*This review contains mild spoilers*
Many of the strengths of Infinity War are things you would come to expect from a Marvel Studios movie at this point: mostly brilliant visual effects, riveting action, great aesthetics and a competent musical score. What’s even more impressive is how—much like Captain America: Civil War—directors Joe and Anthony Russo and writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely once again find a way to give meaningful moments of screen time to various characters, despite how enormous the movie is in terms of scale and cast.
Every superhero story needs a great villain, and Thanos more than rises to the occasion. He is a multi-layered character with well-defined motivations, brought to life by a talented Visual Effects team and a brilliantly nuanced performance by Josh Brolin. The rest of the cast are all great, the standouts being Paul Bettany (Vision), Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange), Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (Ebony Maw) and Zoe Saldana, who really sells the complicated feelings her character Gamora has towards Thanos. The creative choice to have victims of Thanos’ ‘finger snap’ disintegrate rather than just disappear is a very smart one; it’s far more impactful on the audience, and our heroes are left to watch in horror as their teammates and friends turn to ash in front of their eyes.
For a film that is meant to be the culmination of the last ten years of the MCU, it is, however, very disappointing and quite frankly, bizarre that Hawkeye—a founding member of the Avengers—is nowhere to be seen, and the explanation given for his absence is incredibly flimsy. Also, the Russos do seem to struggle with balancing the different groupings of characters in this film, as the narrative often focuses on some groups of characters longer than others, and would sometimes jump from one location to another prematurely. This is understandable, though, considering the sheer number of characters the filmmakers have to juggle (and that’s not even including Ant-Man, The Wasp or Hawkeye!)
All of that being said, Avengers: Infinity War is still a thoroughly enjoyable and emotionally engaging movie that audiences won’t be forgetting in a hurry.