Enough time has passed to talk about the joys and pains experienced in this culminating destination that has now crossed the billion dollar mark. This will go over all the details of Avengers: Infinity War so go out and see it now before reading any further. You have been warned.
Thanos (Josh Brolin) is on the hunt for the infinity stones to combine with his golden gauntlet. With them, he can wipe out half the universe with a snap of his fingers. Why? For the sake of balance. It’s up to the Avengers to keep the stones away from him as long as they can even teaming up with new allies like the Guardians of the Galaxy and the mystic master, Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch).
Having only read a bit of the comic, it’s safe to assume that like Captain America: Civil War this isn’t going to be a faithful re-telling. Without the rights to Silver Surfer and Ghost Rider (guess Disney can’t own everything yet) Infinity Gauntlet is compromised to fit this universe. But that didn’t stop it from ripping every nerve, organ and breath of expectations from the very beginning. When the triumphant theme to the Marvel Studios logo is replaced with a foreboding, ominous choir there a sense that things aren’t going to be the same by the end.
For two and half hours, it never feels like half a story, except at the end when Thanos looks towards the sunset with that creepy, satisfied smile. But with so many characters to jump between, it’s warranted. There’s no filler like in The Hobbit or Twilight. Every scene has a point and since everyone has the same goal, it’s never distracting. Whether it’s Thor making the Storm-Breaker with giant Peter Dinklage or team Captain America guarding Vision in Wakanda, these different paths arrive at the same destination. And the audience was left confused on whether to applaud or come together and mourn the loss of Vision, Bucky, Falcon, Groot, Gamora, Loki, Spider-Man, Star-Lord, Drax, Mantis, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Scarlett Witch, Vision and Nick Fury. Particularly Peter Parker who’s only a kid in this team yet subtly brings Tony’s hug from Homecoming full circle by the time he turns to ash. It was a rare experience where every victorious cheer and humorous laugh was immediately followed by gasps of disbelief when Iron Man got stabbed or when Thanos uttered his infamous line of going for the head. But it’s never tone deaf in balancing familiar laughs with new territory drama for a three-dimensional journey through the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. We’ve gotten to know this group for 10 years and everything that could’ve gone wrong for them did go wrong in all the necessary ways. Even if comic-book nerds say otherwise for the future, is a stab to the heart after assuming Marvel wouldn’t have the gall to execute (pun intended) that ending. Now if only Star-Lord would’ve focused his rage on ripping off the gauntlet instead of mucking up everything in that last ditch effort. Though in his defense, he has experienced the most loss in this series which would’ve made this on e the straw that broke the camel’s back.
At the center of all this chaos is Thanos, the now definitive villain every future Marvel antagonist should take notes from. Though stripped of his motivation courting death, his willingness to sacrifice those closest to him to achieve his goal oddly shows his humane fragility. Behind the giant build, scary intimidation and a battle move straight out of Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, he can still yank your curiosity with all the tears he sheds. That doesn’t excuse his actions, but there’s always that uncertainty of where it will lead when balancing predictions between two complex sides of a coin.
Who could forget the effects? They spared no expense on Earth or in space. Thought Peter Dinklage was being type-casted too much? Well this throws that tradition out the window with motion-capture that elevates him above Chris Hemsworth. He and the other digital character. Once and a while the computers show their colors, but that’s a minor nitpick Some might say there’s too much digital and not enough practical elements, but the industry is still trying to crack how to film in real, oxygen-deprived space without endangering the cast or crew. It does aid all the action from the Hulk-buster to the children of Thanos when they strike. Who knew Squidward was an expert in acupuncture?
The biggest criticisms against this are the run time, characters that get overshadowed by others and the fact that you have to rely on seeing the other films to get the full experience. Here are some counter arguments to all those claims.
Overshadowed Characters and Running Time
It doesn’t matter who gets more screen time. What matters are the team-ups: Thor with Rocket and Groot, team Iron Man with Spider-Man and Doctor Strange and team Captain America with Black Panther. The Avengers has always been about mixing the most unlikely together and it always leads to big egos bouncing off each-other when trying to find neutral ground. Especially for Doctor Strange who’s unchanged arrogance in his debut film is leveled with Tony Stark’s persona. Even Thanos show’s Iron Man respect before countering all his attacks. With all these characters, there must be a three and a half hour cut somewhere with even more one-liners and action. Sure it can get exhausting keeping up with everyone, but with a juggling act this large it’s amazing that two and a half hours was enough time to develop everything without getting crushed by its own weight.
As for the previous films, have you ever watched a season finale of a show like Breaking Bad, The Flash or Game of Thrones without the context of previous episodes? Of course not. That’d be missing out on all the development. How about general film sequels. Do you watch Return of the King without seeing Fellowship or Two Towers? Or the second Rocky without the first? How about jumping straight into Toy Story 3? Bride of Frankenstein? Empire Strikes Back? Gremlins 2: The New Batch? No. It’s never a good idea to watch a saga in reverse no matter what media it is. The past 18 movies were both stand alones and sequels to each other hence the traditional after-credits scenes that serve as a window to what comes next. Each plays a key role in developing the characters even when some stories felt copied from others. So of course you need to watch the other films to get an idea of the stakes. There’s been more than enough time to catch up on them.
If superhero hero movies didn’t leave a mark this past decade, then this is the crater that echoes throughout that not even James Cameron can avoid. Avengers: Infinity War is the successive culmination of 10 years of build up with a hell of an emotional pay-off leaving behind laughs, and most of all mournful tears. The stakes are higher, the characters are entertaining when trying to reason with each-other, the action is on a galactic scale and the ending will bring you to your knees in sorrow. In fact it’s hard to look at Ant-Man and the Wasp the same way after this. If you haven’t already, go out and watch it now. And for those who haven’t seen the other movies, it’s a necessity before going into this. Otherwise, why are you here in the first place? Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go play some video games.