image credit to marvel
It’s time to talk about Infinity War a whole month (or two) after it’s come out. At this point, I’m sure that everyone that wants to see it has seen it already so I can talk about this with as many spoiler bombs as I want! Spoilers if you’re one of the people that haven’t seen this film yet!
I have seen this film twice. Both times in the cinema, first in 3D and second at work. I think I had waited a whole week to see it, because I’ve heard that it was emotionally draining for Marvel fans and I wasn’t up for that kinda thing at time. And boy, was it draining!
It’s been a while since I’ve actually been involved in anything surrounding Marvel, specifically the MCU. After Civil War, life and film school hit and I became quieter about by affinity towards superhero movies. Then I found my tribe and forged a lifelong friendship with a fellow Sebastian Stan stan (she knows who she is), and started to venture back into that world. Spider-Man: Homecoming was very special to me as Tom Holland is very special to me, Ragnarok came and rocked my socks off, and Black Panther was the most fun I had in a cinema in a long while. It was like 2017 was some kind of Marvel renaissance; you started to see that Feige and whoever else is in charge that fucking with the formula will make them even more money.
Then came Infinity War.
As I mentioned earlier, I had seen this film for the first time in 3D. I don’t usually opt to see things in 3D or IMAX, because I wear glasses and I feel like a bit of a dunce putting another pair on top of the glasses I’m already wearing. My best friend, bless her, managed to convince me to get tickets from work to see it in 3D and after a few minutes of manic rushing around Leicester Square, we were in our chairs, doubled up on glasses, and trembling from excitement (at least I was, she had already seen it before).
Infinity War opens with an Asgardian distress signal and kills two of Thor’s core gang in the first five minutes. Loki is dead-dead, y’all. And I guess they couldn’t afford Idris Elba anymore. This new Taika Waititi version of Thor was met with Russo Brother CGI children of Thanos and basically gets his ass kicked. We meet the rest of the Avengers through a series of Infinity Stone hunts.
What was most impressive about this film, other than juggling the massive number of superhero personalities, is the balance in tone. The Russos are really good at this. The signature quippy Avengers humour was still there, but there were so many different genre nods, emotionally rich (for a Marvel film, anyway) moments, philosophical and moral debate courtesy of Mr. Big Purple Nutsack Chin (again, enough for a blockbuster, anyway), and big ass fight scenes. I think the success of the film’s tonal range and cohesion comes with how much the Russos trust the actors to improvise. It’s little moments that accumulate into an overall atmosphere for the film.
Like a Bond film, superhero movies are only as good as their villain. What I liked about Thanos was that, despite his literal being an extraterrestrial Titan dude, there was something human about him. Something that transcended humanity, or rather humanity’s tendency to believe they’re at the center of the universe. Although his plan was a little too Republican to my taste, and he could’ve used the Infinity Gauntlet to do multiply the resources to match the population, I liked how they managed to establish his motivations in such a short amount of time, especially matching up with how much we know about the heroes over the last 17 films. Thanos gets post-credit cameos and mentions across other films, but you truly get to know him in Infinity War, for as much as he allows. A huge feat for the screenwriters, that, and a great addition to the Summer of Brolin. (I have two posts queued up about two other films Josh Brolin is in this past year.)
Back to the range of this film, at times if felt like we were watching a really sick Thor/Guardians crossover, peppered in (no pun intended) with some Smart Boiz Club (Tony, Bruce, Strange, Peter) here and there, and a better looking version of Civil War minus Ant-Man and Hawkeye. (Beard!Cap is a LOOK, h2gkmo, and blonde!Black Widow almost made me forgive Scarlett for Ghost in the Shell. Almost. HA SIKE as if I’d ever do that. I do forgive her for snatching up Colin Jost from the rest of us mere mortals.) I would watch a feature-length special of just Thor, Rocket, and Groot actually getting shit done in the universe. The roadtrip movie we all truly deserve.
Tony gave me a goddamn scare. When he got stabbed, I thought it was truly over, but then I remembered there’s a sequel and that’s when RDJ’s contract is going to be up. That tore me up more than the iconic ‘I don’t feel so good, Mr. Stark’ moment. The Snap, as we will now refer to it, otherwise known as the mass genocide of half of the universe’s population courtesy of daughter-killing Space Trump (poor Thanos, I shouldn’t really compare him to a bigot that can’t get anything done), left the remainder of our heroes in the same boat as the audience. As Rhodey aptly put it: ‘What the hell is happening?’ It was the first time I’ve experienced a piece of fiction that left the characters just as in the dark as the audience. What I enjoyed the most about this was that for the first time, despite knowing everything is going to be okay because we’ve got cast members still signed to multiple film deals, we’re left with heroes that lost. Being on the other end of defeat is something we rarely see in mainstream box office blockbusters. Now, after cathartic memes of people dissolving and infinity stone geology jokes, I’ve gotten a lot more understanding of where the sequel could be headed. The ‘dead’ could all be in the Soul Stone and Gamora is going to come back somehow to kick her dad’s ass, and Spider-Man is going to graduate high school, and Cap and Tony are ready to turn to dust themselves (Contracts, am I right, ladies?). Closing out the film with simple, serif-font titles and the dissolving of Nick Fury and Maria Hill to introduce Captain Marvel, the Russos wag their all-powerful fingers at you once again: Marvel has rules, but we can do whatever the fuck we want with them.
There were a few other things that ticked me off, like Vision and Wanda. Whilst inter species heterosexual relationships are very much marketable, but there was something about their relationship that took me out of the film both times I was watching it. Maybe it was her reluctance to give him up for the greater good of the universe, ultimately ending in both their demise, or perhaps it was how much even after three-ish films, I still couldn’t feel for them as characters, which is not to discredit Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany’s performances at all, it’s more that they appeared to be the weaker personalities compared to everyone else’s gravitas despite having the most power out of all of the Avengers.
The press tour to this film was something else. After the incident with Mark Ruffalo Instagram Live-ing the first ten minutes of Thor: Ragnarok at its premiere, the marketing gang at Marvel have really taken to this clumsy actor narrative. They gave Tom Holland more shit to intentionally leak, and kept him in the dark about actual important stuff. Classic. Family Feud between the Avengers was also a fun one. And we love a good late night chat show where you can’t fit all of them onto the same couch. #ThanosDemandsYourSilence was a nice touch.
At a superficial level, to put it in layman’s terms: Bucky was dumb thicc, Cap can kick me in the face any time he want, I wish Peter and Shuri met before the Snap, best of luck to Tom Hiddleston, I wanted more Wakanda, and did Pepper make it? Also, Thanos is really out there somewhere in what looks like a Southeast Asian rice field watching the sunset. Bring on A4, Russos, there’s nothing you can do to hurt us now.