Avengers Infinity War (2018) Review

By: Karl Stern (@dragonkingkarl, @wiwcool, karl@whenitwascool.com)

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This movie has been ten years in the making.  For the last ten years Disney and Marvel have built an incredible story predicated on nineteen stand alone movies featuring some of your favorite and most popular comic book characters by blending action, adventure, comedy, and storytelling.  Those nineteen movies have all built to this one: Avengers Infinity War and the arrival of the big bad guy Thanos (Josh Brolin).

The movie is based loosely (very loosely) on one of my favorite Marvel Comics mini-series: Infinity Gauntlet, an uber-powerful cosmic weapon that Thanos is attempting to possess.  This movie features a star studded cast of all your favorite major Marvel Comics heroes and a few deep cuts as well.

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The movie runs quiet long at 149 minutes but the pacing is very good and Avengers: Infinity War never seems to drag.  There are multiple sub-plots running throughout the movie which help break it up from becoming monotonous.  The story picks up almost immediately following Thor: Ragnarok so it helps if you have recently seen that film to give context to exactly what Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Loki (Tom Hiddleston), and The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) are up to and why they are in the situation they are in at the start of the movie.  This film jumps right into the story and assumes you are mostly up to speed with what is happening inside the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Robert Downey, Jr. returns again to reprise his role as Tony Stark (AKA: Iron Man) which is the character that kicked off the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe some ten years ago.  At points along the way Downey, as Tony Stark, started to feel a little tired as his character has popped up in many of these movies.  However, his role in Avengers: Infinity War was strong and his chemistry and play off of Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Strange, breathed some needed freshness into the character who was becoming too much of a one note "arrogant rich smart-alec" rattling off cute one-liners.  So, it was good to see a little more depth to that character.

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Obviously, Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa the Black Panther has a lot of momentum coming off his successful and critically acclaimed Black Panther movie and Avengers: Infinity War did nothing to slow that momentum down with the Black Panther playing an important part in the film.  There is a huge fight scene which takes place in Wakanda and that entire set of characters were given a lot of important screen time and certainly came across as heroes.

Chris Evans returns as Steve Rogers / Captain America who is still on the run following events in earlier Marvel movies and plays a major role in the conflict as does Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow, Don Cheadle as James "Rhodey" Rhodes as War Machine, Anthony Mackie as the Falcon, and Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes (AKA: Winter Soldier & White Wolf).

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Playing a major part in the movie and, once again, providing the exceptional comic relief that has become a hallmark of the Marvel Cinematic Universe were the Guardians of the Galaxy: Chris Pratt as Peter Quill / Star-Lord, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Vin Diesel as Groot, Dave Bautista as Drax, Zoe Saldana as Gamora (who played a major part in the plot of the movie), Pom Klementieff as Mantis, and accompanied by Gamora's sister Nebula (Karen Gillan).  The interplay between Drax, Star Lord, and Thor in the movie was exceptional and stood out as some of the best comedic moments.  Former WWE wrestler Dave Bautista truly doesn't get enough credit for his exceptional performance as Drax in these films.

Finally, also playing significant and important parts in the story, are Tom Holland, who continues to knock it out of the park as Spider-Man, Paul Bettany as The Vision, and Elizabeth Olsen as the Scarlet Witch.  We also see the Marvel Cinematic Universe debut of Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage in the exceptional role as Eitri, the King of the Dwarves of Nidavellir.

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You should probably know up front that this movie is conceptualized in two parts and this movie is part one so it ends with a series of unresolved events and cliffhangers.  The second part (we will call it Avengers: Infinity War II for lack of an official title) filmed back to back with this movie and will come out next May (2019).

Both Karl and Tonya from When It Was Cool gave the movie an A rating and, despite it's length, never gets too dragged down and doesn't take itself too seriously in all the right moments.  Those quick breathes of levity are what the DC movie universe has so dreadfully missed and why those movies seem like a dark, grim, super depressing slog sometimes.  Marvel continues to hit it out of the park for both adults and kids alike and Avengers: Infinity War is no exception.

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