The nineteenth film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios has been marketing Avengers: Infinity War as the culmination of 10 years worth of movie storytelling, so we can expect that it’s jam-packed with talking points. Fiefo has already published his non-spoiler review of the film here and while I pretty much agree with his assessment, I do think that there are aspects of Avengers: Infinity War that would be liked and disliked that can’t really be discussed without revealing spoilers. So this isn’t like a certain Forbes.com article that was released a few hours before Avengers: Infinity War came out, which seemed to be for the sake of releasing spoilers (article has since been taken down but a quick Google search will show the footprints that it left on the Internet).
I don’t think I need to do any further introductions – Avengers: Infinity War is the biggest MCU film to date and people want to talk about it, including me! So if you don’t want any spoilers, you may want to click here instead for Fiefo’s non-spoiler review.
Final warning – Avengers: Infinity War spoilers from here on out!
- Before Avengers: Infinity War, Marvel had done a good enough job of ensuring that their films can be enjoyed even with little knowledge of the movies that came before it. I don’t think the same can be said about Infinity War, especially given how it continues almost immediately where Thor: Ragnarok ended. I’ve been telling people to watch at least Thor: Ragnarok, Captain America: Civil War, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, and Spider-Man: Homecoming before even thinking of seeing Avengers: Infinity War – a good portion of the emotional pay-off that you get from this film relies on knowing what happened in the films that I listed.
- Speaking of introductions, wasn’t starting out with Thor already beaten up and almost all of the Asgardians dead a little jarring? It was a shock and awe beginning, that’s for sure. Thor mentions later that Thanos killed half of his people – what happened, exactly? Did Valkyrie and Korg (not shown on-screen) manage to evacuate a few Asgardians out? Does this mark the end of the Asgardians and in turn, the end of Thor’s franchise? Maybe the Russos did this with the exact purpose to get us to ask these questions, aside from immediately establishing the tone of this film.
- During interviews for Thor: Ragnarok, Mark Ruffalo had mentioned an arc for the Hulk character that would start in that film and be continued in these two Avengers films. And I love this direction that they’re taking the character – from viewing the Hulk as a curse, Bruce Banner is now seeking the Hulk out. Will this arc end with the Banner and Hulk personas acknowledging that they both need each other, finally merging into one persona (Smart Hulk)?
- I also thought that doing Thanos’ assault on Xandar offscreen was genius. Now Marvel can use that to start off a film about Nova if they want to, or simply leave it be if they don’t. At least the option to do a Nova film is on the table, without actually committing themselves to doing it.
- Thanos was such an amazing antagonist. His motivations are clear and logical, even if you can’t agree to them. And he’s not just a super-powered opponent – for most of the film, he was one or two steps ahead of the superheroes! He got to Knowhere first and already had plans in place to get Gamora to reveal the location of the Soul Stone. His forces moved just before the Avengers could prepare their defenses in time – Stark didn’t even get the chance to sync up with Steve Rogers! Some fan theories have even indicated that Thanos waited until this moment to act himself, once the Ancient One, Ego, and Odin had already fallen (beings powerful enough to oppose Thanos). And the order in which he went after the Infinity Stones was also quite logical. Thanos is probably in my top 3 comic book villains now.
- But it’s not just that Thanos was powerful; the heroes lost this war because they had flaws or made mistakes. Doctor Strange arrogantly decided to keep the Time Stone instead of running off, getting himself captured and taken to Titan. Iron Man decided to attack Thanos instead of reuniting with the Avengers, thinking that they would be enough to pull off a victory. Star-Lord couldn’t keep his emotions in check long enough for his plan to work. And the Avengers couldn’t sacrifice Vision even at the cost of the lives of half the universe.
- Back to Thanos – I love how his powers were depicted and how he used them – Space for teleporting and telekinesis, Power for energy blasts, Reality to change his surroundings to what he needed them to be, and so on. Even the energies followed the “color coding” of the Infinity Stones, making it clear which stone/power he was utilizing at all times. And I love how Marvel built a “weakness” in to at least level out the playing field by requiring him to clench his fist every time he used one of the Infinity Stones. Sometimes, little details like these really pay-off.
- Avengers: Infinity War is primarily a Thanos film, but it also served as a sequel to several different MCU films. We saw Cap mend his relationships with Vision and War Machine (formerly on Team Iron Man), we saw the attraction between Wanda and the Vision develop into an actual romantic relationship, we saw Groot as an adolescent, Thor continued to experience losses… We even saw where the Red Skull went after all these years (a connection that I didn’t make even after two viewings, but was pointed out to me by my friends). Sure, there was very little character development aside from Thanos but given the size of the cast, I think we can understand why.
- Another thought on character development – while the members of the Black Order had none or very little, the Russos still managed to make each and every one memorable. Sure, their names weren’t clearly mentioned but they were all stood out enough that I had to look them up! Of the four, my favorites are Ebony Maw and Proxima Midnight, but they were all memorable. Other studios could learn a thing or two about how to properly depict henchmen from Marvel Studios.
- When Fiefo mentioned “reveals” that “came out of nowhere”, the only thing that came to mind is the location of the Soul Stone. I had written two articles about this very topic (here and here), and given that the other five Infinity Stones were properly set up in previous MCU films, I had thought that the Soul Stone would have a similar treatment. But no, the T.H.A.N.O.S. theory is just fans (including myself) seeing “clues” wherein there were none, and the Soul Stone was actually in a place that was never mentioned before, and neither was Gamora’s “secret” mission. Still, I’ll accept this because the Russos were able to weave this into Gamora’s and Thanos’ storyline (plus this gave us our Red Skull moment).
- This does bear mentioning – Marvel Studios sure knows how to use trailers to misdirect! First, they kept Spider-Man out of the airport battle scenes in the Civil War trailers. Then, they kept Thor losing his eye a secret in the Thor: Ragnarok trailers. Now? Not only did Marvel fool us into thinking that Bruce Banner would still be able to turn into the Hulk thanks to him being included in the Infinity War trailers, but Marvel also hid which stones Thanos had in his possession throughout the trailers (the only ones I saw were the Power and Space stones). Kudos, Marvel Studios!
- Did anyone walk into this film thinking that it’s going to have a happy ending? That’s like not knowing that the Titanic is going to sink or that the Spartans were going to survive 300. I don’t know, maybe I’m expecting the Infinity Gauntlet storyline to be more well-known than it actually is. Alright, I’ll admit – some part of me considered the thought that maybe Thanos would win, but that there would be enough screentime left to give the heroes a chance to reverse the outcome and change it into a happy ending. Okay, I’ll give the audiences that. But now that we know the ending, isn’t Infinity War more awesome because it had ended at such a low note? Aren’t you even more eager to see Avengers 4 because of how Infinity War ended?
- I loved Avengers: Infinity War but it did not crack my personal top 3 MCU films (Winter Soldier, Avengers 1, and Civil War), particularly because the main plot was pretty straightforward and didn’t have the depth that I wanted. But I see Avengers: Infinity War as a disaster movie like The Day After Tomorrow and 2012 – you have a group of characters trying to prevent or survive a disaster. And those types of films have a low ceiling, so I think that this is the best that the Russos could do with this type of plot. Avengers: Infinity War is still very enjoyable and one of the better MCU films in my eyes.
And there you have it, almost everything about Avengers: Infinity War that I wanted to discuss. Was it worth the ten year investment? Definitely!
Have you seen Avengers: Infinity War? What did you think about it? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment or two below!