Avengers Infinity War movie cast: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Josh Brolin and Chris Pratt
Avengers Infinity War movie director: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
Avengers Infinity War movie rating: 2
Nineteen films, and counting. Hard to be the one to burst the bubble, but wherein ‘marvel’ in this bloating Marvel Cinematic Universe? Or, when cash registers are ringing, is that even a question to ask?
Avengers: Infinity War clocks in at 2 hours and 40 minutes; lines up all its super-heroes and minor gods, some with changed facial hair, others with more wrinkles; runs havoc through the universe, including many, many planets and a few places on Earth; rips apart the angelic ‘Wakanda’, just a movie after Black Panther; and hangs the entire plot on one man’s chase for six “infinity stones”, so that he can cull half of life on the planets and hence “restore the balance of the universe”. As planet after planet shows up only as rubble, metal and discarded weapons, that ambition sounds hollow with every passing minute — though no one turns around and tells the mighty Thanos (Brolin, good, in motion capture performance) that. Even when he justifies this genocide saying it is “random, dispassionate genocide”, not discriminating between rich and poor.
Plus, the only portions of the film that register are when any of its characters, whatever planet they may belong to, are being just “human”. Especially the troupe of the Guardians of the Galaxy, who render much-needed and again effortless levity to this clanging-metal enterprise, and also Holland, who has been stealing the show as the sprightly Spider-Man. But these scenes are few and far between, and when people are not lifting huge objects and hurling these at each other, they are blazing off bright lights at rivals. Mostly, it is hard to tell where one battle ends and another begins.
Directors Russo (veterans of two Captain America films) realise the potential minefield of having too many of their superheroes, all charismatic in their own right, in one frame, and hence divvy up the conflicts. But this division seems random, and how the characters all find their way to each other, eventually, after every clash, is left to the imagination.
And still, the film fails to do justice to most of its heroes, with even Johansson and Evans struggling to register while Boseman is criminally unnoticeable after the hit he delivered with Black Panther. As usual, a large chunk is reserved for Downey Jr’s Tony Stark, and his scene with fellow-Sherlock Holmes Cumberbatch’s Dr Strange has the hint of a tension that the film never fully explores. Saldana gets the meatiest part, and that’s only because she gets to do more than all others put together — and that is shed a few real tears.
In the beginning, there is Thanos, gloating over his capture of Thor (Hemsworth) and particularly on becoming the first person to own two infinity stones. That gives him immense powers already, but Thanos wants the remaining four stones too, and goes forth searching himself or sends out his “children” in pursuit. Wherever they go, they leave behind destruction. One of those infinity stones is held by Dr Strange, another by Vision (Paul Bettany), a third by a mercenary, and the fourth lies across a valley that calls for supreme sacrifice from the person who wants it.
Much has been destroyed, much is, and much more will be. As Thanos sits with “glorious sunshine” playing on his face — a sad fellow eventually after getting what he wanted — the second part of this cinematic battle is already on the drawing board somewhere.
When they said ‘Infinity War’, they weren’t joking.