From 2008 till now, we’ve watched and devoured 18 Marvel films. Some we loved, enjoyed and revered, some left us particularly breathless, and of course, several were forgettable.
Our superheroes like Iron Man, Captain America and our cherished Guardians of the Galaxy gang have spearheaded their independent enterprises with authority and aplomb and we’ve carefully kept track of their storylines.
But then along comes Avengers Infinity War, which unites most of our heroes. And at the outset, it’s every diehard Marvel fan’s dream, to see their idols talking to each other under one roof.
What could be better than to see Star lord and Iron Man verbally sparring?
However, this isn’t just an ambitious crossover film to delight fans. It’s so much more than just a reunion of all superheroes. You cannot watch Avengers Infinity War in isolation, or just watch the previous Avengers films, you need to retrace your steps all the way back to 2008, back to Iron Man.
Avengers Infinity War, directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, might sound like a typical Marvel superhero film in the beginning. But as you go along, you realise that this film has a distinct place of its own in Marvel history.
Let’s cut to the chase.
As we already know, the Avengers have separated, and are scattered all over the world. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) and Captain America (Chris Evans) aren’t on the best of terms, and the once-blooming romance between Bruce Banner or Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) has been struck down.
Thor (Chris Hemsworth), as we saw in Thor Ragnarok, is trying to get his hammer back, which was destroyed by his sister Hela.
Yet, this isn’t the time for ego clashes and sulking, as the epitome of villainy, the towering monster Thanos (Josh Brolin), is on a macabre mission to annihilate half the universe. He is in desperate need of all six infinity stones. Thanos has been referenced in several films before, and he finally gets to take centre stage in this film. And we get the first taste of the pure evil that Thanos is capable of, in the opening scene itself.
If Thanos gains possession of all six infinity stones, he can destroy half the universe with just a snap of his fingers.
He is a wrathful creature, and doesn’t hesitate to punish but he’s also one of far more depth, than any other villain that we have seen before.
Far from being a uni-dimensional villain, a common feature of many Marvel films, he’s probably the most compelling one after Killmonger from the Black Panther movie.
While for the most part he demonstrates his sheer power brutality, he has to fight his own demons too while making his choices. But sadly, these choices are not just hard on him, they’re a punch in the gut for the audience as well.
The locations to some of these infinity stones are no secret, Dr Strange has one, and Vision has another, which is embedded in his head. The others are scattered on different planets.
Clearly, the Russo brothers wanted each character to shine. And how did they go about this gruelling task of juggling 30 characters with their numerous, distinct storylines? They segregated the superheroes into various teams. Be it intergalactic battles, or back to Wakanda, the African Utopia where Black Panther reigns, we’re taken across different parts of the universe, and you are not even left with the time to breathe.
And so, each superhero team will do whatever it takes to bring down Thanos, irrespective of the sacrifice it might cost them.
Paced over 156 minutes with restless storytelling, the film is strong on its humour game as well, a Marvel trademark. The one-liners are brilliant and crisp, and add the perfect touch of humour to dark situations. These little humorous exchanges are deliciously embedded like gems in a cake.
It is a true joy to watch Thor dealing with the Guardians or Spider-Man saving the day owing to his knowledge of pop culture.
But don’t get carried away. If the Russo brothers let you laugh at one point, they break your heart in the next. And that’s the brilliance of Avengers Infinity War, it blends fast-paced action, despair, humour, triumph and awe into one super package for their audience.
It ends on a shocking cliff-hanger, and the post-credits don’t seem to provide answers either.
Avengers: Infinity War leaves you breathless, and wanting more. It is the God of all Marvel films.
Cast: Josh Brolin (voice of Thanos), Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Zoe Saldana, Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel (voice of Groot)
Directors: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
India Pages Rating: ★★★★