a review by the Azure-Winged Magpie (!)
(ft. the Crow!) AND the Crow!
First things first. Let me put this riiight here in big bold letters (in case you’re only like the two people who live under rocks and haven’t seen it yet):
SUPER-POWERED INFINITY WARNING:
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS
Also, let me drop in a: mild NSFW advisory! (some Magpie-chatter will pop up).
Oh yes. It took us a good, long while, but we’re FINALLY HERE!
Remember how we were all told how #ThanosDemandsYourSilence? Well, this time around… #ThanosDemandsOurReview.
And guess who’s here to help me out with our big fat review, today?!
You guessed it! Say hello, Crow!
The Crow: Hello, Crow. (Okay. He isn’t actually here, but let’s pretend he is. kthxbai)
Alright. This took us way too long to wrap up, so lets slip our feathers into our big gold gauntlets and get ready, because no matter how much we…
Hype it. Wait for it… Infinity War arrives all the same.
The Azure-Winged Magpie: Hello hello and chatter chatter! A-W Magpie here, and hoo boy, am I ever ready to SNAP! (Those of you who just want to read the reviews, just scroll past this section.)
For a quick recap on what’s happened so far, why don’t you lovely lot skim through the following links, first:
- The Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase One, on The Corvid Review
- The Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Two, on The Corvid Review
- The Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Three, on The Corvid Review
All done? Or don’t need a brush-up? Well. Good. I mean, it’s been MONTHS since this film came out, but things have been rough behind the scenes at The Corvid Review, so…
(◕︿◕✿) sorry it took us so long, folks…
I wish I had a sparkly green stone/gem/singularity I could use all by myself, sometimes. I’ll leave in a small explanation of what’s been happening at the end of this post, but I’ll post a proper explanation of what’s exactly been going on some other time, for those of you who’re curious.
But by the Great Holy Magpie… just look at how many films we’ve chewed through, starting all the way back from this:
…all the way up to here, what it’s all been building up to. Ten years, eighteen films, thousands of hours of work and billions of pounds of money going either way… some hitting the spot, some falling on their face like yours truly after murdering six bottles of good ol’ Cap Morgan (hic!)… and it all leads to this.
I don’t really know the original Infinity War comics (I know there were a few recent serials/crossovers pusblished in the last decade or something like that), but man was I pumped! I almost didn’t even care if the film turned out to be shit. The whole idea of ALL of these superheroes, heroes,
cops and lawyers (sorry, wrong film, but you’ll hear about them very, very soon) and baddies all in ONE film?! That’s just downright BONKERS, and I wanted… no I NEEDED to watch it.
Like in our Blade Runner 2049 review, we’re both going to be reviewing the film back-to-back. I’m going first, and the Crow’s going second. And at the end, I’ll play you lot out. I mean, it’s not like it’s hard to tell the difference between who’s saying what. He’s as fun as a wet sock. If you’re having fun reading, it’s me. But I’ll slightly grey out his text so its a little easier to tell.
Got all that? Took some notes? Good. ’cause it’s time we let destiny arrive.
Or, should I say…
let HIM arrive…
The Azure-Winged Magpie
Avengers: Infinity War
WARNING: THIS SECTION CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS
The Azure-Winged Magpie: Boom! BOOM! BOOM!
Last we left Thor and Korg and Loki and Miek and Heimdall and the big Green dude, they were jetting it out of what used to be Ass-berg…? No… Ass-guard?! OHRIGHT! ASGARD! …Off on a magical trip to Norway, where everyone could be happy as Larry and would LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER!
…lol. Like fuck they were.
“Hear [him] and rejoice! You have had the privilege of being saved by the Great Titan. You may think this is suffering. No… it is salvation. The universal scales tip toward balance because of your sacrifice. Smile… for even in death, you have become children of Thanos.”
— the Ebony Maw
Eugh. What a creepy little shit this scrawny fuck is… While he singsongs his way through the Asgardian ship, we get to see that… uh… pretty much everyone’s almost ded.
Enter: BIG DADDY THANOS (Josh Brolin, plus CGI, plus a big cardboard cut-out head). He already has the Power Stone, and he’s got Thor (Chris Hemsworth) “
the Strongest Avenger” by the scruff. He starts blowtorching Thor in the noggin until Loki (Tom Hiddleston, that handsome mischievous fox) gives up the Space Stone, which he’d been hiding in his pocket all this while. And he hands it over.
