Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Call me crazy, but I found the third “Avengers” movie to be something of a let down. Mind you, there are a number of elements that work really well: It’s nice that the Marvel formula is upended from the first scene, establishing a darker, less humorous tone that prevails throughout and immediately signals higher stakes for this particular entry. Additionally, it’s no surprise that the special effects are some of the best that money can buy, and the film is still blessed with a veritable cornucopia of megawatt superstar talent across the board (even if most of the humor and charm is eschewed thanks to the aforementioned darker tone, the charisma on screen throughout is undeniable). However, as the movie inches towards its inevitably supersized climax, it comes clear that there’s no real urgency or stakes at hand: This is a Marvel movie, and with the majority of its cast still in their career prime there’s no way the studio would jeopardize one of its biggest money-making endeavors, so the darker tone is nullified. So the finale arrives with a funereal shadow hanging over the narrative but no sense of foreboding or emotional resonance – it’s all just pantomiming that approximates emotional turmoil without having the courage of its convictions. So, ultimately, it’s not that the movie is bad, it’s that it’s fundamentally dishonest with its audience, which has the effect of pulling the viewer out of the experience.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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