The Avengers face off against their most deadly foe yet: Thanos.
First and foremost, some disclaimers:
1) I’m going to avoid spoiling much for people, though near the end of this review I will talk a little about the implications made by the ending of the film. Don’t worry- I’ll put a big spoiler tag when we get there.
2) I am not a Marvel Comics reader. I like comics/ some manga, but I read stuff like Sandman, “From Hell”, “Akira”, or Battle Angel: Alita (speaking of which, check out my review for “Alita: Battle Angel”). I’m a casual comic book movie fan. But in today’s world, if you’re a fan of film at all, you know that comic book movies have invaded the theatres in full force. People are die-hard fans of these movies, and while I am not a die-hard fan, I do generally enjoy these films. I’ve seen the whole MCU, but not all of them in theatres. I don’t know all the back-stories to their characters, nor do I think I’ll ever go out of my way to read them. But- I will keep seeing the movies. I guess the reason I’m laying this down first is because I don’t want you to yell at me when I miss something that was clearly really important to the MCU, but I missed it because I visit that universe like two or three times a year vs some people who visit it daily.
Alright, with that out of the way, lets begin.
Put in the Work, Reap the Rewards
The MCU started ten years ago with Iron Man (played by Robert Downey Jr., “Sherlock Holmes”), since then we’ve received eighteen other movies in that universe. It’s impressive, unprecedented actually. If you think about it, the MCU has made cinematic history with what they’ve done. They’ve altered the meaning of the phrase: Cinematic Universe. Other franchises have tried to follow in their footsteps (DCU, The Conjuring Universe), but none have been nearly as successful as Marvel. This film is the culmination of the first ten years of superhero movies: it’s the battle we’ve been slowly moving towards for over a decade. However, if you haven’t put in the work- that is- if you haven’t watched the majority of movies- you will have no idea what the heck is going on. However, if you have seen the others (and remember things from movies that you might not have seen for like six years) then this film will be incredibly rewarding. There are so many moments in this movie when the audience cheered, clapped, gasped, and even screamed in this film; people love this universe and this is what they’ve been waiting for.
So Many Characters, Relatively Little Time...
Before I went into this movie, I thought it was a little bit ridiculous how many people were in the film (look, I even gave up trying to list their names at the top- that’d add like another 200 words to this review). I thought there was no way that they could possibly shift seamlessly between them all. I was wrong. How they managed so many characters and so many storylines baffles me. Sure, there are a few moments that are weaker than others, but by and large this film nails it. It keeps you on the edge of your seat, guessing what you think might happen next, while propelling you forward into the next action scene (of which, there are many). The chemistry between the characters is dynamic, and more interesting than many of the other Marvel films by far. The MCU is known for their more lighthearted nature, and for the first half of the film the witty banter between characters reuniting or meeting for the first time keeps us laughing and at ease. But as the film goes on, and the stakes get higher, the jokes are stretched further apart, the world takes a dark turn: something that the MCU hasn’t really done before this franchise entry.
The villain, Thanos (Josh Brolin, “Sicario”), has been around for a while. I think the first Avengers movie was when he made his first appearance (please correct me if I’m wrong). He’s been a shadow villain for the majority of the time, pulling strings and using his minions to move his plan forward. Up until this movie, we really didn’t know that much about him, but in this film we spend a lot of time with his character. He’s a developed villain, and one that’s actually interesting. The MCU has had difficulty with their villains before: I really couldn’t tell you who the bad guy was in Thor: The Dark World (Thor played by Chris Hemsworth, ”Bad Times at the El Royale”) , or Doctor Strange (Doc Strange played by Benedict Cumberbatch, “12 Years a Slave”). But Thanos is certainly memorable.
There are soooo many visual effects shots in this film. There are scenes that take place on different planets, action sequences that blow up tons of things, and locations that wouldn’t exist without the use of CGI. I’m sure there are a few shots in here that didn’t use some sort of CGI, but for the most part this film is much like “Avatar” (2009). It’s a digital landscape filled with digital protagonists. It looks incredible, and I doubt there is really any other way to do the shots. But if you were looking for lots of practical stunts and effects, I wouldn’t look here. The action sequences are nigh perfectly polished, the landscapes are beautiful, and while a few characters look a little cartoonish, it still fits the tone of the Marvel universe.
Well, no one expects this movie to be perfect. It’s a superhero film; there are lots of hand-wavy magic moments that, in other films, would be scoffed at. That’s okay. This isn’t aiming to be an ultra realistic film.
But beyond that, there are some issues with the third act of the film. And here is where I want to throw a spoiler tag up.
(SPOILERS IN THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH)
My biggest issue with the third act is that so much happens; so many characters die that you know not all of them will carry over beyond the fourth film. (I’m still going to try to remain rather vague here) They can’t kill off as many characters as they did. You know why? Because there are already sequels for some of the ‘dead’ characters slated to come out in the future. I think that they overextended; they did too much, and as a result it negates the impact of their deaths. If they had shown a few less deaths it would’ve been devastating, but as it is, we know that many of those characters will have to return. However, as this is essentially a two-part movie the way they end this arc may change my opinion of how they did this in retrospect. We’ll see.
Whether or not you are a fan of the MCU, you have to admit that this film will be a part of cinematic history. The MCU is a massively successful franchise, a franchise that has made more money than any other franchise in history (true, there are more films in this franchise, but that’s still an accomplishment). Not all of the films in this franchise are good, but almost all of them are watchable (at least once). This film was really good, but, like I said above, you really have to put in the work if you want to reap the rewards. If you like the MCU, you already know you’re going to see this movie anyways, and you’re probably willing to forgive it for most of its flaws. This movie is absolutely worth seeing. It won’t win any large awards at the Oscars next year, but it’s certainly a very well done and extremely entertaining comic book movie; in the end, that’s why we came to the theatre.
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