Someone at Marvel headquarters must have taken the famous saying by Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”, pretty seriously. After all, who would've thought they'd reach the thousand miles in just 10 years?
Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), the odyssey which began with Iron Man in 2008, has recently presented the world with the record-breaking biggest opening of all time. In every sense of the word, Avengers: Infinity War is a success.
I remember fanboying about how Thor: Ragnarok was the most illustrated Marvel movie, and I have practised the Wakandan salute from Black Panther secretly. As I walked into the theatre this past weekend to watch Infinity War, I knew it would be big but also wondered if it could really be as good a movie like its predecessors. Even though I had seen the trailer, I had my doubts.
It took Marvel just short of three hours to prove me wrong. And in that time, I had experienced the rollercoaster ride of a lifetime.
So, on to the nitty-gritties. Avengers: Infinity War is the 19th MCU movie. It was following the formation of the Avengers and later on the Guardians of the Galaxy that we realised the two superhero groups would eventually cross paths, or orbits. Over the course of time, much has happened – a civil war, discovery of powerful stones, bad movies in another cinematic universe, introduction of new superheroes, Ant Man, loss of home planets, rise of a hidden kingdom – and all has led them to the mighty purple Titan warlord, Thanos.
The plot itself is pretty simple. There are six stones that possess mystic powers and he/she who possesses all the stones is by default the most powerful being in the universe. Our Marvel superheroes must forget their own conflicts and join forces against Thanos to restore the fate of the universe and its inhabitants. Of course, watch the movie to know how things pan out.
Avengers: Infinity War is the movie of movies, and let me tell you why. Most, if not all, the characters of the MCU are present in this film and bring their own flavour into the mix. Thor is mourning the loss of his home and hammer, Stark feels he needs to take a break from saving the world, Captain America is still out to bring justice the right way, and Hulk has no control over himself. I don't know what formula the Russo brothers have applied in their direction but I watched in awe how all the characters blended to deliver multiple storylines within a movie. Yes, I have also compared this movie to a mega three-hour episode of your daily soap opera.
On the other end of the spectrum, one might say this movie is about Thanos. While I don't entirely agree with that claim, I do acknowledge that the Titan is the biggest baddie to be fought. He is on a mad hunt to capture the stones, wear them on his Infinity Gauntlet, and cause annihilation but not without making some sacrifices along the way. A lot about Thanos is still shrouded in mystery that we will learn in the untitled Avengers 4, due 2019.
Furthermore, I commend the screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, who were tremendous in their effort to mould the story and characters together on script. MCU is a complex web and to brainstorm and execute how the actors would take each other on in scenes and how characters would be fighting the same battle but in different realms is no easy feat.
I was kept on the edge of my seat and several times felt like throwing my water bottle at the screen out of sheer adrenaline rush. This movie will do that to you. It will break you down even before the opening credits roll out, and there will be many moments in between where you will find yourself applauding and cheering. Try drawing a graph about this movie and you will end up with a sinusoidal curve. Be prepared to shed a few tears too for undoubtedly the most immersive Marvel movie to date.
Avengers: Infinity War is the comprehensive Marvel movie; it is the beginning of an end. It lifts you, it hits you, and leaves you with a cliffhanger extraordinaire. See it to believe it and it'll still be unbelievable.
One spoiler, though: the post-credit scene is marvellous.
Kazi Akib Bin Asad is a Sub-editor at SHOUT.