Rather than a cohesive narrative, Avengers: Infinity War resembles the penultimate sequence of every Marvel Studios production that has come before, an exhausting series of ultimately futile action scenes that endlessly proclaim the goodness and importance of the supposedly heroic characters as they engage in battle against an all-powerful foe.
The visuals are sure pretty, though!
The film picks up where Captain America: Civil War leaves off. It also takes place after events in Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther, which leaves many threads to be picked up and resolved, since Avengers: Infinity War is the concluding installment of Marvel’s so-called “Phase Three” of film productions based on their comic book characters.
Closing, resolving, or at least acknowledging all those plot and character threads would appear to be an overwhelming task for anyone in any medium, and it’s more than any one film can handle. Thus, Avengers: Infinity War, written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, relies heavily upon one common, supreme enemy that everyone can unite against.
Thanos (Josh Brolin) is giant-sized, far larger than any of the superheroes massed against him, and far more powerful. We’ve been told before that the Avengers are “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes,” but they pale before Thanos and cannot even slow him down in his quest to possess all six “Infinity Stones,” which will grant him (evidently) unlimited power. But they try! Oh, my, they certainly try, and their efforts are documented exhaustively in the action sequences.
As directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, the action scenes are often incomprehensible, which means that far too much of the film is spent waiting for the action to die down so we can see who is left standing. Comic relief is supplied at timely intervals throughout, yet the overall spirit of the film remains dark, dank and disagreeable.
Largely, that’s because the story resolves around the villain. Josh Brolin supplies a calm, yet fierce voice as Thanos. He has concluded that the universe is overpopulated and the only path to survival is to wipe out half the population of all civilizations. He believes he is doing what is necessary, which no one else is willing to do.
So, in effect, imagine Hitler as an anti-hero, surrounded by ineffectual soldiers in costume who grimace and groan but can’t get anything done except occasionally crack wise. Now imagine that stretching out over 149 minutes.
Avengers: Infinity War opens in theaters throughout Dallas and Fort Worth on Friday, April 27.