Never go to a superhero film and expect originality.
From Marvel to DC, superhero films are the fast food of cinema — overcooked and insanely supersized. This was why Black Panther was so epic. Outside of the Ryan Coogler directed film being the only superhero movie with an all-Black cast and a Black director, the movie was armed with a good script, tackled social issues and was culturally important. There is nothing culturally significant about Avengers: Infinity War. If the iconic superheroes of people’s youth weren’t in these films, the movie wouldn’t be as popular, as much of the film relies on nostalgia. All of that said, Avengers: Infinity War was more or less enjoyable, despite some serious missteps.
Directed by Anthony and Jo Russo, the movie is stuffed with more characters than I can remember: Iron Man, Hulk, Black Widow, Thor, Stephen Strange, Falcon and many, many more. With so many storylines, it’s a challenge to get invested or even care about one character. Nonetheless, the Avengers partner with the Guardians of the Galaxy to fight against the evil force of Thanos who is searching for five Infinity stones that will allow him to control the planet. Everything you would expect happens: fighting, explosions, tears and characters die who miraculously come back to life. It takes well over an hour for the Avengers: Infinity War to finally make it to Wakanda, which is where the movie finally kicks into high gear. All of our faves show up: Chadwick Boseman as T’Chilla, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Winston Duke as M’Baku and Letitia Wright as T’Challa’s sister Shuri.
The action and fighting scenes are spectacular, when it’s actual people fighting and not computer-animated graphics. But Avengers: Infinity War is a ludicrous two hours and forty minutes, Marvel’s longest running time to date. The movie would have been better with 30 minutes shaved off. Instead, the film wastes time with bland—though it is supposed to be funny—banter between characters and long monologues about a superhero’s life. This is the curse of superhero films, taking itself so seriously that by the time the credits roll, people are storming out of the theaters to use the restroom and get some fresh air. Two-act Broadway shows are shorter than Avengers: Infinity War and, reportedly, Avengers 4 will be even longer. Editing is an art form, Hollywood.
To be fair and honest, the audience I was in for the film appeared to love Avengers: Infinity War. When their favorite superheros popped up on screen, they clapped. When the fighting got particularly explosive, they cheered. When the movie finally ended, they simultaneously clapped and cheered. There is a fissure between critics and audiences, which I can admit. The movie is critic-proof. Avengers: Infinity War is superhero porn, strictly for the fans, while Black Panther was undeniably excellent, transcending the comic book fan base. That said, Avengers: Infinity War isn’t a terrible film—but it wasn’t great. The movie simply did its job for the audience, which makes it a win.