Movies

Movie Review – Avengers: Infinity War

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18 movies and 10 years in the making, Marvel’s infinite superhero world-building culminates in an all-out war, “Avengers: Infinity War.”

The movie picks up right after the events in “Thor: Ragnarok,” where Asgardians fled their destructed planet. They may not be safe after all, as Thanos’s (Josh Brolin, “Oldboy”) spaceship looming over them. The big, bald, intergalactic baddie that has been hinted and flashed in earlier movies is here in all his purplish menace.

Front and center with a backstory, Thanos is surprisingly a credible threat in a universe filled with superheroes. He’s got his own motive and pathos. What makes him different is his purpose, singular-mindedness and methodicalness. Not a typical alien villain out for world domination, he’s dangerous in all his righteousness.  He wants to erase half the universe to help ease overpopulation to allow the other half to live and thrive.  In his mind, it’s that simple.

Traversing across the galaxy, our superheroes are doing everything they can to prevent Thanos from collecting all Infinity Stones. These magical stones are the building blocks of the universe. Color-coded gems – power, reality, space, time, mind and soul – would allow Thanos to achieve his genocidal goal to twinedly balance the universe with a mere snap of his fingers. Super strengths, open up portals, twist time, bend reality, create mind illusions. These limitless powers are not without a soul-crushing price though, one that imbues Thanos with a sliver of vulnerability.

The Russo brothers (“Captain America: Civil War,” “Captain America: Winter Soldier”) deftly weave in multiple storylines and a sheer number of superheroes in 2.5 hours. Fractured and scattered following the ending of ‘Civil War,’ our superheroes find themselves in unlikely teams, fighting battles on all fronts; earth, space and planets.

Whilst darkness descends from the first frame and drapes the entire movie, there are rays of lightness in the humor that comes out of the interactions among these characters. Imagine the personalities and scenarios.

Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game”) asking for Tony Stark/Iron Man‘s (Robert Downey, Jr., “The Judge”) help. Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland, “Spider Man: Homecoming”) tagging them along in a new supersuit aboard a spaceship. Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo, “Avengers: Age of Ultron“) and Shuri (Letitia Wright, “Black Panther“) having a science chat. The humorous Guardians of the Galaxy (Star-Lord/Chris Pratt, Gamora/Zoe Saldana, Drax/Dave Bautista, Rocket Raccoon and Groot/voices of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel, Mantis/Pom Klementieff) encountering and rescuing Thor (Chris Hemsworth, “Rush”) in space. And speaking of GoG, the team divides itself intentionally and ends up teaming up with other superheroes.

There are heartbreaking moments. The fate of the Asgardians, evolved AI Vision (Paul Bettany) and Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch’s (Elizabeth Olsen) doomed love, Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula’s (Karen Gillan) tortured sisterly ties, Gamora and Thanos’ complicated relationship. Gamora and Nebula are Thanos’ adopted daughters.

Then there’s the penultimate.  Wakanda becomes the last frontier. At the helm of King T’Challa/Black Panther, the formerly secretive society and technologically advanced country welcomes Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans, “The Avengers“), Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson, “Her”), James Rhodes/War Machine (Don Cheadle), Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie), among others. They devise a desperate plan to keep Thanos from essentially playing God. An epic battle and extended hand-to-hand fights spread across sprawling fields.

“Avengers: Infinity War” works on a visual, narrative and emotional level. It’s more than a visual marvel. Its cohesive narrative, mighty stakes and unpredictable twists carry real casualties. Far beyond nameless people, one-off characters or computer-generated aliens. The shocking, sobering ending literally leaves the world hanging in the balance.

Thanos will return. To say that the Avengers (or what’s left of it) have the work cut out for them is an understatement. Although the post-credit scene beacons hope for a new kind of aid.  “Avengers 4” (currently untitled) is slated for May 3, 2019.

Copyright (c) 2018.  Nathalia Aryani.

Nathalia Aryani is a film columnist and has a movie blog, The MovieMaven (sdmoviemaven.blogspot.com). Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at indotransserv@gmail.com.

"Nathalia Aryani is a film columnist and has a movie blog, The MovieMaven (sdmoviemaven.blogspot.com). Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at indotransserv@gmail.com."

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