Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Avengers: Infinity War is a blast.
For better or worse, it's a blast. Part exhilarating, part lugubrious, it's an ordeal.
Much of the first half is a delight, in which strong performers deliver banter that is quick and clever. The actors humanize their characters.
The cast adds substance to the film. Chris Hemsworth, Josh Brolin, Zoe Saldana, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Pratt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chadwick Boseman, et al. make up a remarkable cast for an action film. The film is a platform for a great diversity of characters and actors.
Dialogue matters. Screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely know that. But for most of the film's last hour, dialogue is absent. Certainly wit has left the universe. It's a startling departure.
Directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo forget the value of dialogue about halfway through. Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), who gave the film its early giddy voice, is a mere bystander eventually. His brash cynicism is gone. So is his character.
In its latter half, the film slips into the bane of action films. Unremitting violent chaos overwhelms the humanity of the film. It was a humanity that the actors strived to create. It becomes shattered and no longer relevant.
Avengers: Infinity War becomes special effects on Viagra. [They should have saved some for Hulk.] The special effects stop being special. They become commonplace.
Avengers: Infinity War is a 2 1/2 hour erection. Then poof.
Fortunately, Avengers: Infinity War regains its humanity at the end. The powerful conclusion restores the humanity. It has a palpable sense of loss.
One wonders - and perhaps fears - that the sequel out next year will undo all that happens at the end of the first. I wouldn't put anything past the CGI wizards.
Stan Lee makes his patented cameo as a bus driver of a school bus. Let's hope the characters aren't all thrown under the bus.