Avengers: Infinity War is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team the Avengers. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the sequel to The Avengers (2012) and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), and the 19th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo and written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, the film features an ensemble cast including Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldaña, Josh Brolin, and Chris Pratt. In the film, the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy attempt to prevent Thanos from collecting the six all-powerful Infinity Stones as part of his quest to kill half of all life in the universe.
The film was announced in October 2014 as Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1. The Russo brothers came on board to direct in April 2015, and a month later Markus and McFeely signed on to write the script for the film, which draws inspiration from Jim Starlin’s 1991 comic book The Infinity Gauntlet and Jonathan Hickman’s 2013 comic book Infinity. In 2016, Marvel shortened the title to Avengers: Infinity War. Filming began in January 2017 at Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Fayette County, Georgia, with a large cast consisting mostly of actors reprising their roles from previous MCU films, including Brolin as Thanos. The production lasted until July 2017, shooting back-to-back with a direct sequel, Avengers: Endgame (2019). Additional filming took place in Scotland, the Downtown Atlanta area, and New York City. With an estimated budget of $325–400 million, the film is one of the most expensive films ever made.
Avengers: Infinity War premiered at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on April 23, 2018, and was released in the United States on April 27, as part of Phase Three of the MCU. The film received praise for Brolin’s performance, visual effects, action sequences, dark tone and emotional weight. The film was the fourth film and the first superhero film to gross over $2 billion worldwide, breaking numerous box office records, and becoming the highest-grossing film of 2018 and the fourth-highest-grossing film of all time both worldwide and in the United States and Canada. It received a nomination for Best Visual Effects at the 91st Academy Awards, among numerous other accolades. A sequel, Avengers: Endgame, was released in April 2019.
In October 2014, Marvel announced a two-part sequel to Avengers: Age of Ultron, titled Avengers: Infinity War. Part 1 was scheduled to be released on May 4, 2018, with Part 2 scheduled for May 3, 2019. In April 2015, Marvel announced that Anthony and Joe Russo would direct both parts of Avengers: Infinity War, with back-to-back filming expected to begin in 2016. The next month, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely had signed on to write the screenplays for both parts of the film, which draws inspiration from Jim Starlin’s 1991 The Infinity Gauntlet comic and Jonathan Hickman’s 2013 Infinity comic. Anthony Russo added the film was inspired by 1990s heist films, with Thanos “on a smash-and-grab” to acquire all of the Infinity Stones. Producer Kevin Feige said the films were titled as two parts of a single film because of the shared elements between the films, but he felt they would be “two distinct” films, not one story split across two films. In May 2016, the Russos revealed that they would retitle the two films, to further remove this misconception. That July, Marvel revealed Part 1‘s title would be shortened to simply Avengers: Infinity War.
Principal photography began on January 23, 2017, under the working title Mary Lou, at Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Fayette County, Georgia, with Trent Opaloch as director of photography. Infinity War, along with Avengers: Endgame, were shot using ARRI Alexa IMAX 2D cameras, thus marking the first time that a Hollywood feature film was shot entirely with IMAX digital cameras. In early February, Marvel confirmed the involvement of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man, Chris Pratt as Peter Quill / Star-Lord, and Tom Holland as Peter Parker / Spider-Man in the film. Additional filming took place in Scotland beginning in February 2017. The filming occurred in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and the Scottish Highlands, with studio work taking place at Wardpark Studios in Cumbernauld. In late June 2017, filming occurred in Downtown Atlanta, as well as Atlanta’s Central Park in early July, before moving to Queens, New York in the middle of the month. Filming concluded on July 14, 2017. For the film’s final scene, where Thanos settles in a nipa hut, the filmmakers worked with Thailand-based studio Indochina Productions to acquire footage of the Banaue Rice Terraces at Ifugao, Philippines.
Later in July 2017, Joe Russo stated there were a couple of unfinished scenes for Infinity War that would be shot “in the next few months”. In early March 2018, Disney moved the release of Infinity War in the United States to April 27, 2018, to have it be released the same weekend as some of its international markets. Visual effects for the film were created by Industrial Light & Magic, Framestore, Method Studios, Weta Digital, DNEG, Cinesite, Digital Domain, Rise, Lola VFX, and Perception. With an estimated budget in the range of $325–400 million, it is one of the most expensive films ever made. Evans and Hemsworth both earned $15 million for the film.
- Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man:
The benefactor of the Avengers who is a self-described genius, billionaire, playboy, and philanthropist with electromechanical suits of armor of his own making. Co-director Joe Russo explained that Stark “senses this greater threat approaching, so he is doing everything in his power to keep the Earth safe”. Downey added that Stark has smaller goals than in previous films.
