A Survey of Contemporary French Arthouse Cinema… Just Kidding, It’s Another “Avengers” Post!

In case you haven’t been keeping tabs, it’s been ten years since Marvel debuted their new Cinematic Universe with “Iron Man.” When Robert Downey Jr. dawned the armor for the first time, fans – myself included – were blown away, and not only with the special effects and blockbuster action sequences: Marvel was rebounding in a big way. Just a year prior, we got “Spiderman 3,” and this gif is literally all you ever need to know about that movie.

But “Iron Man,” and especially all of the fun RDJ brought to playing character, salvaged the superhero genre and gave Marvel the opportunity to tell a much larger story. 18 films later, and the franchise has reached its penultimate installment: “Infinity War.” And the film does not disappoint.

I would be lying if I said the stakes in any other Marvel film felt very high, but rather than detract from the story, this carefree attitude gives the films an appropriate tone for the genre, one that lets them not take themselves too seriously, giving audiences the necessary breathing room to get to know these characters as more than just a conglomerate of super-powered fist-throwers. By the time viewers reach “Infinity War,” the payoff of having seen these 22 characters develop and come into their own throughout the series is well worth the time invested, and as for the stakes, well…they get pretty damn high, with Thanos – the movie’s signature villain, played by Josh Brolin – on a mission to collect the Infinity Stones, ingots of concentrated power formed at the Big Bang, which let the wielder change the very fabric of reality. Thanos is on a mission to bring balance to the universe, and he means to do this by wiping out half of all life at random. He first accomplishes this through conquering planets and genociding half of the population, but with the Infinity Stones, he could have the power to do it on a universal scale in an instant.

While audiences will definitely be excited to see their favorite do-gooders take him on, I think they’ll be pleasantly/horrifically surprised at how this is more of Thanos’ film than any of the other characters, and Brolin’s solemn and steady delivery gives the character a level of depth that I was not expecting. And the interactions between the other heroes, especially the ones we haven’t seen meet before (Thor and the Guardians, Dr. Strange and Spiderman, Iron Man and the Guardians) are both hilarious and heartbreaking, a balance Thanos himself would approve of.

I’m amazed at how Kevin Feige, the lead producer at Disney who helms the overall franchise, weaves the characters into a fast-paced and tense narrative that doesn’t let up or go easy on its audience, be it visually or emotionally. Make sure you get a chance to see it in theaters, before the knuckle-dragging troglodytes that like to post spoilers to their Facebook feed ruin it for everybody.

-JT

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