Hey. I wasn’t going to do this, but then I saw something on Twitter that changed my mind. I want to go into some details on the major scenes and events from Avengers: Infinity War, without worrying about spoilers. So be aware that there will be spoilers in this blog.
So, I was on Twitter and I saw a review of Avengers: Infinity War posted from the New Yorker. The article was written by Richard Brody, and the whole thing felt like he either did not understand the film or that he fell into the category of those pretentious critics or movie folks who look down upon comic book movies.
You know, like James Cameron, who wished that the movie going public would get “Avengers Fatigue” and stop going to these types of film. What an arrogant asshole comment that was. To wish someone else’s franchise failure because… what reasons could there be except for his own pitiful selfishness on how Black Panther has surpassed his own films domestically.
But this is not about Cameron (who should stay focused on his 4 sequels to Avatar…hypocrite), but about the New Yorker. The quote from the article that specifically attracted me to the review was this one:
Um… yeah, duh. That is the whole purpose. Mr. Brody looks down his nose at this style, which is exactly what Marvel Studios has been striving to do for ten years. We know these characters because we have seen them in their own films over the last ten years. He treats this as a negative.
Of course, in his attack, he completely ignores things like trilogies. Do we have to re-introduce Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi as Luke’s father? Doesn’t Luke’s quest to redeem Vader stem from behavior “defined by the template set for them in other movies.” What about Frodo Baggins’s effort to get the ring of power to Mount Doom? Isn’t that set up in a previous film? How are we supposed to understand it? Are we expected to watch these previous films?
Brody took this area and used it to air his own opinions on comic book movies. and how he dislikes the genre. He even takes a silly stance and says that the film…
“feels, inescapably, like an allusively emotional transcription of the current American political landscape. (Even the title suggests a comment on the current state of American foreign policy.)”
which is, of course, ridiculous, considering the film is based on a classic comic series that was written in 1991, decades before the current political landscape. With his lack of understanding, I can believe that these types of films do not appeal to him. I went quickly through his movie reviews at Rotten Tomatoes and, while I may have missed some, the only super hero movies that I could find was a rotten review of Spider-man: Homecoming and a fresh review of Wonder Woman. That was it. Again, this does not feel like the kind of guy the New Yorker should be turning to for their Infinity War review.
Of course, everyone has their right to an opinion and, because all film is subjective, opinions can vary drastically among individuals and that is okay. However, when it feels that someone enters the review with a preconceived notion, that is not fair to the film or the New Yorker’s readers whom may be swayed by it.
What Richard Brody fails to understand, despite mentioning it in the beginning of the article, is that the MCU is like a long form television/serialized story and this film is the season finale. We already know these characters. That is why they can pop up and act in ways that they have already established.
Honestly, Infinity War feels like a “event” comic. A series where a group of heroes show up to stop the villain over a course of several issues. Some of the heroes are more to the front while others are there but are on the back burner. That is exactly how this film is supposed to be like. Those complaining about some of the characters not getting as much of an arch as others, that is absolutely on purpose. Captain America, Black Panther (as well as most of Wakanda), Drax, Groot, Falcon, War Machine, Bucky, Black Widow are all there and get a moment to shine, but are not the focused characters. The characters with story arcs here are Thanos, Gamora, Iron Man, Dr. Strange, Star Lord, Thor, Bruce Banner and Spider-man. In next year’s Avengers 4, that may be different.
I have seen Avengers: Infinity War three times now and I have enjoyed it more each time that I saw it. The first night, I had so many expectations and thoughts in my head, I almost could not process what I saw. The second time I was able to focus in on the story and enjoy what I was watching. I was much more emotional the second and third time than I was the first time, where I was basically just shocked (I actually described myself as ‘scarred’ in my review).
One of the things that hit me more the second time was the death of Spider-man. First time I saw it, I was not as emotional because I was thinking more about the fact that I knew this (and the Black Panther death) would not stick. Clearly, a sequel to Homecoming and Black Panther are coming so these characters are not going to remain dead. That was a thought in my head on the first viewing so it colored the ending of the film. The second time, I was able to put that out of my head and just watch it as a story and I found myself heart broken by the powerful performance of Tom Holland as he begged Tony Stark that “I don’t want to go.” Spider-man is a 15/16 year old kid who hasn’t lived his life. His response is perfectly reasonable and crushes you, if you allow yourself to not be thinking that it is only temporary.
