Avengers: Infinity War is a movie Marvel has been building to since the first Ironman film was released in 2008. 10 years in the making.
The first Avengers is one of my favorite superhero movies of all time. I felt Avengers 2 was just a glorified Saturday morning cartoon episode, though I did enjoy it all the same. After a long laundry list of films, we’re finally here – the beginning of the end of the MCU as we know it. So how was it? It took me 3 viewings to truly appreciate what the Russos did here. After my first viewing, my first emotion was anger. Almost everything I wanted to see didn’t happen. So when they say something like “shatters all expectation”, they’re not kidding. Allow me to explain:
Why my first viewing was a disappointment
One could say that the Russo brothers did the best anyone could’ve done with so many characters. While it’s easy to agree on the surface, I’m inclined to disagree. Not to say they didn’t do a good job because they did. But you definitely feel the weight of the cast in this film. That in part has to do with their approach. I’m sure you’re all hearing the echo that is “This is Thanos’ movie”. That’s 100% true. Thanos is the main character, and that’s partly the problem. Hear me out.
For this to be Thanos’ movie, there was far too much going on in all four corners. There was not enough time given to each protagonist and consequently, it felt almost rushed in that respect. You can feel the Russos’ attempt at juggling the bucket loads of characters to tell the story around the villain.
The Black Order
I thought The Black Order was awesome…but incredibly underused. Some comic fans are even complaining about them being nerfed beyond acceptance. Of course, some superpowered characters need to have their abilities checked for the story’s sake, but I understand where fans are coming from. A lot of us nerds threw up an eyebrow when Black Widow put Corvus Glaive on his back. But when you really pay attention to how smart and collaborative Black Widow and Steve were with each other, it all makes sense.
Proxima Midnight (to whom I’m strangely attracted to) foolishly threw her spear at Steve Rogers, having it caught and taken away for the moment. Falcon comes out of nowhere and uses his speed and flight to kick her from the fighting ring long enough to deal with Corvus. Falcon distracts Corvus with missiles while Steve tosses Proxima’s spear to Widow as she slides under Corvus’ wild swings and stabs him in the gut with it. I’m here to tell you that his reaction was very much appropriate – which goes to my issue with the lack of development of the Black Order. The general audience has no idea who they really are or what their weapons can actually do. Yes, Corvus is going down from that and yes he’s not going to get right back up either.
The Avengers were victorious in this battle because they were underestimated by the Black Order, they worked together like a well-oiled machine, and used their own weapons against them. All this after Promixa and Corvus beat the crap out of Vision and Scarlet Witch. Nerfed…maybe a little. Underused and underdeveloped, absolutely.
This is a very personal gripe. Hugo Weaving’s Red Skull is one of my favorite MCU villains hands down. And we finally get to see where he’s been all this time. But that wasn’t Hugo. That was some other dude. That bummed me out big time. He served a purpose, the long question of “where the hell is my boy, Red Skull?! Is he dead?” has been answered, and it was a treat. But it wasn’t Hugh Weaving. So…GRRRR!
Okay, let me be fair and clear. I’m not a big Star-Lord fan. I find him to be unfunny, empty-headed and childish. Since the first Guardians of the Galaxy, he simply did not make me laugh. However, his story-arc is what saves his character. The love for his mother and the question of who his father was left us wanting more from the sequel. His father ends up being some psycho celestial who turn out to be the one who killed his mother. All of those emotional beats makes Star-Lord very necessary to the GOTG lore. Don’t even get me started on his relationship with Yondu and when he died in GOTG 2. I fought back tears. But in Infinity War, I found him to be irritating and counterproductive. Perhaps even a bit out of character.
Disappointed is an understatement. His fight with Thanos was fine. It showed us just how badass Thanos is as far as strength and prowess. But that would be the last we see of Hulk. Nevermind the misleading trailer showing the Hulk clearly charging with the other heroes in Wakanda – which ended up being a red herring. That just plain and simply pissed me off.
Another personal gripe for me is how hard Thanos had to fight in his first real outing. Hulk getting the upper hand on him for a second was fine and even expected. But Mantis being able to slow him down with her mind stuff, IronMan breaking the skin, Captain America holding back his hand, his overreliance on the gauntlet to overpower his enemies – yea call me picky but he just didn’t come off as badass as I hoped. This creature beat the Hulk in a head-to-head scrap. “Oh, but Thanos had the power stone so that’s why he was about to beat the Hulk!”- said a buddy of mine. You see, that’s my gripe. I really don’t think it was because of the Power stone that Thanos bested Hulk…but was it?! Who’s to say it wasn’t? If that was the case, I would’ve liked to see Thanos take off the glove and defeat the Hulk just to prove a point to the audience. Even with the glove, Thanos had to work for it when he fought the heroes, Hard!
The “Rapture” of Thanos
Ah yes. The infamous ending that got everyone worked up. That dreadful moment when Thanos has all the stones and snaps his fingers…after being taken to knee by Thor’s new weapon Stormbreaker (another Thanos gripe). That moment when half the universe ceases to exist! Oh please, gimme a break! When Bucky fell and turned into ashes, I was like “…oh shit”. Then this hero and that hero but when they got to Black Panther, I called Bullshit! From then on, it just got worse. Spiderman, Star-Lord, Doctor Strange, etc etc etc. There’s no F’n way these characters are just gone forever. So, I was not fooled and upset that I was not fooled – if that makes sense. I wanted to be shocked beyond belief. But I wasn’t. And the movie just topped and went to credit after showing Thanos sitting on his big purple ass watching the sunrise. And the credits were as somber as they get. Of course, we all left in silence. What the hell is there to say after that besides WTF.
