Be prepared for one of the greatest cinematic experiences of your life.
There is little I love more than movies. It’s the closest we’ll ever get to the sensation of true magic in this lifetime and epitomizes what it means to be human. With that said, I do not buy into the inevitable hype cycle that precludes any large film release. Too often have I and we as a movie going mass been tricked by clever marketing. As a result, I stay relatively blind to a film going in and hold a very strong “seeing is believing” mentality when it comes to films of all kinds before seeing the entire work. However, with that bucket of skepticism at my side and a healthy love of everything Disney and Marvel are doing in movies, I could not help but sense something akin to electricity in the theater before Infinity Wars began. It seemed there was an overwhelming sense that what we were about to witness was going to be movie history in the making, and upon seeing the first scene, I immediately knew that all my suspicions were true. This is not a movie, but a full-on cinematic experience that few films ever reach.
With the Avengers Infinity Wars, the Russo Brothers took on one of the hardest challenges a filmmaker can possibly take on in this day and age. While many directors and storytellers take on the mantle of shedding a little light on the human condition through some gripping new look on life’s pain and pleasures, the Russo Brothers envisioned a way to bring together the greatest superhero franchises to date in a new and refreshing way. They manage to perfectly meld sincere moments of character building downtime with edge of your seat, action-packed battle scenes that will have you and your friends talking for days. This balance is such a precarious one to maintain, but they hold it well throughout. However, when it comes to a Marvel movie, you shouldn’t expect to find altogether innovative or new ways of looking at film. There are no interesting and peculiar shot angles, no overtly pioneering art styles, no heavy philosophical debate and no character archetype we’ve never seen before. The Russo Brothers instead take the basic tools of filmmaking and use them to an almost mastery level that 99% of film could only hope to achieve, whether it be a low budget indie or a similar 9 digit blockbuster. To detract from this line of thought to dwell on the film’s shortcomings is almost pointless because there are so few. But, to be fair, the film does pull punches when it comes to the complexity and ambition of the writing and dialogue of the script, especially when it comes to the philosophical dogmas of good and evil that Star Wars has mastered. It is well thought out, but it isn’t mind-bending world-shattering or anything beyond slightly thought-provoking. It would’ve been nice to see a film such as this impose a dilemma as deeply trying as in a Kubrick or Ingmar Bergman film, but I suppose that would be asking for too much and as is, it more than certainly gets the job done.
Now, there are a lot of reasons why this film is entire dimensions ahead of your average blockbuster, but one of the most paramount is the acting in this film. Watching many crossovers on television growing up, one of the few factors that could be found common across all of them was the generally poor level acting, as you pose groups of people in character who are unfamiliar with one another in the same room with each other. Here though, almost every single actor and actress delivers a performance notches above anything else they’ve done in a Marvel movie or in a movie flat out. Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, and Tom Holland come to mind when I think of standout performances in a sea of standout performances. Chris and Zoe may be part of the “humorous” Guardians franchise but their performances could move you to tears at several points during this film. As for Tom, to play against some of the most seasoned members of the Avengers as he did and not only held his own but stole the show yet again in comedic and dramatic roles is certainly something to keep an eye out for.
This film is easily one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time simply because it isn’t just a movie, it is in all sense of the phrase, a cinematic experience. From the immediate first scene to the very end of the credits, you are on a truly emotional and winding rollercoaster that masterfully blends comedy and tragedy. The average undiscerning viewer will go into this and take in this film at its surface level, as an action-packed superhero beat em’ up that we’ve come to know, but this is nothing but facade. With so many heroes and plot lines in the play, you get to see the beauty and the fallibility of a superhero and his or her less than super choices. One thing that makes shows like Game of Thrones great is that it has real stakes involved in every single episode and this film clearly does as well. Unlike the DC crew who spend three quarters of a film attempting to convince an audience that the villain is evil and dangerous through scare tactics, darkly tinted cameras and blaring sound effects, this film, just like Game of Thrones, is not afraid to wipe out beloved characters as if they mattered little more than a minor extra. That’s what makes film a true rollercoaster from start to end, you really don’t know who’s going to win at any point of this film. In addition, this film not only adopts but masters another principle of storytelling that Game of Thrones popularized, that of morally grey characters who aren’t truly good or truly evil and beyond that, can never truly know what is truly good or evil. This film presents several parallel storylines where the characters are faced with similar dilemmas with similar costs and similar lines of logic, but these characters who are supposedly evil or supposedly good, often make choices in direct contrast to their allies with unwavering certainty. The whole point of this long-winded statement is that you can show the mortality of a superhero all you want, but it doesn’t make them any more human than a paper bag. Making them imperfect and incredibly fallible in their best-planned efforts does.
From the moment I stepped into that theater, I felt it was a landmark experience in cinematic history that only comes along once in a decade or three and it did not fail to meet that anticipation. If you only see one more movie for the rest of your life, this is about as good a choice as you’re ever going to get. Do not miss this movie.