A buzz covered theaters the world over as fans prepared to take in a film that was 10 years in the making. After multiple films discussing, finding, and hiding infinity stones we finally learn how they can be used and what power they have together. The Avengers must once again band together to fight a battle bigger than any of them could have imagined. The power of this film comes from a decade of emotional investment in characters and story that is unprecedented. Although you didn’t need to see every Marvel film to relate to this action-packed and surprisingly emotional film, it helps to have cheered for each Avenger over the years.
We quickly learn that when combined the Infinity Stones will destroy half of all life. Thanos (Josh Brolin) believes that resources are limited in the universe and this destruction will guarantee there never is a shortage. Thanos joins the anti-hero class of Marvel villains, a bad guy with good intentions. Though, the film does not leave much room for the audience to generate any sympathy for Thanos and his quest as he and his followers destroy and kill remorselessly in search of the stones.
Although, the Avengers are the true heroes of the piece, the story follows Thanos’ journey closely, so we end up leaving and returning to various parts of the Avengers’ story lines with characters spread across multiple locations. The success of the film was pinned to how well all the events unfolded. The order in which the Infinity Stones were collected created an impactful story, with each affecting the last. The Power Stone helps Thanos fight for the Space Stone (inside the Tesseract) against Thor (Chris Hemsworth), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Loki (Tom Hiddleston); killing Loki and most of Asgard in the process. With this he can now move through space effortlessly to go to Knowhere to collect the Reality Stone from the Collector. Eventually, collecting the Soul Stone in trade for his daughter, and Guardian, Gamora’s (Zoe Saldana) life. After the dark sequence a mournful Thanos fights Time Stone away from Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). He then need them all to collect the last, the Mind Stone.
Because of the layering of the story, by the time we see Wanda/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) destroy the Mind Stone with her powers to stop Thanos, he can simply rewind time and prevent her from doing so, remove the stone from Vision (Paul Bettany) and now he has them all. It took most of the film for Wanda to work up the strength to destroy the stone (and Vision), but in a moment, all is lost. SNAP.
With a brilliant move, there is a fleeting moment where we think it didn’t work, but it did. That glimmer of hope becomes, a montage sequence of character after character falling apart and blowing into the wind. It creates a more emotional end as we can do nothing but wait to see who is left standing.
The only difficulty this film faces is the sense of time. Though, by far one of the best Marvel films to date, it is hard to determine how long any of this has taken. It feels as though this all takes place in the length of a day or two. With so much story taking place in so many locations, it is hard to tell how everyone could move so quickly. Though there is a great tension throughout, the film could have used some markers for pacing.
Overall, this film proves Marvel continued mastery of story and character to deliver a shocking conclusion with everyone leaving the theater asking, “Where do we go from here?”