HOLLYWOOD—Look I will be the first to admit that I love a great comic book/superhero adaptation to the big screen. Some have been successful, some not so much, but the latest chapter in the Marvel universe “Avengers: Infinity War” is absolutely fantastic. I will say it now it is one of the second best comic book flicks I’ve seen ever; sorry “The Dark Knight” still reins supreme as the greatest of all-time and we can debate those merits at another time. However, the one thing that “Infinity War” does exceptionally well is give the audience a villain who is a worthy, if not more fascinating character than our heroes themselves.
This is where so many films falter; a villain needs to be just as captivating if not more alluring than our hero or in this case our heroes themselves. Look this movie is loaded and I mean loaded with characters so I am not even going to attempt to name every single person on the screen, we’d need at least a page itself to do so.
However, our notable players Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Black Widow (Scarlett Johannson), Captain America (Chris Evans), Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) are all thrown into action by the arrival of Thanos, played with utter brilliance by Josh Brolin, who is hell bent on capturing all the infinity stones to have world domination.
The biggest concern I had entering the theater was just how in the hell did the writers plan to craft a narrative with this many characters and not make things appear jumbled or all over the place. Simple. All the characters don’t appear within the same frame and it is absolute genius. I mean it’s like 5 to 6 different stories all taking place at once, and they are so perfectly written, paced and linear that when they connect it is done seamlessly. The opening to “Infinity War” is brilliant; it without a doubt sets the stage for a compelling movie, and makes it crystal clear that Thanos is not one to be messed with and he takes no prisoners. Marvel scores extra points in my opinion extracting the relationship between Thanos and Gamora (Zoe Saldana), who he considers his daughter, even though she is adopted. That relationship brings a ton of drama and heart to the film that makes our villain vulnerable, but at the same time more dangerous. Before “Infinity War,” Marvel hasn’t really played with the idea of putting our heroes in mortal danger, the fact that they do heightens the stakes and that delivers the emotional connection for the viewers.
Of course it wouldn’t be Marvel without comedy and there is plenty of that here. Some of the pairings between characters who have never met before is perfection. I mean the interaction between Thor and Star-Lord delivers comedy genius for the flick, not to mention Thor’s interaction with Rocket (voice of Bradley Cooper). I mean Thor is hilarious and it only took “Thor: Ragnarok” to extract that gem from the character that had been missing for quite some time. There is also golden moments between Tony Stark and Stephen Strange; two characters who’s egos are so big they’ve never encountered someone like themselves until now.
Rarely can I ever say I get an action-flick, where it is non-stop action throughout the entire movie. You have those moments where you see a 10-minute action sequence, followed by 30 minutes of dialogue or narrative exposition that never actually delivers. You don’t see that here; the action is the story and it propels it so effortlessly I was amazed by what I was watching on the big screen. The visual effects are some of the best to date, and let’s just say the climax will leave you on the edge of your seat.
Those final moments where Thanos seems unstoppable will leave you in awe, and the series without a hiccup leaves the audience so eager for “Infinity War: Part 2” that you wish 2019 was already here. The good thing is you don’t have to wait too long to see how things conclude, but “Infinity War” proves that no one is immune to death, while I will argue some deaths appear final, while others are still up in the air. Be advised this is a comic book flick, and anything can happen. However, “Avengers: Infinity War” entertains on all fronts when it comes to action, story and characters who we’ve all come to adore. The film is so fantastic it’s worth a second and even a third watch in theaters.