Avengers: Infinity War marks the 19th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and as post-credits teasers and interjected scenes have routinely suggested, this was the movie that would culminate ten years of superhero action. Up until now the routine for most Marvel films has been simplistic: hero develops powers, villain tries to gain control of some weaponry that can destroy the hero’s home or universe, hero faces inner turmoil while villain blows things up, people run and scream, second battle, final showdown and of course, cameos and a post-credits sequence.
Throughout the past few years Marvel Studios, taking a page from Disney, focused on the story-telling agenda so each sequel was never the same as others in the franchise. Thor: Ragnarok was an intergalactic buddy road trip, Iron Man 3 quickly eliminated the arch nemesis and Downey Jr. was more Tony Stark than Iron Man, and Spider-Man: Homecoming was a teen comedy told entirely from the viewpoint of a teenager. This ballsy approach is what sets Marvel films apart from superhero movies produced by other studios.
Avengers: Infinity War continues this formula with Thanos, “The Mad Titan,” who sets out to collect and wield the power of six infinity stones in a customized gauntlet. If he accomplishes his mission, Thanos can destroy fifty percent of all life in the universe with the snap of his fingers. Believing this will create balance in a universe of chaos, Thanos becomes the central character in this movie through a number of flashbacks, revealing his motive. Standing in his way are The Avengers.
With the superheroes secondary characters in this particular instance, every superhero receives equal screen time throughout the movie, each with a number of fantastic scenes that give the audience something to cheer for. This balance was a crowd pleasure, to be sure, and essential for the closing minutes of the movie that set the stage for the second half of the story arc — Avengers 4. The action is relentless and top-notch, with verbal exchanges witty and humorous at times. With each scene merging from a closing remark in the scene previous, it can be assumed that the formula was established by Joss Whedon, who scripted the first Avengers film and Marvel Studios, while parting ways with Whedon after the sequel, was inspired to copy the same success.
The story was easy to follow even for someone who has not watched all 18 Marvel movies up to now. The closing act in the film may frustrate some in the theater, without understanding that this is only the first half of an intergalactic epic that will conclude on a high note one year from now. During the screening on opening night, I was witness to people sobbing and crying at the end of the film… but is this not a movie that was supposed to jar your emotions? Yes, because this was epic.
So was Avengers: Infinity War worth all the hype, and ten-year publicity build-up? Much certainly so. This was a funny, balanced and ambitious movie that raises the bar… and leaves you speechless during the film’s closing minutes. The financial payoff will be huge for Marvel Studios in the weeks to come as fanboys will return to the theater more than once to witness the spectacle that will be talked about at Comic Cons for the next twelve months.
Post Script: You do have to wait until after the closing credits for a brief scene that is essential for The Avengers 4.