s villain, Thanos, it’s not easy to make a big purple alien feel threatening (see X-Men: Apocalypse), but the film spends a lot of time with the mad titan, carving out his backstory and giving him a surprising level of complexity. He does not reach the heights of Black Panther’s Killmonger, (arguably one of the best on screen villains in the past decade) but a well-written script, some clever CGI work and Brolin’s menacing tone make for a surprisingly interesting antagonist. '
There will always be aspects of Avenger: Inifinity War that won’t keep every single fanboy or girl happy the whole time and this is not going to change the minds of people who are already sworn off superhero films. But if you’ve been a fan of even a small handful of the previous Marvel films, there’s little chance that you won’t feel satisfied with this. And by 'satisfied', we mean shaken to the core.
Avengers: Infinity War hits UK cinemas this Friday
Words: Joe Passmore