A quick disclaimer for Marvel fans about to read this review: I have only seen two other films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Black Panther and Guardians of the Galaxy, both fairly recently). Therefore, this whole review is very much addressing Infinity War from the perspective of an outsider looking in, and I’m in particular critiquing the film on how effectively it serves as a stand-alone film that I could enjoy regardless of my lack of knowledge. If I come across as a little cold or indifferent to some beloved characters, it’s because I haven’t spent ten or more hours getting to know them previously. And regardless, I had a fantastic time watching this film.
Despite being two and a half hours long, the pacing of the film was quick and no scene felt like it dragged on too long. I felt like a fairly equal amount of time was spent with each group of characters, though honestly I found the actual Avengers themselves probably the least interesting of the bunch, the story not giving them too much to do. The Guardians of the Galaxy cast carried most of the emotional core of the film, and extremely effectively too. This made sense with antagonist Thanos having been established in these films, and this personal connection to the villain certainly made the conflict far more interesting, as opposed to a random all-powerful evil in films like Suicide Squad and Justice League. The way that characters from different films played off each other through dialogue was clever and funny, with Thor and Starlord’s conversations in particular feeling like standout moments. Although the self-aware, sarcastic Marvel humour isn’t particularly my thing, I still found myself laughing at a lot of the back-and-forths between Iron Man and Spiderman, and enjoyed Drax’s moments of social ineptitude. The humour was also used fairly sparingly, and didn’t spoil the many intense and emotional moments, particularly at the ending, which was the most memorable scene of any superhero film I’ve watched for the past five years.
Whilst not very aesthetically original the CGI in the film is impressive, and sections of fight scenes where the characters were computer-rendered still felt as though they had weight and force. I didn’t find Thanos’ design as visually effective as some other characters like Drax and Mantis in conveying their powers and personality, but overall the complexity of his motivations made up for this. Of course, the film still managed to get across an enormous sense of scale, and with a $400 million budget you would really hope so.
For the most part, I didn’t feel confused at powers and plot elements in the film, with the abilities of each character being organically reintroduced in the opening twenty minutes or so. However, sometimes the stakes would become tricky to keep up with in the larger scale action sequences, with some heroes being able to withstand far more than others, and this not always being made too clear. I know you’ll see this anyway if you’re already a die-hard Marvel fan, but if you aren’t you’ll still enjoy an entertaining, high octane, and unexpectedly moving trip to the cinema – and you should watch this at the cinema.