After what seems like an eternity, Avengers: Infinity War is finally up on the big screen. The fan reaction so far has been largely positive and the movie just broke the record for the all-time highest-grossing opening weekend in film history. This impressive feat started with it becoming one of the few movies to make $200 million in its opening weekend and making the most money on a Thursday night release of any Marvel Cinematic Universe movie.
Having seen the movie and our favorite heroes pitted against the Children of Thanos and the Mad Titan himself, we can now compose a definitive list of whom the best fighters are among all the so-called Infinity Warriors. To that end, we have chosen thirty characters from Avengers: Infinity War to rate.
It should be noted that there will be SPOILERS AHEAD for those who have not seen Avengers: Infinity War.
It should also be noted that this list is based on a variety of factors, including combat training, strategic ability, raw power, any impressive feats the character accomplished, and their ability to utilize all their advantages in a fight.
We also limited this to characters who we see in at least one extended fight scene, which sadly disqualified M’Baku’s small role since we don’t really see him in action.
The first seven minutes of Doctor Strange, Marvel’s first cinematic foray into its magical universe full of sorcerers, relics, and dark dimensions, are a punch in the mouth. It’s a fight scene; Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) and his goons are taking on the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), and to get the upper hand, they begin folding the buildings around them like origami.
It’s vaguely reminiscent of that scene from Inception, you think to yourself. But you don’t know half of what’s about to hit you.
The buildings gnarl and twist like segments of a Rubik’s Cube. Balconies become conveyor belts. An adjacent edifice buckles over and starts spinning, threatening to smash down on various characters like a maniacal rolling pin. Gravity flips and shifts with each camera angle as the goons look like inebriated hamsters on a wheel. The basic physics concepts you’re used to no longer work in the way you’ve been taught. It’s like watching reality tear itself apart.
By the time you catch your breath, a realization dawns: That opening sequence is the most stunning seven minutes of footage Marvel has ever created. And Doctor Strange is, without a doubt, the best Marvel movie in history when it comes to looks — a movie whose ambition and creativity is matched by its execution. If there is justice in the world, Doctor Strange will win an Oscar for its visual effects.
But even though the film is Marvel’s crowning aesthetic triumph, even though all four of its stars — Swinton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Rachel McAdams — have their game faces on and act their hearts out, even though it’s got great humor and spirit, Doctor Strange isn’t close to being Marvel’s best movie.
Here’s why that’s okay, and why you should definitely see it anyway.
It feels like mere days ago that I was sat in the cinema watching the absolute chaos and climax that was Avengers: Endgame. Although we are twenty plus movies deep in to the Marvel Cinematic Universe at this point, it really felt like the most impossible job in the world of film this year was going to be how to follow up that decade in the making extravaganza. Obviously, who do you call when the stakes are so incredibly high? Everybody’s favourite friendly neighbourhood superhero!
Picking up in the universe eight months after Bruce Banner reversed Thanos’s snap, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and his fellow Vanished classmates are in the process of restarting the school year that they missed. Excited to embark on a European class trip to Venice, Paris, London and more, and eager to spark his romance with MJ (Zendaya), Peter finds his perfect plans interrupted by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who enlists him to help fight a huge elemental fire monster threat alongside new superhero recruit Quentin Beck aka Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal). But is Mysterio the real hero everyone believes him to be?
In terms of a follow up to Endgame, Marvel have done the perfect thing in going from one distinctly dramatic and earth shattering tone to an altogether more light and fluffy one. What do you do what you know you can’t match something straight away? You go fro the exact opposite. One of the most enjoyable elements of this new Spider-Man iteration is that it feels very light and breezy in the context of the wider MCU. Our lead characters are all cute teenagers dealing with teenage things, and in all honesty the moments I enjoy the most both in this and in Homecoming are those moments when the film is more of a YA comedy drama than a superhero flick.
This version of Peter Parker is an enjoyable character to spend time with, and his various companions are all great too. Where the film doesn’t quite match up to the majority of recent Marvel releases is in its CGI. Compared to the last few releases in the franchise, the action and CG work in Far From Home feels incredibly weightless and, to be honest, unimpressive. I grant you that Spider-Man in action is probably one of the most difficult superhero characters to make feel authentic, but there were certainly action sequences in the film that felt of a much lower quality than Marvel have treated us to in the past.
As with “A Christmas Carol” and the Grinch, every generation gets its own version of “The Nutcracker,” it seems.
The latest incarnation of the E.T.A. Hoffmann story is Lasse Hallstrom and Joe Johnston’s “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” a hokey oddity that glissades along with a few charms and a pleasant score by James Newton Howard heavily incorporating themes from Tchaikovsky’s ballet (though there’s little dancing).
Children who are 10 and under may be enchanted by the abundantly whimsical holiday-themed visuals; accompanying adults might chuckle at the movie’s leaden attempt at a girl-empowering message. Anyone squeamish about rodents — even ones that have been rendered sort of cute by CGI — might consider steering clear.
On Christmas Eve in Victorian-era London, Clara (Mackenzie Foy), a budding inventor, receives a special, egg-shaped box left for her by her recently deceased mother. With it is a note that reads in part: “Everything you need is inside.” But lo! The key to unlock the egg is nowhere to be found, and thus her journey to discover what lies inside it (and, of course, herself) unfolds.
A movie like “Thunder Force,” on the other hand, would like to skewer the genre, but it’s basically a whiffleball action comedy studded with middle-drawer Melissa McCarthy gags. The movie teams McCarthy and Octavia Spencer as estranged high-school pals who get back together after a reunion and turn themselves into a superhero team called Thunder Force. Lydia (McCarthy) has super-strength; Emily (Spencer) can turn invisible. Both are devoted to fighting Miscreants, mutant sociopaths who came into being when a pulse of interstellar rays struck the earth in 1983. The two get their superpowers after being injected with a genetic formula pioneered by Emily’s corporation. Inside, though, they remain their deeply ordinary selves, which is part of the joke, though it isn’t much of a joke.
They’ve got armored suits that make them look like members of a medieval S.W.A.T. team. They’ve got a name — Thunder Force! — that sounds just ridiculous enough to have been the title of a Howard Stern “Fartman” movie. They’ve got a purple Lamborghini, which it takes them a minute to stuff themselves into (or wedge themselves out of).
And when they meet the Crab (Jason Bateman), a Miscreant with crustacean pincers for arms, who for some reason is holding up a convenience store, Lydia looks into his eyes and it’s love at first crab pinch. There’s a fantasy sequence in which the two dance to Glenn Frey’s “You Belong to the City,” which is amusing, though I kept thinking that if this had been an “Airplane!”-style spoof, that dance number, with Bateman’s crab/human Lothario in a powder-blue tux, would have grown progressively more absurd, getting loopier and loopier, until it detonated the audience with laughter.
How much of a loser-slob is McCarthy’s Lydia? She’s a lonely alcoholic forklift operator who’s also a metalhead, the kind of person who sits in her kitchen in a VAN HALEN KICKS ASS T-shirt, taking bites of cereal with spoiled milk, which she then remedies by pouring in a beer (“Know what? Gonna thin that out”). She wears an Army jacket and has no friends, though she does have a funny moment when she shows up at the security desk in the office building that houses Emily’s genetics corporation, asking to see her ex-friend (“Estranged, I think, puts a stink on it that it might not warrant…”).