19 films in and somehow the Marvel Cinematic Universe is somehow getting stronger. After teasing purple people beater and uber space-bastard Thanos since the post credits scene of Avengers Assemble back in 2012, it’s finally raining payoff as Infinity War is finally upon us.
The results, thankfully, are fantastic, the studio somehow pulling off an even more impressive scriptwriting balancing act than the super dense Captain America: Civil War. It’s has to be said that directors the Russo brothers have nailed the problem that’s inherent in having over 40 main characters appearing in your movie, and that’s making your main character the bad guy. And make no mistake, Thanos lives up to the hype.
Intelligent, mean and built like an intergalactic brick shit house, he’s more than capably played by Josh Brolin, who between this and the upcoming Deadpool 2 must be getting mad nectar points for all the superhero, skull caving he’s doing this year. He is, in fact, a glorious, layered creation. Brutal, committed and undeniably dangerous, yet loaded with surprising amounts of empathy for his hapless victims, the Mad Titan could top even Loki and Killmonger as Marvel’s best villain yet. Utilising his bling of mass destruction, the Infinity Gauntlet, to advocate cosmic genocide in order to make resources last across the galaxy makes a horrible amount of sense and while Marvel finally clears up their villain problem with style, they also address their other reoccurring shortcoming with horrible glee.
The subject of mortality in the MCU has been brought up before, multiple characters over multiple movies shrugging off the cold, clammy hands of death like someone popping a Lemsip pill to nuke a cold. Well, not this time. Straight from the off the movie starts culling it’s ranks and as the movie goes on your stomach drops either an further. Make no mistake, it can get pretty gruelling and parents should be prepared to answer untold, uncomfortable questions from the nippers the second the credits roll.
Sure, things will most likely turn around come next year with the still untitled Avengers 4, but until then it’s brutal stuff with an ending so ballsy, it serves only to prove how confident Marvel has gotten with success.
Problems? Some but only minor. If you’re new to all this (somehow) then frankly, you’re fucked. And when you have so many characters vying for your attention some have to play second fiddle, so while Iron Man, Doctor Strange, The Guardians, Spider-Man And Thor get plenty to do, others, including Captain America and Black Widow simply line up to defend from Thanos’ vicious armies. But this is less a story about individuals and more about multiple stories about multiple teams spread the length and breadth of space trying to stop a common foe. If Avengers Assemble was Marvel’s superhero team and Civil War was it’s superhero community, then Infinity War has successfully graduated it into a genuine superhero universe and somehow you feel it can only get even better. This is the payoff of 10 years worth of continuity and it results in a phenomenal experience, crammed full of surprises, some fun, some agonizing.
Ten years on it seems, you can still make mine Marvel.