Note: This review contains no spoilers. #Thanosdemandsyoursilence
Updated on 7th May with thoughts on second watch. Of course it has spoilers now.
Watching Marvel movies is like a rite of passage for me. Having followed their cinematic universe from Iron Man days, these films have been the bright spots in the year/a true movie excursion, and are always attached to a host of activities that amount to a mini celebration- getting hold of the related comic, reading or re-reading them, watching the prequel or reading about it, then watching the film 1-2 times, may be even discussing it with like-minded fans, and reading about all the fan theories online, and eagerly anticipating the next film.
So when the film in question is the biggest of them all, Infinity War, the stakes go flying through the roof. I have always enjoyed reading characters like Thanos, and have always rooted for Marvel going to space for some galactic battles a la Star Wars. I loved GotG Vol2 and Thor Ragnarok because of this factor and also the fact that they were such beautifully constructed films. Infinity War is the grand finale, something which everything was leading to all these years. And it is overwhelming to just think about the grandeur of it all- 18 films over 10 years, nearly 50 odd characters, so many storylines have all been leading to this film.
Much has been said about how good the film is, so I will just say, yeah they’re right. For me, I loved nearly everything in it- the character interplay, the quick pace yet the detailing to build genuinely emotional scenes between characters that make us care for them even more. A villain that has been crafted so well, you won’t see many more mentions of the MCU villain problem. Thanos is quite the main lead of the film, and Josh Brolin makes him human to a degree you would have never imagined. If you love these characters and the MCU, you will watch this film a couple of times at least, and dissect the multiple layers in it, and probably respect it a little more.
In one of the many things Russo brothers do well, is bringing in so many different genres together, and respecting the vibe of a Guardians or a Thor or a Dr Strange universe. Iron Man is always core to the Avengers movies so he doesn’t need any extra work. And since the Russo Brothers literally build the Captain America team from the days of Winter Soldier onwards, they are masters at giving Cap and his team of international agents the screen time they deserve. It is also bewildering to think of Dr Strange and even a Spiderman becoming such integral parts of this universe, even after coming in so late in the franchise. And that is another credit to the brilliant writing and work of the Russo’s.
I loved Avengers Infinity War for the grand scale, the well-woven character arcs, the balancing act between emotional beats and biggest action sequences that you have seen in the MCU, and the fun it has while doing all that. This is what any grand crossover event in films or books aspires to be, and will be the gold standard for any comic book event movies now onward.
Views on second watch:
Appreciated the finer nuances more on the second watch. The build up is so smartly done. While I was overwhelmed with so many parallel stories on the first watch, this time I could appreciate the little moments much more- the exchange between Rocket & Thor, the small scene with General Ross and Rhodey when Cap’s gang enters the home base, the finely detailed fight scene at Wakanda, and so much more.
I specifically wanted to watch it again to understand the whole Gamora-Nebula-Thanos arc, which I felt was this writing and creative team’s major achievement, considering the comic book storylines do little to provide much weight to it. And I could appreciate Josh Brolin’s Thanos portrayal so much more this time. We may miss the finer work he does because he is playing a comic book super villain in a major franchise, but watch Thanos as he battles a horde of superheroes at Titan trying to get the better of him, as he explains the backstory of Titan and explains his philosophy of life(however skewed it might be), how he tussles with Gamora yet respects her for all she has become and all she stood for(in a way Gamora is Mistress Death in this film), how he even reasons with Iron Man and says you are not the only one cursed with knowledge. I also appreciated Zoe Saldana’s Gamora much more this time. Her pain and breaking down/inner conflict felt real, and it successfully concluded the story arc that was being built from the last few Guardians films.
Infinity War is not only the best Marvel film, it stands tall as a great film, period. It is a classic template for a major crossover ever done in motion pictures. There has been no other film at such a scale, which lets its characters have fun and banter on Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavors in the middle of a serious attack on the planet.
And I did appreciate the gravitas of the climax much more this time. The entire montage is so melancholic, grand, heartbreaking yet majestic. It feels like destiny to watch these characters failing gloriously in a last attempt at saving the planet, go all the way to do what they do best. By disappearing into dust, these characters truly become heroes, and the film attains a rare tone that comic book films will forever draw from here on.
Gamora: I was a child when you took me.
Thanos: I saved you.
Gamora: No, no, we were happy on my home planet.
Thanos: Going to bed hungry, scrounging for scraps? Your planet was on the brink of collapse. I was the one who stopped that. You know what’s happened since then? The children born have known nothing but full bellies and clear skies. It’s a paradise.
Gamora: Because you murdered half the planet!
Thanos: A small price to pay for salvation.
Gamora: You’re insane.
Thanos: Little one, it’s a simple calculus. This universe has finite its resources, finite… if life is left unchecked, life will cease to exist. It needs correcting.
Gamora: You don’t know that!
Thanos: I’m the only one who knows that. At least, I’m the only who the will to act on it.
Thanos: When we faced extinction I offered a solution
Dr. Stephen Strange: Genocide?
Thanos: But random, dispassion is fair for rich and poor a like. They called me a mad man. What I predict came unannounced.
Dr. Stephen Strange: Congratulations, you’re a prophet
Thanos: I’m a survivor
Dr. Stephen Strange: Who wants to murder trillions
Thanos: With all the six stones I can simply snap my fingers, they will all cease to exist. I call that… mercy.
Dr. Stephen Strange: Then what?
Thanos: finally rest, watch the sunrise on an ungrateful universe. The hardest choices require the strongest will.
Tony Stark: You know me?
Thanos: You’re not the only cursed with knowledge.
Tony Stark: The only curse is you.