Mission Lab

REVIEW: ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ has tons of fun, with a few curveballs and caveats

April 27th, 2018 / By: Michael Foust / comments

REVIEW: ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ has tons of fun, with a few curveballs and caveats

Every villain has a plan, but Thanos – the armored, ogre-like monster in the Marvel universe – has one for the ages.

His goal: search the cosmos for the six mysterious Infinity Stones, which are said to give their possessor god-like powers when brought together as one. His ultimate goal: eliminate half the universe’s population because – he says – there just aren’t enough resources to support all of us. If half of us don’t die, then all of us will die, presumably from starvation.

Don’t worry though; it will be painless. And it’s for a good cause.

On second thought, maybe Thanos isn’t as altruistic as we thought. At least we have the Avengers to save the day. Right?

Sadly, though, the Avengers have split up, and Thanos subsequently whipped the few superheroes that were left, including Thor, Iron Man, Spider-Man and Dr. Strange.

Thanos is destined to rule the universe. Unless, of course, the Avengers can get the band back together, and perhaps draft the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Black Panther, too.

Avengers: Infinity War (PG-13) opens this weekend, bringing together the various strands of the Marvel universe in what is one of the most anticipated movies in recent history. Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is in it. The Avengers are in it. Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) is in it. The jovial Guardians of the Galaxy made the cut, too.

It’s the 19th Marvel movie and, I think, one of the most entertaining. I was skeptical that Marvel could weave this many elements into a coherent plot, but they did a pretty good job – although it took them two hours and 40 minutes to do so. A jaw-dropping ending helped make up for the length.  

Further, I was worried that the low-brow humor found in the Guardians films would pollute Infinity War. Thankfully, the writers left most of those types of jokes out.

It’s funny and fun, but this doesn’t mean that it’s kid-friendly. Let’s examine the details.

Warning: minor/moderate spoilers ahead!

(Scale key: Minimal, moderate, extreme)

 Violence/Disturbing

Extreme. It’s mostly bloodless, but the body count is quite high and the body blows from punches even higher. We see a space battle and bodies all over the ground. Three characters in the film are tortured; it’s intense but mostly bloodless. A man is stabbed with a spear and dies. Another character is stabbed and dies. Thanos invades a city, and the citizens flee. We see a character who has had both hands chopped off (it’s bloodless). A character “sacrifices” another character in Abraham-and-Isaac-like fashion, but in this instance the character dies. Thousands of four-legged alien creatures attack the Black Panther’s homeland. A huge hand-to-hand combat battle ends the film, with plenty of punching and shooting.  

Sexuality/Sensuality

Minimal. On three separate occasions, we see couples kiss.

Coarse Language

Moderate. About 25 coarse words: s—t (5), OMG (5), a—(5), d—n (4), misuse of “God” (3), pi—ed (2) and ba—ard (1). Two instances of “sucks.”   

Other Positive Elements

The playboy Tony Stark and his long-time romantic interest announce their engagement.

The superheroes set aside their differences and past grievances to team up and fight Thanos.  

Additionally, the diversity on-screen is evident throughout the film, with several ethnicities represented among the superheroes.

Other Stuff You Might Want To Know

We’ve always known that superheroes have special powers, but Dr. Strange and his partner Wong conduct sorcery – something that may trouble families. One of the bad guys conducts sorcery, too.  

Life Lessons

The superheroes give us lessons on forgiveness, setting aside differences, and working as a team. One character gives us a great example of self-sacrifice. Thanos, though, provides the most obvious lesson with his insatiable hunger for power. It serves as a warning (see Worldview, below).   

Worldview

The danger of the lust for power and knowledge is seen throughout Scripture. Satan was an angel who wanted to be like God, and for his rebellion was cast from heaven. Adam had the perfect life but wanted more knowledge and was subsequently cast from the Garden. John told us that the “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” come not from God but from the world (1 John 2:16).

Infinity War gives us a character in Thanos who wants power at all costs – even if it means that those he loves must die in the process.

Incidentally, we are told that the six Infinity Stones – which stand for “power,” “space,” “time,” “mind,” “soul” and “reality” – were created by the universe following the Big Bang. The “universe depends” on their survival, Dr. Strange says. Jesus is briefly mentioned in the film – as part of a joke – but the God of the Bible is missing from Infinity War. In His place are gods and sorcerers and a hodgepodge worldview that is difficult to define.    

Sponsors

Among the film’s partners are Coca-Cola, Geico, Ziploc and Go Gurt.

What Works

The ending. It’s not as shocking as Darth Vader saying he’s Luke’s father, but it’s still surprising.

The humor stays mostly out of the gutter, which is good.

What Doesn’t

Yes, it’s a Marvel movie, but it was a little too long for me. By the end of the film I was ready to stand up and stretch.

Discussion Questions

  1. Do you think Thanos regretted his decision? What can we learn about the lust for power by studying him?
  2. Thanos wanted to eliminate half the population so the other half could survive. Why is that not ethical?
  3. Are you comfortable with sorcery in a movie? Why or why not?
  4. Did you like the ending? Why or why not?

Entertainment rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Family-friendly rating: 3 out of 5 stars.