So, I’ve spoken repeatedly to this point of the importance of movie makers as well as artists, business persons and us regular old folks on telling a good story above all else. If done so, just about every other aspect of the presentation can be forgiven. That is to say, low budget graphics or cgi, limited locations or the occasional leaving us all hanging to wonder what the hell just happened at the end of a show. If the story is good, it’ll leave us clamoring for more and that’s really the true goal. In that regard, “Avengers: Infinity War” has massively succeeded.
As a light recap, Thanos, the mad Titan, is fed up with sending his minions to collect the 6 infinity stones and embarks on a furious mission to obtain them himself. In the process he wreaks havoc and puts our heroes to the ultimate test to make sacrifices that will have catastrophic consequences on the entire universe. It’s vague I know, but I refuse to drop one single spoiler on a film we’ve all been anticipating for the better part of a decade. So, I’ll stay conceptual as to not give away details… Well maybe I’ll give a few hints here and there. We’ll see.
I’d like to start with the elephant in the room when it comes to our recent surge of superhero movies… The role of the villain. I posted the other day that this movie is heavily dependent on a good villain, especially one on the magnitude of a Thanos or Darkseid (Thanos’ DC counterpart). This was the most critical thing that I personally wanted to see and which the franchise desperately needed. So, how did Disney and Marvel do in this endeavor? They nailed it superbly. Was Thanos the best villain ever? Probably not, but he was very compelling to the point that I teared up at a couple of scenes he was in. And you know what… I almost agreed with what and why he was doing what he was doing. Even the heroes got a little stomped at the thought of his logic. Don’t misunderstand me. There was nothing right about his actions and it was clear he was nuts, nuts, nuts. The thing is, as many tyrants do, he completely believed in what he was doing, something that was brought on by personal experience. As the story moves along and you get a little exposition on Thanos’ backstory, you understand exactly why he’s after the stones and why he needs to achieve his goal. He’s even hurt by the lack of understanding on the part of our heroes as to his purpose. He’s deeply emotional and conflicted also about the sacrifices he has to make which really made me almost want to give him a hug. In a nutshell, this really should’ve been titled “Thanos, Thanos Superstar: A True Tragic Story”.
I think what I dig too was that a couple of Thanos’ flunkies proved to be compelling also as they were determined to serve Thanos and his goals no matter what. The bad part about this is that there may have been too little of them in the film. These guys were tough enough to give the Avengers the absolute Flux. Kudos to Marvel for presenting a great lineup of villains beyond Killmonger.
The Avengers find themselves in a pickle with Thanos and his henchmen due to their depth of purpose and determination. This is perhaps the greatest catalyst in driving character development for our heroes in this film. It had been two years since the fallout between team Cap and team Stark. It’s made evident that these guys weren’t even on speaking terms, something Bruce Banner is shocked to find out due to his apparent team abandonment at the end of “Age of Ultron”. He returns to a house divided only to be immediately aided by Dr. Strange who himself is unaware that it is Thanos that he is ultimately protecting the time stone from. This is the biggest dilemma for the group, but they’re divided and totally closed minded about it. At one point during battle, Banner asks Stark to call Captain America but Stark can’t bring himself to do it. By the time the dust settles the group becomes even more divided which sets Thanos’ plan perfectly in motion. This works well for the story in that the self-centeredness of the Avenger crew that takes place in “Civil War” leaves them fully unprepared for the latest invasion. The only solidarity comes in the form of Wakanda who’s largely united under their new king. This division and uncertainty pushes our heroes to new limits and is exactly what’s needed for a compelling story.
I think the bad parts are not so much bad as they were frustrating. I mean, really I can’t say too much without spoiling it, but I can say that the end made me slap the side of my head with frustration and that was after I stared at the screen in jaw dropping disbelief. It was a “what the hell” moment. But that’s not really a bad thing, just more frustrating.
There were certainly several of our heroes missing and the explanations given were lame when it came to saving the world I think. Other than that, there were other heroes missing like the X-men… No Wolverine! But let’s be honest, it’s really Wolverine playing Hugh Jackman at this point and Hugh wasn’t in it… Bummer. But the X-men have a real world excuse known as copyright infringement. I accept that problem. But seriously, I’m thankful for Spiderman but really would’ve liked to have seen the full line up that’s available to Disney.
I guess my last complaint is to do with time. Even for what they were trying to do with this movie there was still more time that could’ve been given to character participation. I know audience attention spans can wane pretty quickly once we reach the two hour mark, but even for this two and a half hour plus movie, folks were still very engaged and expressive even at till end. There was certainly the possibility of extending the cut but the producers played it safe I think.
Who This is For
As we know, there are always deviations from a storyline for movies such as this, but “Avengers: Infinity War” does very well in giving us the meat of the real story. It includes depth that I believe comic book fans will really appreciate. I can sit here and judge in my own head who else should be able to enjoy this film but I think the audience spoke for itself when I attended the Friday showing at 7pm. There was a huge mix of people in attendance and reactions from everyone there. From cheers to boos, there was no shortage of emotion from the audience. I think one indicator was a whole row of teenagers who were 90 percent made up of girls who reacted the loudest each time we were hit with a surprise high or low. Another indicator was the reaction of all the geeks when their jaws dropped at the end of the movie. If they were going all in to get as many people onboard as they could to come out and view this film, then Disney may have succeeded beyond their expectations. It’s a deeper superhero movie with just enough comedy, exposition and heart wrenching drama to satisfy even the finickiest of folks and yet safe enough to bring the kids for a viewing without traumatizing them for life. Good job Marvel and keep up the good work in the next phase.
***Scale of 1-10: 9.5
|Produced by||Kevin Feige|
|Screenplay by||Christopher Markus|
|Based on||The Avengers
|Music by||Alan Silvestri|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Studios|
|Running time||149 minutes|
|Box office||$630 million|