(◕︿◕✿) oh noes!
BUT! Like always! Loki’s got something up his sleeve! And what is it, this time…? Aww yeah! He gets to turn a big heavy table that’s been lying on top of him after SIX WHOLE YEARS!
“We have a Hulk.”
(ಠ ◡ ಠ✿) HULK SMASH!
And BLAM! Just like that, we got a fist-fight! We got a fist-fight! WE GOT A FIST-FIGHT! The Hulk starts full on fucking Daddy Thanos’ shit UP! And he beats him up and punches him and kicks him and SMASH(!) him. And that’s all folks!
Good film you lot. Go watch it. Go give it a few hundred bucks.
Thanos just straight up smokes the Hulk with his fancy martial arts and shit, WITHOUT even using the Power Stone (and that scares my Magpie brain). He straight up knocks the big green guy out. Here, let me show you how a poet described it. And I quote:
“[…] Dat boy Thanos Mayweather. Serving all the hands. Bruh ate hulk punches like light work and then retired his ass for the whole movie. Had that man hulk chilling inside Bruce like “maybe anger isn’t the way.” How you smack hulk ass so hard that he ain’t even wanna come out no more, and Thanos didn’t even have to be around, that man hulk was shook. Ain’t want no more hands from anyone after that beating, said avengers assemble my ass y’all ain’t see what that nigga did to me? […]”
…yeah. So Heimdall (Idris Elba) swoops the Hulk away to Earth by (somehow) summoning the Bifrost. He deds (sob), Loki deds (sob), ship gets blowed up, and the next thing you know…
And all Brucey does while the Hulk hides himself away into a little box, so that he can have a little cry, is tell them the only important thing: “Thanos is coming.”
I’m going to stop telling you lot the whole damn story, now, and just skip to the important bits. First off, because the film has SO many people in it, and there’s SO much going on, I’m going to break it up into three phases (haha! I’m so funny!). In each phase, we get a new set of team ups. They go (I’m going to skip actor names ’cause I like my fingers and want them to stay on, k?):
PHASE ONE: THE BLACK ORDER
- Iron Man, the Hulk, Doctor Strange, Wong, and Spider-man
- The GotG and Thor (they pick him up while trying to make some quick dough)
- Everyone else, pretty much
PHASE TWO: THE “QUEST” (couldn’t think of a better name)
- Iron Man, Doc Strange, Spider-man, Quill, Drax, and Mantis
- Thor, Rocket Racoon and Groot
- Thanos and Gamora (plus a special guest star). Nebula’s there, too for a bit
- Everyone else
PHASE THREE: THE FINAL BATTLES
It’s pretty much the same thing as before. Gamora… “disappears”, Nebula joins up with Iron Man’s team, and Thor and friends join “everyone else”. Thanos gets to meet both sides, too, so at least someone gets to say “hi” to everyone.
Thor’s story is all about him going off to find a new weapon to replace Mjolnir. And it’s nothing like Mjolnir, this new weapon. Instead of a hammer, it’s a giant battle-axe. The Thanos-killing kind of battle-axe. He’s pretty much out of the picture for most of the film along with his new friends “tree” and “rabbit”, and his little story arc is pretty neat. We also meet Eitri (Peter Dinklage) for the first time, and even though he looks… weird, he’s a pretty neat character who gets some pretty swell lines.
The film is a little all over the place. There are SO many locations that everyone keeps popping in and out of. There’s New York, random places in space (some which we’ve seen before), at least four planets that we end up going to, Wakanda, Scotland… you get the idea. But you never really feel lost at any point. The filmmakers point everything out as it comes along, and every location looks well different from all the others. When you’re in Scotland, you know you’re in Scotland. When you’re in Wakanda… well, Wakanda just looks different, period. There’s this one place that played a character in LOTR where we run into a familiar face, and… DAMN, there’s a lot going on in this picture.
But the point is, while Thanos is Magpie-damned unstoppable, he comes close to being beaten SO many times. There are times at which the film makes you think that everything is going to turn topsy-turvy and throw a curveball at you. But then something else happens and you go: “OH SHITCAKES! I WONDER WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT!”
