Avengers: Infinity War has been in the making ever since the first Marvel Superhero film (of the MCU) made it to the cinemas in 2008. This has been a long and highly rewarding journey for the fans and also for those who went into these films with little or no expectations. What all these films always ensured was for the viewers to have a great time. Some of the films were a miss but most of them were good enough to merit a re-watch. Avengers: Infinity war is the colossal end game to the entire MCU arc till date. It rides on a kind of frenzy that I haven’t seen for a Hollywood film in India thus far. In my hometown of Guwahati, Avengers is playing in Hindi and English in every theater of repute whitewashing every Bollywood release of the week including Sudhir Mishra’s Daas Dev. This is unprecedented and unheard of.  Thus the biggest question looming in my mind is whether it is worth the hype and the wait?

Avengers: Infinity War, for the first time gives us Thanos (Josh Brolin), a titan who considers it to be his responsibility to maintain a balance in the universe. His way of doing it is simple. Kill off half of the life forms every time, everywhere life gets out of control and is in a state of overwhelming the available resources. He has his eyes set on the 6 Infinity Stones known that control every key aspect of life namely time, mind, soul, reality, power and space. Once he has all the stones, he can destroy trillions of lives with the snap of a finger. As Thanos goes after the stones, he faces the Avengers in every step as they fight to ensure Earth’s and their respective survivals.

Avengers: Infinity War is an epic undertaking. The sheer courage of bringing in that many superstars in one film from stories and films that go back decades was a herculean task and the Russo Brothers have done an exceptional job in making it all work for most of the part. This is an out and out action film with some trademark Marvel comedy/wisecrack thrown in between the drama and even the action sequences. It is the kind of film that you can watch with your whole family, have a blast and come back hooked to see the next in the line. Yes! It leaves you with a cliffhanger.

This film practically sets up the character of Thanos and shows us firsthand the amount of power that he possesses. Our heroes are all there but for most of the parts, they are no match for Thanos’ intellect and raw physical prowess. Josh Brolin’s Thanos is a CGI character but is extremely well-done. The character has enough gusto to extract a sense of fear and overwhelming authority from the viewers. This feeling was an absolute necessity to make this film effective. The Russo brothers do well to maintain that feel almost all throughout the film.

The visual aspects of the film and the action sequences are tremendous. It is hands down the biggest undertaking in the MCU in terms of action and visual palate and the directors ensure that the sequences get the royal treatment. The film is essentially episodic in nature with almost every episode having atleast a brief action set piece. The first meaty action sequence involving Dr. Strange, Ironman and Spiderman, the fight where Vision is saved by Steve Rogers, The Black Widow, Falcon and The Scarlet Witch and the final showdown in Wakanda were some of my favorite action sequences among the lot.

For those who are in for the comedy and the wisecrack, the film has enough meat to keep them giggling. Apart from Thanos, every other character makes it a point to mouth atleast one comic line. The tagging of similarly arrogant and wisecracking characters like Dr. Strange – Ironman, Ironman – Starlord, Starlord — Thor extracts some genuine laughs. This is one gigantic mishmash of characters from dissimilar ethnicities and worlds. Thus the comedy arising out of their lack of knowledge of each other’s way of life is un-missable.

Having said all that, let us get into the issues with the film. I honestly felt that this should have been a dark, grim and gritty film. We are talking about a film that shows how a mass murderer gets his hands on an arsenal of weapons that he can use to wipe out the universe. There was really not much room for comedy here. But as we all know, that’s just not the Marvel way. The film has comic reliefs even in between brutal action sequences and that really didn’t work for me.

Major characters die in this film but the light mood that the film maintains all throughout just didn’t let me care about the deaths of these characters. The knowledge of another Infinity War film coming next year didn’t let me take the deaths seriously. I know for a fact that some of the characters or maybe all of the characters will be resurrected for that film.

The next issue is an obvious one for a film with this long a list of stars. Many of the characters just didn’t get enough screen time while some got unnecessary attention. I felt the film could have done better with a little more screen time given to Black Panther and a little less given to Starlord who is basically a serious troublemaker and is actually responsible for many of the deaths. Some characters like the Black Widow and the Winter Soldier just stand in the background and don’t even have any substantial dialogues. Rocket though is terrific.

Another noticeable issue with the film was the manner in which many of the characters were interpreted. This film is directed by the Russo Brothers but our associations with the characters in this film are from films directed by other directors who had their own interpretation of those characters. At many junctures, characters here behave in a way that takes us by surprise as we are used to seeing them in a different avatar altogether.

From the performances point of view, Robert Downey Jr, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Ruffalo and Joe Saldana leave a mark. It isn’t anything earth-shattering but their essays keep the screenplay flowing and create what can be called a semblance of drama. Tom Holland is likable as Spiderman and Chris Evans is good as Steve Rogers. Elizabeth Olsen does exceedingly well in a role that is not very long.

Overall, Avengers: Infinity War is a crowd pleaser. It is the kind of film that will cater and appeal to anyone and everyone. It appealed to me as well but I just couldn’t take my eyes off the drawbacks. It wasn’t charming enough for me to turn a blind eye to those loopholes. But from entertainment’s perspective, this film works. However, every time I think of the promise that this film showed and what this film could have achieved with some seriousness injected into it, I can’t help but rue the lost opportunities. Captain America: Civil War and Captain America: The Winter Soldier were both pretty serious films and they still worked big time. I don’t see any reason why this one would not have.

Rating : 4/5 (4 out of 5 Stars)

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