Avengers: Infinity War

(The Russo Brothers, 2018)

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This review contains spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War

Twenty years from now, the critical consensus on Avengers: Infinity War will be entirely dependent on how well the next Avengers movie is received. Though no longer titled Avengers: Infinity War Part One, it is pretty clear that Infinity War is the beginning of a two part narrative that will only succeed in the eyes of fans if the second part holds firmly to the expectations set by the first.

The biggest moment of the film, and perhaps of any film this year, is (of course) the snap. It seems pretty obvious that Marvel superstars Tom Holland and Chadwick Boseman are not gone for good (they, along with the Guardians, have confirmed sequels in the works), but if Marvel backtracks on every death, the heavy emotional weight of this film will feel diminished in retrospect. As sad as it was to see our favorite characters disappear into dust, what was even sadder were the deaths that came before it, be it the Heimdall-Loki double whammy of the opening scene, the ear-piercing stone snatch that ended Vision or the drawn out sacrifice of Marvel’s fiercest, funniest and most inspiring female character. While many fans are speculating that Gamora and Loki may return, and as much as I would love to see them back on the screen again, there is no denying that a resurrection of that magnitude would negate the tragic, apocalyptic tone of Infinity War.

At the end of the day, Infinity War was Thanos’ film. Of all the characters, he had the most comprehensive goals, backstory and character arc. And while he has done things that no true fan could ever forgive him for, there is no denying that Thanos is Marvel’s greatest living villain (well, now that he eliminated Loki). At two hours and twenty-nine minutes, Infinity War is a non-stop fan service bloodbath that is both exhausting and incredible. It is what we all expected it to be, but not at all what we prepared for. The minute the credits started to roll, I was convinced I never wanted to see it again. Not because it was bad, but because it was heartbreaking to the point of grief. It was truly one of the most visceral movie experiences I have ever had.

But, of course, I did see it again, and before I even walked into the theater, I felt my heart sink into my stomach. I ran through every disturbing moment that I never wanted to see again, from Loki’s gruesome suffocation to Spider-Man’s fade into dust. I may have played it cool on the outside, but on the inside I was repeating Spidey’s last words— “I don't wanna go. Please, I don't wanna go.” ★★★★★

David Merkle