And then Daddy Thanos just twats someone else.
The Black Order are pretty cool. But only two of them actually get characters. And one of them, the creepy Squidward looking fuck bites it pretty early on in the film.
Spider-man, while I love him to bits, starts getting a little annoying with his constant movie references before dropping a really good one when the Guardians meet “the Avengers, man.” Drax gets some REALLY fun moments, and Quill’s pretty alright until he totally “loses” (heh!) his cool late into the story. Mantis actually gets a few things to do, and she’s still one of my favourite side characters. Nebula’s story has moved into it’s second-to-last chapter, it seems, as well.
The sound is ON POINT, but the visuals are a little sketchy. The CGI looks unfinished (apart from Thanos, who looks downright AMAZING) in a lot of places, but I can allow it, since otherwise this thing might’ve taken a whole extra year to make. I feel a bit sad for all those thousands of names during the credits (outsourced jobs) who had to grind hours for this film. I’ll ignore the sketchy CGI because of it.
And it’s not even that bad. You can see what’s going on during the fights, and you know (most of the time) who’s where. The reality stone, whenever it pops up is SO random and so much fun. I don’t think Thanos actually wants rocks, paper, and bubbles. I think he just thinks something along the lines of “things that won’t hurt”. I would’ve liked to see that thing used a little more. I mean, heck. The guy barely uses the stones. And he doesn’t have two of them until the last few minutes of the story.
And that’s one of the things I really liked about Thanos. Bloke never hangs around. Except for when he wanted to take a walk with his little girl, Thanos Mayweather went straight from stone to stone, kicking names and taking ass.
(◔◡◔✿) sorry, not sorry…
Cap was barely in this one, and that’s not too much of a problem, since he’s dealing with like a brazillion number of people. But he gets to kick some ass near the end, which is nice. He also gets a really cool intro. Iron Man got a LOT of screen time, and this is probably him at his best. I’m not so sure about the new suit, since I think it kind of makes him look a little like one of those Classic VW vans.
Doctor Strange, on the other hand… how strong is this character, exactly? He’s one of the few characters who goes one-on-one with Daddy Thanos, and he does one of the best jobs. The guy is a full on savage in this film. He even out quips both Iron Man and Star Lord at varying points. And he did all this on an empty stomach, after taking a random trip to an alien planet which ended in a crash landing. Oh, and also, he had to take the time to go through 14 MILLION AND 605 possible futures. And he didn’t even get a tuna melt…
The final war in Wakanda was your usual sorta “faceless baddies” swarming around heroes thing. It happened in Assemble, it happened in Ultron, and it happens here. This is why I think everyone here on The Corvid Review likes Civil War so much. It threatens extra baddies, and then throws the frying pan (runny egg and all) right in your damn face.
The fight on Titan is my chosen fist-fight of the film. Thanos is Titan-damn scary, and the heroes have a plan that works out so well… until he drops a moon on them. That’s got so many one-on-one scenarios that you can see what everyone’s doing, even when Strange and the Stones are throwing fireworks everywhere.
The final battle has TWO amazing moments, though. One which made the audience lose their bleeding minds, and one which just shut everyone up. The first one was Thor’s entrance. It’s amazing. I just wish it was set to Immigrant Song. And the second one was when Daddy Thanos shows up for the Mind Stone. Every one in the theatre fell dead silent.
And that’s where the Thor finally gets his chance at revenge for all his friends dying at the beginning of the film. Armed with his Thanos-killing battle-axe, he breaks through the “storm” Thanos unleashes on him, and…
That was me up there. I was Groot.
I might have been spared in the Great Snappening, but I felt the hopelessness… What a way to close out the original trilogy. I don’t think I can write any more. I think I need to go have a bit of a cry…
Avengers: Infinity War
WARNING: THIS SECTION CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS
The Crow: Avengers: Infinity War picks up right as Thor: Ragnarok ends — with the Asgardian refugees under the shadow of Thanos’ warship, fresh off its conquest of Xandar (the planet Ronan the Accuser led his campaign against in Guardians of the Galaxy).
Enter the Ebony Maw (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor): walking over the corpses of multiple fallen refugees, announcing the pure joy that is an end at the hands of Thanos. And at the end of his path stands the Mad Titan (Josh Brolin) himself, with Thor “the Strongest Avenger” at his feet.
