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Cottonwood Holladay Journal

Dan's Review: "Avengers: Infinity War" is one grand setup

Apr 25, 2018 11:53PM ● By Dan Metcalf

Josh Brolin in Avengers: Infinity War - © 2018 Marvel Studios/Disney

Avengers: Infinity War (Marvel Studios/Disney)

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, language and some crude references.

Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Peter Dinklage, Benedict Wong, Pom Klementieff, Karen Gillan, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel (voice), Bradley Cooper (voice), Gwyneth Paltrow, Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Jacob Batalon, Isabella Amara, Florence Kasumba, William Hurt, Cobie Smulders, Samuel L. Jackson, Terry Notary, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Carrie Coon, and Michael James Shaw.

Written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, based on the comic books by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo.

GRADE: PENDING*

REVIEW:

They’re getting the band back together, all 200 of them (or so it seems). It’s the beginning of the end for Marvel’s original Avengers franchise that started with a surprising Iron Man skyrocketing to success 10 years ago. Avengers: Infinity War is the NINETEENTH film in the series, with five more in the works (including the final Avengers film, the second of a two-part finale that will follow Infinity War, pegged for release in 2019 – more on that later).

Note: I promise to provide a spoiler-free review here, so there will be few plot details.

The setting for Infinity War picks up after the end of Thor: Ragnarok, as Thanos (Josh Brolin) begins to wreak havoc on the universe. His first encounter is with Thor (Chris Hemsworth), his adopted brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Heimdall (Idris Elba) and the rest of the last survivors of Asgaard. Thanos’ next target is Earth, where the remaining Avengers are still in disarray following their tragic breakup in Captain America: Civil War. The evil warlord, enamored by death, is out to retrieve all six of the “Infinity stones,” magical gems that contain various and distinctive devastating powers, which he intends to fashion to the Infinity Gauntlet and wipe out half of the population of the universe. On Earth, Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and a recently returned David Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) encounter some of Thanos’ henchmen sent to grab a few of the remaining Infinity stones. Two of the stones are held by Strange, along with Vision (Paul Bettany), who is trying to live a quiet life with Wanda Maximoff/Scarlett Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) in Scotland. As the story moves forward, Thor encounters the Guardians of the Galaxy, including Peter Quill/ Starlord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff), in outer space, Stark, Strange and Spider-Man end up on one of Thanos’ spaceships, and the remaining earthbound Avengers congregate in Wakanda, where King T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) rallies them for the impending arrival of Thanos. Joining Black Panther are Hulk, Scarlett Witch, Vision, Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Col. James “Roadie” Rhodes/War Machine. Thanos arrives, and an enormous battle ensues, with deadly results.

That’s about all I can share about the story, and I’m leaving a LOT of stuff out, probably because there’s a LOT of stuff going on. It should be noted that two Avengers, Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) sit this one out, and maybe there’s a good reason for that.

Before I launch into my critique of Avengers: Infinity War, allow me to preface my thoughts with this important note: Infinity War is the first half of a story. As the end credits roll (and there is a very significant extra scene at the end), you should realize that we are sitting in the exact middle of the final Avengers collaboration. Things that seem “final” may not be, and all the actors who play all the main roles will reprise them in the yet-to-be-titled finale. It should also be noted that there are many formidable elements at play, including Infinity Gauntlet powers that can alter time, space and reality.

*These variables are the reason I’m having trouble giving Avengers: Infinity War a final grade. Yes, there is incredible action, special effects, camaraderie, humor and epic action sequences you’ve come to expect in other Marvel Cinematic Universe films. If you have been following along any of the franchise, Infinity War is right up there, equal with other Marvel films with respect to quality and character development. The trouble is, Infinity War is a concentrated setup movie, and difficult to evaluate as a standalone film; a cinematic experience that is perhaps greater than the sum of its parts. If you had to twist my arm, I might give the movie a tentative A-minus grade. 

So, if you are a Marvel Cinematic Universe fan, I highly recommend Avengers: Infinity War, if only to maintain hope that a glorious conclusion awaits.


Avengers: Infinity War Trailer