Spoilers ahead, beware! I’d say, with this movie the statue of limitations is short, and everybody is going to see it anyway, so there’s no point in writing a spoiler-free review 😉
We went our friend Rodzyn to see the new Avengers movie on the very first day it was being played in Poland. It certainly is a complex, carefully constructed story of epic proportions, aiming to be a climax of the entire theatrical MCU so far. Most of the heroes we’ve met meet to fight the ultimate threat – Thanos. He’s been looming on the horizon since The Avengers, and now stepped up to become THE villain.
So… did they succeed, is it the greatest team-up, the biggest foe, the most epic struggle and the most heart-wrenching story of the MCU?
Piotrek: It… well, it is, for me. Not the best MCU movie, but definitely the proper culmination (or at least the first part of…) of all the interweaving storylines. The scale is bigger than anything that happened before, and a chaotic disaster on the DC scale was a real risk – but it works! It works, because we had a decade to prepare and now it just click together nicely.
Ola: I’m not sure if this indeed is a culmination – or, to be more precise, a final one. The superheroes surely deal with the biggest and baddest foe to date, and it is the most epic struggle of the MCU as we know it. However, the heart-wrenching part is a definite exaggeration on your part, Piotrek ;). It’s a wonderfully made, cleverly written, visually arresting, truly funny and sometimes even quite emotionally gripping – money grab 🙂
Piotrek: Isn’t everything. But it’s quite a good one, as blockbusters go. And it’s more than just a sequence of fights and quips.
Rodzyn: It’s hard not to admire the weavers behind MCU mentioned by Piotrek . After all those years we get to the skilfully crafted final stage, one that avid viewer can enjoy immensely. But neither the decor of epic battlefields nor the sheer number of assembled heroes gave me the most joy. In my eyes the best part of MCU are the relations and dynamics between our protagonists, ‘family drama’ feel of supernatural gathering.
Piotrek: We don’t have time to go through everything, so let me just mention two important characters – Tony Stark and Thanos. Tony really grew through all the movies he’s been in, and now is an experienced, battle hardened leader of the good guys. Also, a decent guy.
Ola: Agree to that!
Piotrek: Thanos is maybe the best MCU villain to date. Certainly the most powerful, genuinely scary while also, in his own way, trying to achieve the greater good of sorts. His relationship with Gamorra, introduced two movies earlier, serves the story well. The moment when, in triumph, he sits down to contemplate his victory… it was powerful.
Ola: And to that ;). Thanos is very well created, with believable backstory (admittedly if one stretches their imagination a bit) and reasoning behind his actions. Plus, despite his CGI looks his role is acted, and acted well, by none other than Josh Brolin.
Rodzyn: Thanos & Tony are awesome, sure. But we do get plethora of believable characters (from Sweet Rabbit to Spidey) who make this movie great with their little parts.
Piotrek: Some of the best moments – when different groups of heroes meet and their different styles clash. Infinity War goes beyond the Avengers Assemble call of the previous movies to give us some hilarious encounters of entities of immense power and just as big egos. My favourite – Thor and the Guardians 🙂
Ola: Thor and the Guardians are definitely the center of the best moments of the whole movie. The cosmic side of the MCU in general turned out better than the Earth-based part – thanks in no small way also to wonderful chemistry between Iron Man, Spider-man and Doctor Strange. The scene that felt most repetitive and empty of meaning was the attack on Wakanda – how many times can we watch hordes of black alien creatures attacking some places on Earth only to be heroically repelled with some artful slo-mo hand-to-hand fighting? Still, the Bucky and Rocket scene was fun to watch 😉 And the best action scene? For me it was the fight with Thanos on Titan.
Rodzyn: Yeah.. this whole ‘Wakanda battle scene’ could be omitted and fast forwarded to the point of Thanos’ arrival. I realize it might be argued against, but I’ve really enjoyed the ending. There are couple of truly moving scenes (Rocket & Groot, Spidey & TS) which play pretty well on the emotions (if you’re up for talking trees and that kind of stuff ;)).
Piotrek: Ending… that is a difficult topic. Taken at face value, it is the most powerful ending of any recent comic book movie – post Watchmen. At the same time, some of the sadly departed heroes already signed up for future movies, so…
Ola: Well, exactly. That’s in my opinion the weakest point of the whole movie: something that could have been a cathartic experience has been turned into a money-making plot device. That’s the trend which the members of the Frankfurt school – Adorno and Horkheimer especially – despised the most about the popular culture: the transformation of the work of art into a commercial product.
Ola: Unfortunately, this is something almost all products of our popular culture are guilty of these days – with very few notable exceptions. Comic books in general are a genre valiantly trying to straddle this division of art and commerce with sometimes amazing, and sometimes cringe-worthy results, but I wished that movies based on this genre actually improved the end result, not worsened it. It did happen with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, or Black Panther, or The Punisher – so it can be done! 😉
Piotrek: Yeah, sure, it could be better, although it’s still quite good. And try to take it at face value, pretending not to know the titles of upcoming movies. Within the story, threat is quite credible, and victory – uncertain.
Rodzyn: Better than Black Panther, worse than Logan 🙂 I truly advise Piotrek’s approach, it will make you appreciate the movie as it deserves. I get that avoiding any spoilers regarding MCU is not an easy task these days, but the ‘not knowing‘ factor greatly improves the fun.
Ola: How could I forget about Logan! 😉 Of course, even my idealism can be mitigated, so in the case of Avengers: Infinity War I didn’t really expect anything more than I got… The whole movie was pretty decent, all things considered, but the ending fell flat, undermining the overarching message of defeat with the sins of greed and gluttony 😉 It put to question even the earlier, genuinely emotionally resonant moments, such as the one with Loki or the scene between Gamorra and Thanos. Contrary to the popular saying, this time it was “too much, too early”.
Piotrek: I’m going to see it again soon, but I have to admit that the opposite of usual happens – the more time passes, the more I like it. Is it only because of how everybody seems to like it? Maybe, but that’s not without reason 🙂
Ola: Even I like it, but undoubtedly less than you 😉 The longer I think about this movie, the stronger one adjective comes to the fore in my mind: professional. The MCU has professionalism in spades. It might well become the epitome of intelligent entertainment of our times, monopolizing the industry and the way comic books or fantasy settings are seen and comprehended. Nevertheless, whether it still has heart and ingenuity, that remains to be seen.
Piotrek: Well, MCU is a movie series so long in the making, so meticulously constructed, it’s breathtaking. Nothing like that happened in no Golden Age of cinema. And it’s to be our genre! If it was just an attempt, well, that’s one thing. But it’s a successful attempt, with a few pearls and a decent average. So, it’s not as good as Black Panther, but I think it deserves a premium for its place in the whole picture.
Score: Ola 7,5/10 Piotrek 8,5/10 Rodzyn 8,5/10 (seemingly for different reasons than Piotrek :P)