Infinity War: Balanced Perfection (No Spoilers)

After nearly 10 years and 18 films, the stories and characters of the Marvel Cinematic Universe all come together in the culmination of the decade.

This review will contain no plot spoilers for the film.

Oh boy. I’m still trying to absorb everything after seeing Avengers: Infinity War. The film is just so massive. In the simplest of terms, this movie is everything it was hyped up to be – from the get-go.

The opening is ingenious, setting up the tone of the film with perfection. The trailers alluded that Infinity War would not be the standard MCU flick, and the opening scene only solidified that. Right away the big bad is introduced, and it’s made clear – this man means business.

Within the first five minutes the MCU staple formula audiences have come to expect is crushed within Thanos’s grasp.

This is Marvel Studios’ largest project to date, with a leading cast of over 15 heroes from the MCU’s 10 year run of 17 films predating Infinity War. Balancing such an expansive cast of characters, along with properly introducing the antagonist their henchmen, no less, can be a daunting and near impossible task – yet, with the power of Russo brothers, it was done. Each character is given an appropriate amount of screen time to where clustering so many into one movie works. Some notably have a little less screen time than others, but that is only natural and works well in the film’s favor. Being able to see so many beloved characters that would seemingly never interact with each other interact with each other amidst friendly banter, contests of masculinity and saving the universe from a purple alien with a golden gauntlet was an amazing experience that more than lived up to its advertisement.

Such a rich ensemble of characters enables the plot to shift from subplot to subplot, keeping the film fresh and engaging. Although, if any one character had a surplus amount of screen time, it was Thanos himself (Josh Brolin), who made his debut appearance in the post-credit scene of the first Avengers movie all the way back in 2012.

Having been alluded to for nearly six years, and even making cameos in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy and the post-credit scene of 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, Josh Brolin’s big, purple space invader had to be one of the most anticipated parts of Infinity War, all the way back to the revelation that he would be featured as the main antagonist – or in the case of those with extensive knowledge of the Marvel universe, since the revelation of the film’s name. Unsurprisingly, much like many other aspects of the film, he lived up to the hype. The MCU and the Avengers films in particular have a history of interesting villains, and Thanos is perhaps the most compelling of them all – save for maybe Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Not much can be said without spoiling parts of the film, but chances are audiences will come to appreciate Thanos in a new light, one unlike any other MCU antagonist and one rather difficult to put into words.

The film had a steady pacing, which worked in its favor. Many of its predecessor films followed a quicker pace, but had that been the case for Infinity War, the movie would have only suffered. Much of the film is expositional, as it should be, given the massive scale not only of the film itself, but the impact it sets up for the future of the MCU. It goes without saying – and spoiling – that this is a “Part I”, so to speak, despite fruitless efforts to advertise this as a single, one part story. The steady pacing may even benefit the next Avengers, be it more a “Part II” or sequel story, and save it from mass amounts of exposition, given that the groundwork has already been set. More than that, though, the pacing perfectly matches the grimm, “things are about to change forever” tone of the film.

The soundtrack was minimal yet perfect. Seldomly noticeable, the music was spot on every time. Most tracks felt somber and laden with dread, though others were triumphant and begged for cheer, most notably any containing the catchy Avengers theme and the one that plays when Captain America (Chris Evans) finally rears his head – and, of course, there is also the catchy Black Panther theme from February’s hit film.

However, it would be a sin to not at least mention the MCU intro. While it wouldn’t give away any spoilers, I’ll refrain from giving too much detail, aside from that it contains a very pleasant twist.

There is really only one issue I have with the film, but it’s one I am unable to talk about without giving away spoilers. Even so, the issue I have with it is very small, so small in fact that it’s hardly worth mentioning and the obvious reason as to why it was done is somewhat of a saving grace – plus, the follow up could totally fix this minor issue.

There is just so much to discuss when it comes to this film, and a spoiler free review just isn’t enough to cover it. I highly recommend going to a theater to see it – even if you feel you would rather wait for a DVD or digital release. The big screen experience is unmatched for a MCU film, and Infinity War is no exception. Not to mention, it may help to have a crowd around to share the experience and feel connected – something that’s something very essential to a first time viewing of this riveting and emotional film.