By Ryan Keating-Lambert

★★★★★

Avengers: Infinity War is more than just another superhero film. An entire cinematic universe has been carefully building to this precise moment of intense nerdgasm. It’s been ten years… and the wait was worth it. This is colossal.

The time has come. Despite 18 films worth of best efforts from our heroes, supervillain ‘Thanos’ is on his way to collecting the six all-powerful infinity stones and eradicate half of the universe in mass genocide, unless the Avengers and other Marvel heroes can stop him.

Based on ‘The Infinity Gauntlet’ comics and directed by the Russo brothers (Captain America: Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War), Infinity War boasts one hell of an epic cast, so just to get this out of the way… the film includes the likes of Josh Brolin as Thanos, Chris Evans as Captain America, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, Paul Bettany as Vision, Anthony Mackie as Falcon, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Don Cheadle as War Machine, Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, Sebastian Stan as the Winter Soldier, Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Vin Diesel as Groot, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Tom Holland as Spider-Man and many more.

The real star of this film however, is its purple ball-chinned villain. Thanos has been virtually invisible in the universe so far, but takes centre stage here. This is Brolin’s movie. He owns it. Thanos is a beefy and formidable fighting machine that has instilled fear among loyal fans of the universe and the comics simply because of the gargantuan build-up from preceding tales, and occasional whispers and rumours between characters. BUT, Thanos is also a complex SNAG (sensitive new age guy) – despite his ruthless conquest, the villain actually has thoughts, a back-story, regrets, and doubts. His complex relationship with daughters Gamora and Nebula get a lot of screen time here, and it’s absolutely wonderful to finally see this dysfunctional space family in action. Aside from perhaps Loki and the recent Thor Ragnarok’s Hela (Cate Blanchett), Marvel’s always had a bit of a villain problem. Thank you, Thanos.

Every character introduced here is done through so impeccable timing and staging which must have been a real challenge for a film of this scale. The Guardians of the Galaxy bring their trademark laughs at just the right moments but also, like most characters, evolve and adapt. Thor continues in the same vein as Ragnarok (this is and always will be the part Chris Hemsworth was born to play) but is also weighted down by emotional burden after suffering so much loss in the previous film. There’s really a new side to everyone here which makes for dialogue that has both depth AND a sense of humour, something the DC universe has never been able to execute well, aside from last year’s Wonder Woman. I took a real shining to the young Tom Holland in this one who is just such a great Spider-Man – undeniably human. The father-son relationship between him and Iron-Man also reaches new heights here.

Even Doctor Strange, who I have never liked, has a certain charm this time round. It seems that Cumberbatch has ditched the overblown arrogance and even polished his American accent. On a more shallow note, every character has more or less found their unique style and look. Captain America aka Steve Rogers has a beard, and it’s glorious. Falcon though, Falcon still looks like he’s stuck in a bad rave. Those glasses. No, just no. I would’ve liked to have seen more of the now blonde Black Widow who usually has more of a role. Not to mention more of villain and Thanos henchwoman Proxima Midnight played by the always incredible Carrie Coon. Apparently, those with smaller parts in this film will receive more attention in the 2019 sequel. Fingers crossed.

Considering the film’s lengthy runtime of 2.5 hours, Infinity War is extremely well-paced – sticking to the rhythm of one exhilarating action scene after another accentuated by some of the franchise’s most emotional moments so far. There’s an epic fight scene between Thanos on the planet Titan that is one of the most well-choreographed fight scenes I’ve ever seen. The action delivers on all levels here. You will not be disappointed.

Infinity War is The Empire Strikes Back of the Marvel universe – a new benchmark for the superhero genre, and a noteworthy moment in cinema history. In years to come, Marvel will head into Star Wars territory, and we’ll be churning out endless remakes, sequels and prequels trying to recapture that moment of greatness that this film given us. Also, make sure you stay for the post-credits scene.

This movie is going to make bank, but will it reach the 1.3 billion that Black Panther did? Probably.

Photo: Empire

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