Marvel’s latest “Avengers” installment follows the standard Marvel formula, although this time with a few twists. It manages to pack all of the heroes of the previous films into its lengthy 2:30 run time.
Like previous Marvel movies, the best way to describe “Infinity War” is competent. Nothing about this film strayed too far from the established franchise formula: fight scenes, humor filled exchanges between the main characters and a daunting villain.
“Infinity War” shows that the series formula is starting to wear thin. 2012’s “The Avengers” brought together a number of characters for the first time, and it was a breath of fresh air compared to earlier and much less successful attempts at building series with Marvel characters.
Several years and many movies later, the “cinematic universe” starts to blur together, with each new iteration being the same kind of fast food entertainment as the previous one, with no signs of slowing down. The sequel to “Infinity War” is already set for release a year from now.
The most compelling aspect of the newest Avengers is the antagonist Thanos (Josh Brolin), who is trying to gather the infinity stones fought over in previous Marvel movies. Out of all the characters, he is ironically the best developed.
Even with this better rendered villain, the story is much the same as previous Marvel films of a major, earth-shattering villain the heroes must confront.
Part of this is likely due to the volume of heroes on screen, which is really one of the weakest aspects of the movie. With so many of them on-screen, none of the series’ headliners like Captain America (Chris Evans) or Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) have much room to develop or change all that much from earlier in the series.
Vision (Paul Bettany) and Scarlett Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) have more to offer in terms of character development and drama despite being more minor characters in the overall series. However, even this is hampered by the constant need to cut away to others just to make sure everyone is included in the story.
The previous Avengers films with a smaller cast struck a much better balance between its heroes.
The scenes with the “Guardians of the Galaxy” stand out the most in terms of acting, characters and writing. These are also the scenes that most directly relate to the battle against Thanos as well, based on the previous installments of “Guardians.”
The battle scenes are largely forgettable and lack focus. The heavy use of CGI makes much of “Infinity War” look like a video game, when practical effects could have been used, especially in some of the smaller fights. They are action packed enough to keep viewers entertained in the theater, but are forgettable the moment you walk out.
The ending of the film makes it appear that Marvel is taking a risk, but the corporate product nature of these movies means that most of the consequences in this film will be undone.
Killing off characters would alienate the Marvel audience and tank the franchise, which is the last thing Disney would want for it.
Continuing to double down on the same formula, however, is what will damage Marvel long term. Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans and Chris Pratt, the three strongest male leads in the franchise, will not be around to do these films indefinitely.
The lack of foreseeable closure is apparent in “Infinity War.” For all the so-called risks from the creators and having an ambiguous ending, the entire film is yet another extended commercial for the next installment.
Hollywood continues to double and triple down on formulaic, “cinematic universes” as the only major offering. They also continue to rehash older and existing properties for these series. DC Comics has tried to imitate Marvel with their own, much less successful “Justice League,” while “Jurassic World” has rebooted the “Jurassic Park” franchise.
Marvel has kicked off a trend that shows no sign of slowing down and “Infinity War” shows that the Marvel cinematic universe is beginning to show its age by sticking to the same tired formula.
The Flyer gives “Avengers: Infinity War” a 6 out of 10.
By SAMUEL STEVENS
Featured photo: Screen Rant image.