Post Credit Scene
Then you have to sit through the entire credits to see their single after-credit scene. (No mid-credit scene this time) People in the theater were complaining the whole time. “Ugh these credits are too long Ugh” I was thinking “Um…all credits are long. Stop complaining and wait. Sheesh” When the scene finally plays, we see that Nick Fury and Marie Hill are among the unfortunate ones to disappear into nothing. As Fury gives us one last chuckle for saying “MotherF..” as he vanishes, you can see that he attempted to reach out to some person, displaying nothing but a symbol that only us comic nerds would understand, the Captain Marvel symbol. Most people in my theater had no idea what the hell that was. All I heard were moans and groans. I didn’t feel that heavily about it but…it was pretty weak. I could imagine how I’d feel if I didn’t know what that symbol represented.
As you can tell, I went into this movie with A LOT of baggage and expectations and walked out with a myriad of things I would’ve done differently as a writer and filmmaker. However, after my second viewing, I found myself liking the film a lot more.
So what changed your mind?
There was so much to process from my initial viewing of Avengers: Infinity War. I needed to sit down, think about it and see it again. Once I did, I ended up loving it. When I took the movie as it was meant to be, I found it engaging, emotional and actually downright brilliant.
Thanos had so many layers to him. His “love” for Gamora, his conviction, his reasoning behind his actions, his mannerisms, the sheer impact of his arrival and sacrifices therewith, Thanos is one of the best villains I’ve seen in any film. Once I truly accepted this movie as Thanos’ movie, it became far better than initially received.
The movie’s comedy was genuine and landed very well. The matchups were good and well thought out (Thor with the Guardians, Stark/Strange, classic stuff). The action was great but that was expected. Oh and did I mentioned how badass Thor is? I clapped when Thor got in on the battle at Wakanda showing us just how powerful he really is.
People refer to Infinity War as Marvel’s Empire Strikes Back. I can see why they say that because Thanos, for all intents and purposes, won! He came, he accomplished his mission, and went home to watch the sunrise on a grateful universe. Now what? Who the hell knows…
What would you have done differently?
I’ve always found myself in the minority for wanting a really powerful villain. If they’re going to be the biggest and the baddest, that’s how I want to perceive them. Not to say that I root for the antagonist. Good has to prevail in a superhero film otherwise what’s the point. But I can’t lie about my disappointment with the “nerfing” of Thanos. I would’ve put more of the fight in this film with The Black Order. While this could’ve still been Thanos’ movie, the Black Order should’ve been the ones to do most of the fighting while he collected the stones.
Second, I would’ve gone a different route with the army that attacked Wakanda. I believe they were called “Outsiders”? Yea didn’t like them much. Just some four-armed monster things running around. Thanos is said to have the largest armies in the universe. That ain’t showing here. To be on the mission of retrieving the last freaking infinity stone, I’d think Thanos would throw all he had at them. I’m sorry but I was way more impressed with the Chitauri than these things. Hell, I even would’ve gotten the militaries of the world involved somehow. It’s not like bullets and bombs don’t work on these invaders. Give me a damn war!
Third, I would literally copy and paste the battle on Titan and put that whole scene in Avengers 4. I would’ve had Thanos bull through this film collecting infinity stones virtually unscathed, letting his “children” do battle with the lesser beings. To have Thanos going into the next movie all but invincible and then having the Avengers come back and defeat him in a big pow-wow would’ve had far more impact on me. Now, he’s already scrapped his butt off, took some licks and almost died for crying out loud. Watching him tangle like that again in Avengers 4 might feel redundant to me. Like Star-Lord said: “You’re not so big and bad now, are you?” Yea, I was kind of thinking the same thing. Hell, after seeing Thanos in action, maybe Ronan the Accuser would’ve killed him in GOTG when he had to Power Stone after all. I was one of those nerds saying “Yea right, even with the stone, Thanos would’ve kicked his ass easy”. Not so sure about that now. But like I said earlier, I’m usually alone in that sentiment. And that’s fine.
Fourth, I wouldn’t have split up the heroes so much. I understand why the Russos did what they did and maybe it was the better choice. But I would’ve had most of them on screen and working together to stave off the Attack of The Black Order, with a better army of course, even with alien vehicles and aircraft! Anyway. Yes, I would’ve kept Thor and the Guardians where they were for most of the film because Space. But everyone else would’ve been together, bouncing off each other with witty dialogue, mashups, and collaborative development. Ant-man and Hawkeye would’ve definitely been there but I digress because we have no idea what the Russos plan to do with them later. So long as it fits whatever story they’re telling. There was just too much time spent on Stark, Strange and Spidey commandeering the alien ship and taking on Ebony Maw. Maw could’ve been the one leading the attack…or even Corvus Glaive.
Fifth and lastly, Captain Marvel would’ve made a brief appearance. Instead of a stupid symbol, we would’ve seen her in the flesh. Maybe deliver a line or not, doesn’t matter. But a physical appearance would’ve said volumes.
So with all your whining, how would you rate it?
Taking Avengers: Infinity War for how it’s given, I would give it a…drumroll please……
I only give these little pretentious ratings every now and then for a film just to give an idea of where I stand in my feelings about it. Everyone rates things with their own ideas in mind. But I find Avengers 3 to be an excellent and brilliant film. AND it’s breaking records as we speak, like The Force Awakens opening week, as reported by Rolling Stone.
That’s amazing and well deserved. Avengers: Infinity currently sits as my fourth favorite MCU film and I can’t wait to see what the hell Scott’s been up to when Ant-Man and the Wasp release on July 6th. Not the mention Captain Marvel, which releases on March 6th, 2019.
So enjoy that sunrise while you can, Thanos. Cause this ain’t over yet!
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