After seeing Avengers: Infinity War, this fangirl is shaken, stirred, emotional and a little angry that I have to wait a year for the next installment. In the Anthony and Joe Russo's hands, this movie is a budget-less spectacle that not only exploits the talents and chemistry of its sprawling cast, but seamlessly integrates characters from more than a half-dozen franchises and nearly 20 films. Marvel Studios celebrated their 10th anniversary with an intense, emotional, universal adventure that dazzles as much as it demolishes.
I'd love to review this film, but I'm so terrified of spoiling the fun and the horror, so I will can say that this movie will go down in cinematic history as one of the best of its genre. I do have some spoiler-free takeaways that I HAVE to share.
Captain, done right.
One of the irksome aspects of the Avengers franchise (coming in second to Tony Stark freakin' creating the villain in Ultron), is the unevenness of Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) character. The first glimpses of Steve in his own franchise is him breaking the law as he poses as someone else to try to enlist in the army. He nobly wants to serve his country, yes, but he isn't above breaking the law to do it. Thus, the whole Golly Gee- Star Spangled Cap we got in the previous Avengers movies is harder to swallow than the 1930s cuisine Steve was raised on, especially when you consider that he spent the best part of his post-serum existence slaughtering Nazi and Hydra agents by any means necessary.
So Infinity War's grisly, darker, fugitive version of Steve that looks like he's spent the past year training with the Dora Milaje and eating Wakandan sweet potato pie is the right version of the character. There's the same sickening nobility and bravery, but wrapped in a rougher, sexier, badass exterior that's even reflected by his new, darker costume. I would follow that Captain anywhere (preferably to a final Cap movie to close out the series since Civil War was basically Avengers 2.5).
Chivalry is dead and it's awesome!
Since the beginning of superherodom, women have been mostly relegated to being the damsels in distress, so helpless the heroes are constantly saving them from goons, evil villains and scary spiders. Even Ultron had some eye-rollingly damsel-ish moments with Black Widow, who is a freakin' assassin. But in Infinity War, sisters are saving themselves and then some. With the universe at stake, the women--from Okoye to Gamora to Scarlet Witch--are getting shit done, and it's fantastic to see. Now if only Marvel would get rolling on that Valkyrie and Okoye movie.
Real talk: I have no interest in Dr. Strange and his bizarre Fantasia cape, so I was mostly unfamiliar with star Benedict Cumberbatch's character was American. To say it was jarring to see that uniquely handsome man in that bizarre wizarding wear speaking with an American accent was an understatement. It freaked me out more than Thanos' ashy lavender complexion and chin wrinkles.
Chris Hemsworth is a movie star!
One of the more nuanced performances in War belongs to that of Chris Hemsworth. Thor is given some pretty wild swings and has a more complete arc than most of the characters, and Hemsworth plays it brilliantly and deftly. I raved about his movie stardom after Thor: Rangnarok, and I want to holler about it now, because it seems as if Hollywood doesn't know what to do with him if he's not in period pieces or superhero movies (I do have some hope for the MIB reboot though). To paraphrase King T'Challa: Get this man a(nother) franchise!
Tony Stark's fondness for Peter softens his character.
I have a confession to make: I kind of loathe Tony Stark. I have never forgotten that he and Bruce created the big bad in Ultron, who then went on to level an entire country and still came out unscathed. Then, he spent the better part of Civil War trying to get other Avengers to sign some shady accords that he never bothered to read and somehow skirted the consequences of. If he were real, he'd be one of the Teflon-coat crooks with shadowy but damning connections to the current administration.
However, there's something about seeing him nurture the man and the superhero in young Peter Parker that is infectiously an aggravatingly endearing. It's softened some of the slimier edges of his personality and calmed my fiery hate a bit.
Feels, Sweet Feels
I went in the movie feeling prepared for the sheer beating my feels would take. Despite my mental prep (I'm a Supernatural and Grey's Anatomy fan, y'all. I've been training for this for my entire life!), I was utterly traumatized. Why did I want to climb into a pillow fort with mac and cheese, ice cream and a bucket of margaritas? I realized it was because I have been watching these movies for a decade. I have grown to love these actors, and grown with the characters they've played. Fandom is a peculiar thing that never ceases to amaze me. The Avengers are sprawling group of characters tied together by struggles and valor and love. It's a dysfunctional family with a bit of radiation, supersuits and magic hammers thrown in, and it's one I'm grateful to be a part of.