Another complaint I have seen is the reaction of Peter Quill to discovering that Thanos had to kill Gamora and how that caused the plan on Titan to fail. Spider-man, Iron Man, Mantis, Drax, Dr. Strange had nearly removed the gauntlet from Thanos’s hand and it was Quill’s freak out that broke Mantis’s grasp on the Mad Titan and allowed him to snap back to reality. Why would Quill react that way? Because that is who Peter Quill is. In Guardians Vol. 2, he reacted the same way when Ego told him that he had given his mother cancer. He immediately attacked Ego despite the group not wanting him to. Star Lord is a hothead and does not always think things through. Here, it cost them huge.
I did not understand at first why Dr. Strange gave Thanos the Time stone in exchange for Tony Stark’s life. It sure looked like this was Stark’s end as he had been stabbed by Thanos and was being prepped to be finished off. Then, Strange interjected, saving Stark’s life after, earlier in the film, specifically telling him that he would protect the Time stone first and, if it came down to saving Stark or the kid or protecting the stone, he would choose the stone. This contradiction confused me for a bit, but now it seemed clear that when Strange looked at the possible futures and saw only one in which they win, it had something to do with Stark, and Strange had to save him because of it. Or, I guess, the future depended on Thanos getting all six stones which meant that Strange had to let him get it. Even though Strange was one of the heroes who were reduced to dust, this will clearly be an important threadline through next year’s Avengers 4.
There have been questions about the Asgardians. People wonder where Valkyrie was at the beginning of the film. I believe that she is on a ship with half of the Asgardians that Thanos allowed to live. Thor does say later in the film that Thanos killed half his people. It makes sense that she (and maybe Korg) got some away while Thor and Loki stayed behind. As for Loki, ah Tom Hiddleston, we love you. It was a sad moment when the Trickster God played his final trick, but it absolutely set the tone for who Thanos was and just what kind of a threat he would be. Tom Hiddleston is a treasure and I want to thank him for the years of his brilliance as Loki. Once more…”SAY MY NAME”- LOKI!!!!
I also should say goodbye to Heimdall (Idris Elba) who died in those first five minutes. Gamora dies in a tremendously emotional scene (although I kind of think that maybe she has a way back- could her soul be inside the Soul Stone?). And Vision dies…TWICE! Both Cap and Iron Man, heavily speculated that one or both would die here, survived. It looks like the original cast of Avengers all made it through for one final run before some die or head off to the retirement home.
I loved how the Hulk suddenly is too scared to come out of Banner, no matter how much Banner tries to get him out. Hulk had been beaten badly by Thanos at the beginning of the movie and that was something that had never happened before. In Thor: Ragnarok, Hulk was acting more like a little kid and this fits exactly with this. How will Hulk learn that “the madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets?” I don’t know, but I enjoyed the performance from Mark Ruffalo here and look forward to the continuing saga of the Hulk, a storyline that continues throughout the different films he appears in (since they can not do a stand alone Hulk film).
The whole arc with Peter Dinklage as Eitri, the dwarf leader of Nidavellir was my least favorite part, but I did like it more the second time I saw it. I liked the idea of casting Dinklage as the giant dwarf, but I thought his CGI was the worst of the bunch. Some thought he was just too much like his Game of Thrones character, but since I do not watch Game of Thrones, that did not bother me at all. And the scenes did include the greatness that is the Thor-Rocket combo. The Thor and “Rabbit” pairing is absolute GOLD! I also thought it was great that teenage Groot spent almost the entire movie on that damn video game. How perfect.
I would like to see Drax get to be Drax “THE DESTROYER” again, but Dave Bautista has brought such a perfect comedic timing to the character that he is one of the funniest characters in the film and he has one-liners galore.
The appearance of the Red Skull was brilliant and very welcome. In the opening night showing, my crowd applauded his appearance. Sure, he may not be returning to the MCU in a regular capacity any time soon, but just the knowledge that he is there is awesome. I also appreciated the unexpected cameo from the Collector (Benecio del Toro) here. I hope he was able to escape from Knowhere with his life, but I am afraid that the film hinted that he was killed by Thanos off-screen. I still want the Collector/Grandmaster road film through space. Del Toro and Jeff Goldblum would be amazing.
I have rambled on here quite a bit and I could probably go one for a lot more, but I think you get the point. I loved Avengers: Infinity War and I have loved it even more each time I saw it. It is a difficult movie, one with a lot of emotional baggage, but it does a brilliant job moving the story toward next year’s Avengers 4. Plus, the tag at the end for Captain Marvel tells you that you cannot miss that film next March.
I for one cannot wait until the season premiere….