When I walked into the cinema, I expected some of my favourite characters to die. Not just because certain actors’ contracts are expiring, but because this film has been ten years in the making. The villain, Thanos, has been working in the shadows of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since The Avengers was released in 2012. Since Iron Man in 2008, eighteen films have been released, and that makes an awful lot of heroes available to show up against the villain, and an awful lot of heroes available to die. Not only that, but the sequel to Infinity War, which continues the two-part war against Thanos, concludes Phase 3 in Marvel’s cycle of films, and a new wave of heroes like Captain Marvel will be introduced to the Avengers team roster.
The film started right off where no one wanted it – with a major character death, and that of a fan favourite. Things only got emotionally worse from there. I was literally on the edge of my seat throughout the whole film, grieving for my favourite characters and paranoid that more would fall. The plot was fairly straight forward: a threat is identified and the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, almost every hero and side character is drawn into the battle to stop Thanos from collecting the last Infinity Stones and committing intergalactic genocide. Some take the fight to Thanos, like Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Spider Man, and Star Lord, while others protect the home front from his invading forces, like Captain America, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch and Vision. Further yet, Thor is the hero who ties them all together as he bumps into the Guardians, sends some of them to Earth, and takes Groot and Rocket Raccoon to a mythical place to forge a new weapon that could defeat Thanos. And this weapon almost does, if Thor had perhaps aimed it better.
Unlike in Captain America: Civil War, the character introspection was quite subtle. Our favourite heroes were put to the test – would they kill the one they love to save them from being destroyed? Could they sacrifice one person for the sake of the universe? It’s a question that heroes often face in superhero films like this, and not all of them make the best choice. We also got an insight into the mind and motivations of Thanos and his determination to exterminate half the universe, as he is also faced with the same choice. However, we didn’t get to see the consequences of Civil War, which was the most recent film with a big Avengers roster, and which directly impacted where the Avengers were and what they were doing at the open of this film.
On the other hand, there were some great character interactions that I had been anticipating for years. The meeting between Thor and Star Lord surpassed my expectations, adding some much-needed humour into an otherwise grim film. My favourite interaction by far was shared between Rocket and Bucky Barnes, otherwise known as the Winter Soldier. They only had a brief moment on screen, but in that time they worked together to shoot the bad guys in a glorious pirouette of death, and then Rocket asked Bucky if he could borrow his arm, which was a wonderful homage to the first film where Rocket constantly tries to steal people’s artificial limbs. One that fans would have been particularly looking forwards to is between Steve and Tony, seeing how Civil War ended, but that never happened. And considering how high the stakes will be at the beginning of the next film, I doubt it ever will.
My only criticism of the film was that I wasn’t a huge fan of the musical score. It fit certain moments, but in others I felt like it was going for the dramatic in the battle scenes instead of a more severe and anxious tone.
Needless to say, I went home and finished off the tub of ice cream.
Words by Amelia Hughes
3.5-4 star film, conditional of your love for superhero films, and how the next Avengers film (coming out next year) concludes the storyline.