The only really annoying thing about this new Avengers film is that it has a problematic structural device, which, if you didn’t know about (like this reviewer) will leave you extremely disconcerted. Aside from that, the film is very enjoyable indeed, though more for the super fans who can remember all the ins and outs of the previous eighteen Marvel films that essentially build up to this one.
Astonishingly, for a film that is 156 minutes long, time flies by – indicating how entertaining this film is – even while there are few really memorable moments. For those who are wondering who is in this film, the answer is: everyone. All of our favourite and not-so-favourite characters from previous films come together in Avengers: Infinity War, including the team from the Guardians of the Galaxy (2014, 2017) who are my personal favourites, along with Thor (Chris Helmsworth), Loki (Tom Hiddleston), The Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Captain America (Chris Evans), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Robert Downey Jr. aka Iron Man, and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) to name about half of this mind-boggling cast.
Over the last couple of Marvel films, the plot has always been followed by a clue regarding the whereabouts of some of the six infinity stones that are placed around the universe. In this film, we find out what they are and how they came to be, finally, in a satisfactory explanation about why they yield such awesome power. Unfortunately, the brutish war criminal and genocide proponent Thanos (played by Josh Brolin), who is also, alas, the adoptive father of Gamora (Zoe Saldana), one of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and beloved of Peter Quill aka Starlord (Chris Pratt), has discovered where most of the stones lay hidden and comes into possession of them one by one.
Many sub-stories and emotional arcs are woven into this complex narrative, an achievement that should not be taken lightly by critics who may not appreciate the kind of care and skill that must go into such a daunting undertaking.
Amongst some breath-taking action, and a few really good jokes, lives are lost, hearts are broken, real evil is conveyed to the viewers, and the afore-mentioned structural flaw is a shock ending that leaves us in medias res – wondering what could possibly happen in the sequel due out on the 3rd of May next year that could resolve such a mess.
These Marvel films are meant as pure fun, not as works of art. Occasionally they lag, they are shamelessly exploitative in their constant generation of sequels, but occasionally a classic comes along – justifying it all. It remains to be seen, till next year, if this installment, itself a sequel generating film, will be regarded as one of them. I personally, however, can’t wait to see it again.