Avengers: Infinity War is the culmination of a ten-year plan creating the Marvel Cinematic Universe that started with 2008's Iron Man. The franchise is built on four pillars Iron Man (Robert Downy Jr.), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) Captain America (Chris Evans) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth). Along the way, the Guardians of the Galaxy showed up along with the second wave that cemented their status in the first Avengers film. The last two additions to round out the players were Dr. Strange and Black Panther. Enter Thanos (voiced by Josh Brolin) a Giant who is ever the equal of the Hulk sporting a jagged chin the equivalent of the front end of a freight train. He is hunting the six infinity stones that are spread throughout the galaxy. We see his initial power as he gets the better of the Hulk in a one on one battle early on in the film. Thanos' plan; bring balance to the world by eliminating half of the population. He's been working on this going from planet to planet but with all six infinity stones placed in his specially made gauntlet he can snap his fingers making it instantly so.
Directing brothers Joe and Anthony Russo have their work cut out giving everyone screen time but manage to do so. Starting with Thor and The Hulk battling Thanos in Space, Dr. Strange, Spiderman and Iron Man taking on his confidant Ebony Maw (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor) in New York, then Captain America, Black Widow and Falcon coming to the aid of Vision and Scarlet Witch after being ambushed by Black Order members Proxima Midnight and Corvus Glavine in Scotland. Writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely raise some heady questions with the narrative that has real world implications. Is Thanos' plan the best way to deal with overcrowding in a world with dwindling resources or is it genocide on a universal scale.
Robert Downy Jr's Iron Man continues to be the lead character of the franchise. He battles in multiple settings ending up alongside The Guardians on Thanos' home planet Titan for a key segment of the feature. Chris Hemsworth's Thor hits many outposts during the proceedings including one particularly absorbing sequence where he runs into Eitri (Peter Dinklage) a Giant Dwarf who forged both his Hammer and Thanos' Gauntlet to hold the stones. Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch is placed in a no-win situation where she has to make the toughest choice possible displaying her immense power in a scene where the stage is cleared for her main contribution to the production.
Avengers: Infinity War delivers. It's true to the characters that audiences have met and grown to love over the last ten years. Because the viewers are invested in these heroes it's even more shocking when Thanos continues to gain power then brings it to bear against Earth's Mightiest Heroes. The film is an important signpost making fans both uneasy and excited to see the next set of films will take the franchise leading up to the fourth and final Avengers film.
*** 1/2 Out of 4.
Avengers: Infinity War | Joe Russo / Anthony Russo | USA | 2018 | 149 Minutes.
Tags: MCU, Crossover, Infinity Stones, New York, Scotland, Titan, Knowhere, Wakanda, Genocide, Balance, Glass Eye, Rabbit.