And immediately, his threat is established. Within the first seconds of the movie, he’s already squashed Thor, and would even kill him, if not for one little thing: the Tesseract. Already in possession of the Power Stone, he demands that Loki turn over the Space Stone — or else.
And so, we have our plot. Thanos, and his “children” (with the exception of Supergiant, who goes unmentioned) — the Maw, Cull Obsidian (Terry Notary), Proxima Midnight (Carrie Coon), and my distant cousin Corvus Glaive (Michael James Shaw) — are in pursuit of all the Infinity Stones.
And standing in their way are the combined forces of the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and some other friends.
The Azure-Winged Magpie should have (as she is wont to do) already summarised most of the movie for you, so I’ll skip the synopsis and move straight into my thoughts on Infinity War.
The Infinity Stones revealed so far, in order of their first physical appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, are:
- The Space Stone (Blue; Captain America: The First Avenger)
- The Mind Stone (Yellow, disguised as Blue in The Avengers / Avengers Assemble & Avengers: Age of Ultron)
- The Reality Stone (Red; Thor: The Dark World)
- The Power Stone (Purple; Guardians of the Galaxy)
- The Time Stone (Green; Doctor Strange)
And as afocionados would know, there is one more to go: the Soul Stone (Orange). But it hasn’t been revealed yet. Of course, we knew it was to be revealed in this movie, or its immediate sequel.
Thankfully, we weren’t going to have to wait until next year. The Stone is revealed in this movie, and a lot sooner than I imagined it would be in Infinity War. Its introduction, while part of an excellent sequence, felt a little off-kilter to me. It felt a little rushed, as a matter of fact, and that is one of my few problems with Infinity War: some parts are paced in different fashion to other parts of the movie. But this issue doesn’t break the overall synchronisation of the end product by too much of a degree.
To quickly cap off my thoughts regarding the Soul Stone before I move on: there is a certain emotional weight to its revelation, it didn’t affect me by much. While all the right beats and sentiments are there, the shadow of the larger picture playing out in the background and the short length of the ‘revelation sequence’ don’t serve to drive the emotional jackhammer as deep as it should have gone.
And does that detract from the emotional undercurrent of the movie — even though it is one of the emotional cornerstones of the movie? I posit: not as much as it would have it was any other movie.
Infinity War features almost every major character, and supporting character featured in the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), and the Wasp (Evangeline Lily) are some of the big names who have gone missing, but Infinity War is stocked to the gills with “featured” characters. With the sheer number of characters featured, it’s a miracle they ever managed to make any of the emotional beats in the movie work.
The action set-pieces are marvellous (pun entirely intended), and leave little to be desired. The cuts are crisp, and not much is left to the imagination as we fly and weave and sprint through the action. This is solid action directing on display, here.
As I’ve been saying, from before the movie even came out: the fact that Marvel Studios even managed to pull Infinity War off is an achievement in as of itself. A movie of this scale would have been laughed off if it had been proposed before The Avengers / Avengers Assemble was released (which, for its time, was a remarkable product on its own, albeit nowhere close to Infinity War). A lot has to be said about the sheer audacity, and the immense amount of co-ordination that must have been spent in bringing this long-heralded story to the big screen. The Russo Brothers, and their team — the multiple people behind the scenes who’s names I will always recommend audiences wait for once a good (or an exceptionally bad) movie is over and done with, have done an exemplary job of bringing all these characters together.
Of course, characters are weighted in very different measurements compared to one another. The very first of our Avengers — Tony Stark — shares just as much time on screen as some recent additions to the universe in Doctor Strange and Spider-man. On the other hand, another old face — Steve Rogers / Captain America — shares just as much time on screen as Black Panther, who debuted along with Spider-man in Civil War. And the latter duo have very little screen time. Thor is seperated from the bulk of the action for the most part, off on a journey of his own, and he receives considerable screen time as well. But his distance from the actual action disconnects him from the greater arc of the story; only to serve to his credit upon his heroic return to the scene of the final battle.
