Does Avengers: Infinity War live up to the hype?

I’ve never really considered myself a comic book geek in the traditional sense because I’ve never actually read comics. When I was younger though, I was hooked on the X-Men cartoon series, then Batman The Animated Series and even as I reached my late teens, X-Men Evolution. I loved the original Batman movies and then along came Blade and X-Men and Spiderman. I loved the characters, the colours, the stories. In 2004, I began collecting the Marvel Figurine Collection and read each accompanying magazine cover to cover. So again, when I say I don’t consider myself a comic book geek, in reality I know I am. I just don’t read comics!

And I’m sure I’m not the only near comic book geek who came out of Avengers: Infinity War feeling satisfied. It all began in 2008 with Iron Man and now here we are after 19 movies and 10 TV shows. What Marvel has done is truly epic on every scale. They’ve managed to intertwine a narrative through their entire cinematic universe culminating in an epic event that will span beyond Infinity War into Avengers 4. I’ve stuck with it every step of the way through the movies, Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter, all of the Netflix shows, even Inhumans and I feel like Infinity War was my reward.

I’ll stop rambling and get to the point. Avengers: Infinity War is amazing! The real victory is how they manage to give so many characters screentime that makes them relevant. Nobody feels like they’ve just been shoved in for the sake of it. Nobody just appears as a fan service. Each character’s appearance benefits the story in some way. If there is a fleeting glance, it has relevance. Pepper Potts, for example, has a short scene but it makes sense and is in context. What I will say is, there is little in regards to character development. It’s assumed we know these characters already, that we know what motivates them and where they’ve come from. Could you see this movie if you’ve not seen any of the others? Well I’m not sure why you’d want to. This is not your Marvel jumping in point. You’d be doing yourself and the MCU a disservice by not seeing any of the previous movies.

What I will say is that the characters that get a little bit of development are the ones that really shine. Zoe Saldana as Gamora manages to be a bit of a standout in a movie chockablock with Hollywood stars. Elizabeth Olsen has also started to come into her own as Scarlet Witch after what I felt were lacklustre turns in Age Of Ultron and Civil War. Mantis and Drax left me wanting more every time they were on screen and even though there’s quite a bit of humour throughout, those 2 in particular get a lot of funny lines.

I think it’s worth noting that 2 of the actors are Irish. Tom Vaughan Lawlor (Nidge from Love/Hate) plays Ebony Maw, one of the Children of Thanos and he does a great job of it while Kerry Condon from Thurles returns as FRIDAY, the voice of Tony Stark’s suit. I think she was a fantastic choice to take over from Paul Bettany when Jarvis became Vision and her interactions with Tony Stark are brilliant.

It’s a little bit emotionally draining to be honest. There’s twists and turns aplenty with moments where there’s very audible gasps from the audience. There’s one particular “HOLY FUCK” moment when a certain character shows up. I’m still not over the shock. There’s some really sad moments too and one or two scenes had me close to tears. The ending is draining. I needed to lie down when I came home just to process it all.

Without running into spoilers, I don’t really know how some of Marvel’s upcoming projects work in between the 2 Avengers “finale” movies. Ant Man & The Wasp is coming up in just 2 months and what’s interesting is how they’ll reference the events of Infinity War, if they do at all? What about the upcoming Daredevil and Luke Cage on Netflix? Or Cloak & Dagger? And surely Agents of SHIELD has to have ripples? Thanos is attacking and all of these characters are coming together to stop him and Daisy Johnson/Quake is nowhere to be seen despite being one of the most powerful people on the planet? If anything, it’s probably the only downfall from this shared universe idea.

I may even be as bold to say that Ant Man & The Wasp may be a little disappointing after this. They’ve just unleashed a truly epic movie, the biggest crossover event of all time and then we’re meant to go back to Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly knocking about with Michael Douglas. I can’t help feeling that movie is going to feel tiny (pun intended!). Captain Marvel, on the other hand, will certainly be pushing along the Thanos narrative even though it’s set in the 1990’s. Having to wait a whole year for the second part of the story though is a pain in the arse.

If you’ve been following along with the developments since Infinity War was announced, you’ll know that this was originally called Part 1 and I feel that’s how it plays out. The ending feels like it’s just setting up the next movie and so it’s a waiting game to see what happens next. It leaves you wanting more, not just in terms of the team-up movies but of the universe as a whole. I want to see the Guardians in space visiting strange planets, I want to see Black Widow and Captain America on secret missions, I want to see Black Panther teaming up with everyone else individually at some stage.

Ultimately, Avengers: Infinity War lived up to the hype and has laid down a gauntlet (literally) to other studios to try and do what they’ve done. I don’t see it happening to be honest and maybe that’s a good thing. Go see the film if you haven’t already done so. You won’t be disappointed.

 

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