The Californian

Marvel’s ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ breaks new ground

Photo courtesy of digitalspy.

Photo courtesy of digitalspy.

Luca Dickten, Staff Writer

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The biggest Marvel film of the year, “Avengers: Infinity War,” finally breaks free from the classic superhero story formula and lives up to all the hype associated with its $300-$400 million budget, the second-highest in film history.

The main quipple with the most recent Marvel film, “Black Panther,” was its failure to in any way innovate the classic Marvel story formula.

It presented T’challa, a hero who came from great privilege and power, otherwise known as Iron Man, who had to fight an underprivileged madman, Killmonger, whose father was hurt by the hero’s father also otherwise known as Ivan Vanko from “Iron Man 2.”

In this fight T’Challa came close to the point of losing but then made an unlikely alliance to overcome great odds. What M’Baku and Agent Ross are to T’Challa parallels to what Roady and Pepper are to Iron Man.

While I would hesitate from dismissing “Black Panther” as a very simple “Iron Man: This Time With Minority Representation,” it does show that when it comes to the storytelling of Marvel’s greatest conflicts the studio does sometimes rinse and repeat.

Another issue I expected was failures by Marvel to capture the tone that would be required to tell the story of the MCU’s fight with Thanos correctly.

This is because of one specific line in “Captain America: Civil War” in an exchange between Hawkeye and Blackwidow. Right in the middle of the key fight scene Blackwidow uttered to Hawkeye the now infamous phrase, “We’re still friends, right?”

That not only killed any attempt at a serious tone for that scene as well as creating an uncomfortably harsh contrast to the then soon occuring Roady crippling scene.

I was more than pleasantly surprised when “Infinity War” not only avoided these tropes but found a way to comfortably adapt tone and include fresh story elements into the film without overdoing or oversaturating either.

What surprised me is how the constantly changing theme and tone strengthened the film.

Another problem I expected to have with the film was that the Avengers would stifle the humor and attitude of the Guardians or vice versa.

But the film manages to use solid writing and the constant theme and tonal shifts to keep the individuality of the characters without sacrificing the story.

In fact, the Russo brothers’ direction of the film cleverly avoid putting vastly different characters together by splitting the avengers and guardians into multiple groups that are overall very compatible that allow for interesting cuts and a dynamic storyline.

If fans consider the writing, lighting, and general tone of each separate scene, they realize that they are vastly different yet still comparable to other Marvel films.

If viewers watch closely they can see the aesthetic of Taika Waititi’s fantastic “Thor: Ragnarok”, James Gunn’s “Guardians of the Galaxy”, with touches of “Black Panther”, “Captain America: First Avenger”, and “Doctor Strange”.

Rather than feeling like a mishmash or being cluttered, the film still has a surprising sense of direction, progression, and continuity. This is helped by all of the actors who have portrayed key characters returning in their roles for “Infinity War.”

“Infinity War”manages to do all this while strengthening Thanos as an emotionally engaging villain who was previously only an abstract person to fans rather than a solid villain.

Overall, the film is a triumph for Marvel thematically and tonaly showing that there are still interesting things coming out of the oversaturated superhero movie market. I give it 4-½ out of 5 Grizzly paws.

 

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Marvel’s ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ breaks new ground