The Bull's Eye

Now Showing: Avengers: Infinity War

Ryan Chae, Sports Editor

After ten years of development and buildup, “Avengers: Infinity War” delivers a payoff for longtime Marvel fans, including  one of the most shocking cliffhangers in cinematic history.

While most Marvel Cinematic Universe movies focus  on individual heroes and superpowered teams, “Infinity War” is centered around its villain, genocidal warlord Titan Thanos (Josh Brolin).  Along with his henchmen, the villainous Children of Thanos, the Titan journeys across the galaxy to find the all-powerful Infinity Stones to “re-balance the universe” in his own vision before the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy can stop him. The film  offers a fresh view of a superhero universe that has been around for a decade, as it is not the antagonist that is overcome in the story, but the heroes we’ve grown to love.

With cinematic expectations at an all-time high, directors Anthony and Joe Russo had the unprecedented task of building off of stories from 18 films while meshing together over 40 Marvel characters. Yet, like their work with “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Captain America: Civil War,” the Russo brothers did not disappoint.

While the last Avengers film, “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” was highly criticized for its forced humorous tone, “Infinity War” acknowledges the failures of the 2015 installation as it brings an air of seriousness by recognizing the stakes at hand, while still keeping the jokes and levity that fans associate with Marvel.

The directing duo let nearly every character have a moment to shine, from Vision (Paul Bettany) fighting the dilemma of being powered by an Infinity Stone to War Machine (Don Cheadle), getting in explosive action in battle scenes.

In particular, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) struck me as the most intriguing and well-rounded character, especially after the trials and tribulations the God of Thunder overcame from the original Thor movie in 2011 to 2017’s “Thor: Ragnarok.”

Despite the growth of the heroes, the real star of the film is  Thanos, who fans had been waiting to see since his teaser in 2012’s “The Avengers.”  From his first scene, Thanos is truly the endgame villain, combining power and ruthlessness with intelligence and complexity.

Unlike his original comic iteration who kills to contend for Death’s love, the MCU’s adaptation of the character looks to wipe out half the universe to save it from overpopulation after his own planet, Titan, was lost to overpopulation. While most villains in Marvel’s films are  one-dimensional and only look to conquer or destroy, Thanos is one of the few who, in a sick, twisted way, sees himself as the savior of the universe. Many superhero movies feel predictable, but with Thanos, nothing is set in stone. Scene after scene, he leaves the audience believing that he could actually achieve his dream of saving the galaxy by destroying it.  

As individuals, each character arc has been fascinating to follow, but the chance to witness fan favorite heroes interact with one another makes the film worth watching. For the first time ever, the Avengers meet their space counterparts, the Guardians of the Galaxy, exceeding all expectations of a successful crossover.

From Starlord (Chris Pratt) arguing with Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) over battle plans, to Thor and Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) discussing their love for adventure, the on-screen chemistry was sensational, once again showing the brilliance of Marvel’s casting.

Still, the film did not forget about the relationships between characters that developed in past films. “Infinity War” continues to build on the budding teacher-student relationship between Tony Stark and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) while furthering the up-and-down brotherhood of Thor and fan favorite villain Loki (Tom Hiddleston). The most powerful relationship of the film, of course, is between its “hero,” Thanos and his adoptive daughter Gamora (Zoe Saldana), who the mad Titan loves more than anything in the galaxy.  

Though the special effects and computer generated characters seemed noticeable with the newest Iron Man suit and Thanos’s monstrous alien army, the film does a great job of hiding flaws with some of the best and most creative action sequences in the MCU. Taking the audience into large-scale warfare and one-on-one duels on Titan and Wakanda, “Infinity War” utilizes its characters to create mind-blowing combination attacks while illustrating how far each character has  come since their introductions.

At first, fans might anticipate a convoluted plotline due to the film’s many characters and locations, but it does quite the opposite. Each hero represents another obstacle Thanos has to overcome on his quest, while each setting provides more opportunities to further expand the narrative. The abundance of characters and settings does not weaken the plot, but rather expands the journey of the film, allowing fans to enjoy every little moment that leads to the final climactic battle between Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the Mad Titan.

After “Iron Man” set the foundation for this universe in 2008, no one expected the MCU to develop into the cinematic superpower it is ten years later. Challenged with the task of concluding a decade of development, “Avengers: Infinity War” lives up to the hype and sets the stage for the fourth Avengers movie in May 2019.

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