First, I’m going to try to write this short review without spoiling too much, in case someone stumbles across this piece accidentally, and to cater to that small crowd who enjoys reading a review before seeing the movie.
It’s that small crowd who likes knowing a little bit about the future I want to focus on to start. Really, in some ways, we are ALL part of that crowd in a meta sort of way. We all know that there’s going to be a second movie in the Infinity War series, and we all know a few things about the plot structure of a multi-part movie series. Thanos won’t be beaten in the first half, and there needs to be a problem that either remains or appears to drive the plot from one movie to the next.
For example, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, the movie ends with Harry and company resuming their efforts to find the remaining horcruxes(an existing problem), while Voldemort acquires the Elder Wand(a new problem). The link between HP and Infinity War is that while in both cases we know generally speaking what will happen, it’s the ride to arrive at that point that’s enjoyable.
I’m happy to report that while it wasn’t altogether unexpected how Infinity War ends, I became willfully ignorant of the pending ending of the movie in a pleasant way, and was able to sit back and enjoy the ride. Most characters had sweet new abilities to show off, there were many moments where applause and even cheering erupted from the audience, and for the latter two-thirds, the plot advanced smoothly despite the huge cast of characters all interacting in new ways and being split up into multiple groups. Characters are killed when you expect them to live. In particular, Thanos’ motivations and personality were explored quite well. Movies with irrationally evil bad guys don’t really work anymore, and Marvel is pretty good at showing just enough of the mind of the antagonist to make him interesting.
That said, the movie is far from perfect. The first third was rocky as characters reunited or met each other for the first time, and Thanos’ lackeys, despite having lines and being in many scenes, are nameless baddies, and I only learned most of their names as the credits rolled. The humor falls mostly flat in the face of such a serious plot. The groups align against Thanos almost too quickly, and despite his massive perceived power, they have a high level of success in combat with him, though I’m tempted to give that a pass since Guardians of the Galaxy, the movie that established that even a single Infinity Stone can level a planet with ease, was quite some time ago. Some key events are trite or even nonsensical, and while they are easy to get past in the face of such great action scenes, they linger in the mind after the fighting is done.
I don’t really rate movies, as a rating system feels so rigid. I CAN say if you enjoy Marvel movies this is worth a watch. I mean, you’ve already invested dozens of hours, it only makes sense to see it through. I feel very similarly to how I felt about Star Wars TFA, the movie had a lot of character/prior movie red tape to go through to get to the good parts, and so it gets a pass in MANY areas, including that first third. The difference between A:IW and TFA is that I actually liked Infinity War, and want to see it again, and will 100% buy it when it comes to Amazon Video.
I’ll probably still watch Thor:Ragnarok more often though. It’s the most complete movie Marvel has ever made, from action to humor to soundtrack, and remains the benchmark for greatness.