Considering that Avengers: Infinity War is one of the longest super hero movies I have seen in quite some time, it seems strange that I could make this the shortest review I have ever written.
Here it is:
The creators of Avengers: Infinity War did everything perfectly.
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The creators of Avengers: Infinity War did everything perfectly... given the unavoidable limitations.
Before dealing with the limitations, let's start with what they got right.
First of all, it is important to note that I saw this in 2D at a Dolby Cinema. This is by far my favorite way to watch a movie (even better than Real IMAX). The picture is perfect and the sound rattles the remarkably comfortable seats. If you have access to one, Avengers:Infinity War is perfect for it!
Sorry Star Lord, you are dead wrong. This story rocks!
This should be a no brainer. Every movie should have a great story. And yet, it is far too rare. Too many movies rely so heavily on special effects that they forget to tell a story. Infinity War does not have that problem. What is truly unique about this story is that it is simple enough for an eleven year old to understand (my daughter asked almost no questions during the entire movie) yet it has a layer of complexity that can cause more mature viewers to delve deeper into more philosophical dilemmas.
The most impressive part of the story is that it ties several different stories together very well. It is as if there were 6 different 20 minute long television programs all tied together perfectly. That is incredibly hard to do. There were very few instances when I found myself thinking, "Why is this group off doing this while the other group is doing that?" If that did occur, the writers nearly immediately explained the plausible reason for it.
Not only did this film tie together the stories within it, the writers also managed to tie every previous movie together. Why is Thor with the Guardians of the Galaxy? Why is Spider-Man with Dr. Strange? Why would Black Panther be involved? The writers came up with plausible reasons for all of the team-ups. As the movie progresses, more and more of the heroes come together. Miraculously it all makes sense!
The action sequences were amazing and numerous. Marvel has figured out the formula. They include an incredible action sequence as soon as possible and then make sure that they never totally lose that momentum. This movie is over two and a half hours long. I have a hard time sitting still that long. To be honest, I usually need to hit the bathroom at least once during a movie that long. But during this movie, I never dreamed of leaving my seat. I knew I would miss too much.
As I sit here trying to count how many action sequences there were... I can't. There were too many to count. I don't think a single one of them was unnecessary. Not only did they entertain, they helped drive the story. None gave the impression that the writers had set a timer and said, "It's been 15 minutes, we better blow something up or we will bore the audience." The action scenes seemed to fit in naturally.
Marvel also knows how to produce nearly perfect special effects. I realize many people are sick of CGI, but without it, there could never be a Thanos, Hulk or even Iron Man. In addition to the characters, space ships and battles, the world building was amazing. This movie takes place on several planets. Each one of them is incredible. The attention to detail on these worlds was truly impressive.
There are so many great one liners in this movie.
The story is incredibly dark, and yet there are a ton of laughs. The writers somehow made the jokes started in Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Ragnarok work along side the seriousness of Black Panther and Captain America. It was a perfect balance. Whenever there wasn't an important plot revelation or action scene, there was an appropriately placed joke. Again, none of these seemed forced. Perhaps there were times when the heroes were in so much danger that you would not believe someone would crack a joke... but these are veteran warriors who have seen it all. Humor relieves tension. Making light of a desperate situation makes you seem invincible. Therefore, I felt even these worked.
I'm getting chills thinking about some of the scenes in this movie.
I pride myself on always avoiding spoilers. Therefore, I will keep this section as short as possible. Four of my high school students told me that they cried during this movie. Because they all have such rich history developed in their previous movies, the audience cares about every single character.
Over the past three years, there have been two movies scenes that have unexpectedly stirred my emotions. I am used to crying in movies. For example I let some tears fly in both at Logan and Hacksaw Ridge. However, both of those movies are intended to pull at your heart strings. But there are two that even as I write this, still choke me up. One occurs in Star Wars: The Force Awakens when Rey says "The garbage will do" and they pan to the Millennium Falcon. The other is when Captain America makes his first appearance in Avengers: Infinity War. I honestly cannot explain why I got (and currently am) teary eyed. The director and cinematographer clearly used some voodoo on me that I can't resist. When I see it again this week, I will pay special attention to why the scene moved me so much.
Thanos is by far the most powerful villain I have ever seen.
From the moment you see Thanos on screen, two things are crystal clear: he is ridiculously powerful and evil. In fact, I believe he is the most power and terrifying villain I have ever seen. One of the problems I had with Black Panther was that the villain had a point. Although his methods were extreme, his motivations made sense. On a deep level, Thanos' motivations also make sense... but his methods are so evil, crazy and extreme that there is no mistake that he must be stopped. He is a true zealot. There are few things more horrifying than a misguided zealot... except one that has the ultimate power in the universe.
One problem is that this scene is not even in the movie.
First of all, this is only one half of a story. As much effort as the writers put into this seeming like a stand alone movie, it is not. Although it does find a natural break on which to pause, everyone knows there is a huge second act to come.
Some of my friends have compared this to Empire Strikes Back. That is a fair comparison. There was definitely no mistaking the final scene of ESB as being the final scene. However, I find this more similar to Kill Bill: Vol. 1. Avengers: Infinity War didn't merely set up a sequel, it is flat out only half a movie. As a result, I found it difficult to get too emotional about anything that happened. Instead of me walking away thinking "I can't believe that happened", I found myself wondering "How will they undo that in the next movie?" I need to reserve my emotions for the real end to the story. It is very clear that anything that happened is not necessarily permanent. But that is ok. It looked so cool happening that it doesn't even matter.
The second problem is that too many characters did not get enough screen time. For me to be satisfied with the amount of screen time dedicated to Groot, Hulk, Drax, Black Widow, ... actually everyone, the movie would need to be over 4 hours long. Given the limitation, the writers did the best they could. In addition, I know it is only half over. Perhaps I will be satisfied after both halves have been assembled.
The biggest limitation is that we have to wait one year before we can see the conclusion of this amazing story.
Although I don't want to ruin anything, there is an incredibly surprising cameo in the movie. In addition, the after the credit scene is very important.
Geeky Dad's Movie Guide
Number of times I fell asleep: 0 (I am not sure if I even blinked out of fear of missing something.)
Number of eye rolls: 0 (The writers clearly took pride in this one.)
Number of face palms: 0 (I did almost double face palm in order to keep myself from crying when Cap arrives)
Number of times my kid asked to go to the bathroom or get food out of sheer boredom: 0
Number of times I checked steemit: 0
Did my kids like it: My 13 year old son and 11 year old daughter both LOVED it!
Would I see it without my kids: Multiple times
Full price/Matinee/Rental/Free/Not worth the time: If you have access to a premium theater see it there. If not just see it ASAP.
Number of times I plan to see this movie in the theater: At least 3 times.