- Chris Hemsworth as Thor:
An Avenger and the king of Asgard, based on the Norse mythological deity of the same name. Joe Russo stated that Thor’s storyline picks up after the events of Thor: Ragnarok (2017), which finds him in a “very profound”, “very interesting place” with “real emotional motivation”. At the recommendation of Hemsworth, writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely consulted Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi and screenwriter Eric Pearson to help carry over the comedic and tragic elements of the re-toned Thor from that film. Joe Russo said that Thor has “the driving hero’s arc of the movie which stands in direct opposition to Thanos’ argument” and would have been the main protagonist of the film had Thor killed Thanos.
- Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner / Hulk:
An Avenger and genius scientist who, because of exposure to gamma radiation, typically transforms into a monster when enraged or agitated. Banner spends the film trying to reintegrate with the Avengers and “impress upon everybody how dangerous Thanos is”. Joe Russo felt the Hulk refusing to appear for much of the film was only partially because he was scared, but also because he realizes that “Banner only wants Hulk for fighting. I think he’s had enough of saving Banner’s ass”. Russo added that this was “really reflective of the journey from Ragnarok these two characters are constantly in conflict with each other over control”. Banner’s appearance in the film continues a story arc for the character that was established in Thor: Ragnarok and concludes in Avengers: Endgame, with the difference between Hulk and Banner “starting to blur a little bit”. Ruffalo described Hulk in Infinity War as having the mental capacity of a five-year-old.
- Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America:
The fugitive leader of the non-regulation faction of Avengers. A World War II veteran, he was enhanced to the peak of human physicality by an experimental serum and frozen in suspended animation before waking up in the modern world. Joe Russo said after the events of Captain America: Civil War (2016), Rogers struggles with the conflict between his responsibility to himself and his responsibility to others. The character embodies the “spirit” of the comic book identity Nomad in the film, and receives new vibranium gauntlets from Shuri to replace his old shield. An early draft of the film had Rogers first appearing at the end of the film to save Vision from Corvus Glaive in Wakanda. Markus and McFeely were called “insane” for waiting that long to introduce Rogers into the film and ultimately conceded it was “not satisfying” approach.
- Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow:
A highly trained spy, member of Rogers’ faction of Avengers, and former agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Johansson said that Romanoff’s situation following Captain America: Civil War has been “a dark time. I wouldn’t say that my character has been particularly hopeful, but I think she’s hardened even more than she probably was before.”
- Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange:
A former neurosurgeon who, after a car accident that led to a journey of healing, discovered the hidden world of magic and alternate dimensions and became a Master of the Mystic Arts. Markus and McFeely described Strange as ” up being the reasonable adult in the room” with the “widest perspective available”. Julian “JayFunk” Daniels once again assisted Cumberbatch with his finger-tutting movements.
- Don Cheadle as James “Rhodey” Rhodes / War Machine:
An officer in the U.S. Air Force and Avenger who operates the War Machine armor. Following his paralysis during the events of Civil War, Rhodes is given an apparatus by Stark to walk again, although he is reluctant to don his War Machine armor and rejoin the Avengers due to his injury. Cheadle believed that Rhodes is “negotiating this reunion and his rejoining this team”. He also explained that Rhodes’ relationship with Stark “deepened” from his accident, saying, “I think Tony feels somewhat responsible and culpable in a way. But again, he’s always had my back in a way that only he could really have”.
- Tom Holland as Peter Parker / Spider-Man:
A teenager, Avenger and Stark’s protégé who received spider-like abilities after being bitten by a radioactive spider. Downey helped coach Holland through his death scene, which was not as drawn out in the script.
- Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa / Black Panther:
The king of the African nation of Wakanda who gained his enhanced strength by ingesting the Heart-Shaped Herb. Boseman, along with the other actors from Black Panther (2018) portraying Wakandans, improvised their war chants on set ahead of the battle in Wakanda. Despite both Black Panther and Infinity War filming at the same time, the Russos were not aware of the chants, as they had not yet seen footage from Black Panther, and felt the moment was “incredibly cool”.
- Paul Bettany as Vision:
An android and Avenger created using the artificial intelligence J.A.R.V.I.S., Ultron, and the Mind Stone. Anthony Russo called Vision “a living MacGuffin”; his life being in direct conflict with Thanos’ quest, which “raises the stakes”.
- Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff: A member of Rogers’ faction of Avengers who can harness magic and engage in hypnosis and telekinesis.
- Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson / Falcon: A member of Rogers’ faction of Avengers and former pararescueman trained by the military in aerial combat using a specially designed wing pack.
- Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier:
An enhanced soldier and Rogers’ ally and best friend who reemerged as a brainwashed assassin after being thought to have been killed in action during World War II. Barnes, formerly known as the Winter Soldier, is given the name White Wolf by the people of Wakanda, who helped remove his Hydra programming.
- Tom Hiddleston as Loki:
Thor’s adopted brother, based on the Norse mythological deity of the same name. Hiddleston knew about Loki’s death in Infinity War prior to production of Thor: Ragnarok after meeting the Russos in May 2016, with his death being the first scene of the film that the Russos had conceptualized. Hiddleston’s knowledge of Loki’s fate in Infinity War influenced his portrayal in Ragnarok. On Loki’s final moments, Hiddleston believed it was “very powerful” that Loki calls himself “Odinson”, as it was a moment that “closes the whole journey of Loki”, while his death “takes the stakes up dramatically”, establishing the threat of Thanos.
- Idris Elba as Heimdall: The all-seeing, all-hearing Asgardian and former sentry of the Bifröst Bridge, based on the Norse mythological deity of the same name.
- Peter Dinklage as Eitri: King of the Dwarves of Nidavellir, and weaponsmith, based on the Norse mythological dwarf of the same name.
- Benedict Wong as Wong: A Master of the Mystic Arts, tasked with protecting some of Kamar-Taj’s most valuable relics and books.
- Pom Klementieff as Mantis: A member of the Guardians with empathic powers.
- Karen Gillan as Nebula: An adopted daughter of Thanos who was raised with Gamora as siblings.
- Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer:
A member of the Guardians and warrior in search of vengeance against Thanos for killing his family. At the end of each day of filming, Bautista would have to sit in a sauna to remove his makeup.
- Zoe Saldaña as Gamora: A member of the Guardians who is an orphan from an alien world and was subsequently raised by Thanos, and is seeking redemption for her past crimes. Ariana Greenblatt portrays a young Gamora.
- Vin Diesel as Groot:
A member of the Guardians who is a tree-like humanoid. Executive producer James Gunn explained that Groot is still an adolescent in the film, in the same state of growth seen in one of the post-credit scenes in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017). Terry Notary provided motion capture for Groot, and said the character is “coming of age, so you’ll see the teenager find a mentor to look up to and to model himself after”.
- Bradley Cooper as Rocket:
A member of the Guardians who is a genetically-engineered raccoon-based bounty hunter, mercenary, and master of weapons and battle tactics. Sean Gunn was again the stand-in for Rocket during filming, with his acting and expressions serving as motion reference for the character.
- Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts:
Stark’s fiancée and the CEO of Stark Industries. Downey felt that “Pepper remains the heart of the [Iron Man] story”, which was not a focal point in some of the preceding films with Stark. Downey continued that “we wanted to get back to that reality. Not just for them, but let’s really see how that can add to the something-worth-fighting-for of it all”.
- Benicio del Toro as Taneleer Tivan / The Collector: One of the Elders of the Universe who is an obsessive keeper of the largest collection of interstellar fauna, relics, and species of all manner in the galaxy.
- Josh Brolin as Thanos:
An intergalactic warlord from Titan who seeks all six Infinity Stones to destroy half of all life for the sake of “re-balanc the universe”. Producer Kevin Feige added that Thanos believes the universe is becoming over-populated, which led to the destruction of his home moon Titan and is something he vowed not to let happen again, and also said “you could almost go so far as to say he is the main character of” the film. McFeely shared this sentiment, describing the film as his “hero journey” in addition to being the film’s protagonist, stating, “Part of that is the things that [mean] the most to him. We wanted to show that. It wasn’t just power; it wasn’t just an ideal; it was people”. Brolin likened Thanos to “the Quasimodo of this time” and the novel Perfume, since Thanos was born deformed and considered a “freak” on Titan, while Joe Russo would reference The Godfather (1972) for Brolin at times, which Brolin felt helped “to emotionalize the whole thing”. Brolin further added that he preferred playing Thanos over Cable in Deadpool 2 (2018) because of the amount of work that went into creating the character. Thanos does not wear armor for most of the film, which is symbolic of his growing power as he collects the Infinity Stones. In addition to voicing for the character, Brolin performed motion capture on set.
- Chris Pratt as Peter Quill / Star-Lord:
The half-human, half-Celestial leader of the Guardians who was abducted from Earth as a child and raised by a group of alien thieves and smugglers called the Ravagers. Pratt described his role in the film as a “guest star” appearance and said “you get to be a little more vibrant; a little more irreverent; a little bit more colorful if you want it to be”.
April 27, 2018
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