Most of the characters play off each other nicely, even though most of them never meet. Smaller supporting characters such as Bucky / The Winter Soldier, Wong, and Okoye all receive some screen time, but never detract from the major events of the movie. But the true star of the show remains Thanos, the Mad Titan. His character arc is interesting, and left a touch vague during his few scenes of exposition, which serves to let people online argue endlessly about the validity of his master plan. I ask those of you who like such arguments two simple questions:
- Just based off what Thanos does say, one could make a counter argument that his proposed solution is incorrect, but considering we only heard snippets of his argument (and to be fair, the Titan had better places to be), could you stop and consider that he might have considered the possiblity that he might have an answer to your argument that he has spent time mulling over? He certainly doesn’t sound a stupid alien.
- Just as an example, do you accept Wakanda can exist in the way it is portrayed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? If not, then your concerns about the validity of Thanos’ master plan are moot. Are they not?
In the end, it’s fiction. Run with it. This isn’t a masterclass in economics or Malthusian theory. I like poking holes in movies that portray realistic scenarios inaccurately, or claim that they are being accurate. I don’t believe a production that revolves around a man who can turn a woman — temporarily — into a work of origami, sans internal organs qualifies for such a discussion.
But it gets people talking, and works of entertainment should strive to achieve that. Well played, Marvel. Well played. At least we were spared a storyline involving the whole plot being centred around a suitor of his daughters’ of whom Odin did not approve.
Thanos is almost magnetic — stealing the show with sheer authority. I appreciate the work that went into recreating Josh Brolin’s facial expressions onto the CGI model. The CGI is in places shaky, but never when it involves Thanos. His voice is just the right mix of menace and business-like.
The Black Order were dealt a lesser hand, but served their roles well. And on the topic of the visuals: while the overall art direction is crisp and manages to never be garish, my preferred format was the 2D IMAX version. The 3D work was honestly quite poor. The scene involving Thanos and Gamora atop the mountain in search of the Soul Stone stuck out like a sore thumb. Gamora’s face was blending in with the winds. This does not happen in the 2D version, and I was let down that such a popular format — while not my own cup of tea — presented the scene in such a shoddy way.
The sound design is excellent, and the soundtrack continues to entertain, but it’s in the little details that it really shines: the sounds of the Iron Spider’s prosthetic legs clinking across the crumbled surface of Titan whilst trying to keep Mantis safe, the sounds the Cloak of Levitation makes as it struggles with the Mad Titan himself… those little details were a delight, to me.
The movie is enjoyable, but — as I mentioned earlier — it has some slight issues with pacing. Some of the wider shots in Wakanda could have done with a few seconds shaved off them, as could some of the early battle scenes. There’s nothing bad about them, but just a harsher edit might have balanced this movie’s mix of action and breathing space by a considerable margin.
Enjoyable, varied, and the culmination of over a decade of hard work and dedication, Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War is not just a movie. It’s a cinematic event. It was well worth the watch, even for those who aren’t fans of the franchise. I dare say one could walk in and have a decent time, even if they had no prior experience of the characters and what has happened so far. A basic overview of the characters can be found simply by looking at them, or from general knowledge. The only caveat is, though, that one would have to employ a keener ear to the dialogue.
Avengers: Infinity War comes highly recommended by this Crow. It’s an experience that certainly warrants sharing, and the praise it has received.
The Azure-Winged Magpie: Hey, you lot! How’re things?! We finally did it. This one was so hard to review! But like you can tell, we both loved it! We’ve been having a lot of issues co-ordinating, these days, but we’re trying our best to come up to speed with things. Now that this one’s out of the way, expect a lot more to come your way shortly. We’re trying to hunt one of our authors down before we can finalise our second round of short stories. The minute we hear back from him, we’ll start putting a few of those up again.
But yeah, Avengers: Infinity War is AMAZING. If you haven’t watched it, go watch it now! Watch it twice! Three times! Knock yourself out so you forget about it and watch it again!
We’ll see you lot soon. Take care. Love you lot loads! Cap (Morgan)’s already calling me. It’s almost 4 in the afternoon. Time for me to leg it!
(Oh, and I left a little suprise for you lot right at the bottom of the page. See if you can find it…)
THE AZURE-WINGED MAGPIE: 8.5/10
THE CROW: 7.5/10
- Logan, by the Crow
The official poster for the movie follows:
Next Time On The Corvid Review