Title: Avengers: Infinity War
Release Date: April 27, 2018
Director: Anthony and Joe Russo
Production Company: Marvel Studios
Avengers 3 or Marvel Cinematic Universe XIX is the big crossover spectacular you’d expect. It brings together both factions of the Avengers with Doctor Strange, The Guardians of the Galaxy, and all of Wakanda (including Bucky, now known as The White Wolf) to attempt to prevent Thanos from acquiring all of the Infinity Stones and destroying half of all the life in the universe.
With 21 main protagonists plus villains and minor characters, it’s impressive that filmmakers are able to streamline their overlapping storylines and give everyone adequate screentime (although this is not a movie you can watch with no previous knowledge of the MCU). I particularly like how people from different groups are matched up to work together, such as Thor with Rocket and Groot, and Doctor Strange with Iron Man and Spider-Man (and latter those three work with the remaining Guardians and Nebula). I feel there were moments in the movie where typically the camera would hold a shot for a heroic beat, but instead there’s a quick cut to another storyline, as if the editors are just trying to fit in everything possible. And that’s okay, because it keeps the movie from feeling bloated.
The movie does a good job of showing a more tender side of Thanos, albeit I’m still unconvinced that he’s capable of love. I also question if he’s really thought his plan through (see spoilerly thoughts below). I’ve not seen Doctor Strange before, but I immediately loved him when he called Tony Stark a douchebag. The character most poorly served in this movie is Vision, who I thought had terrific character development in Civil War, but seems to be reduced to a bland plot device here. I love that they cast Peter Dinklage as a giant. Thor, Spider-Man, and Groot steal every scene they’re in. Despite the grim subject matter this movie is very funny. Except for the ending which is appropriately solemn.
Avengers: Infinity War is not a great movie, but it is a great action adventure blockbuster, which is all we can ask of it.
Some spoilerly thoughts and questions:
- It’s convenient that the superheroes that survive Thanos’ plot are the same ones from the first Avengers movie. Presumably, Hawkeye also survives and will rejoin them. I suppose that will make that sequel a bit more focused, though.
- Too bad Doctor Strange doesn’t survive since he choses to be vague about what he saw in the possible futures. May have been better if he’d said nothing at all.
- It’s kind of a cheap move that Thanos survives because first Peter Quill takes the bait and ruins the plan to take the gauntlet, and then Thor waits until it’s too late to use his Thanos’ killing ax. Those kind of tricks don’t make for good storytelling.
- Does Thanos really eradicate half of all the living things in the universe? Half of all the ducks, half of all the trees, half of all the paramecium? Or is it just half of all the bipedal, sentient humanoids? The latter would make more sense because destroying half the food sources and disrupting ecosystems would be contrary to Thanos’ belief that he’s doing a mercy to stop starvation. But where is the line drawn between species that are halved and those that are left untouched?
- If the eradication is truly randomized, there’s a 50% chance that Thanos himself would be disintegrated. For a moment, I thought that was actually going to happen, and Thanos, his mission accomplished, would be content to see himself disappearing. I think that would’ve been an amazing twist and would’ve set up the next movie to be less “Let’s fight Thanos for 2.5 hours” and more “OMG, Thanos is gone, how are we going to reverse this?”
- Red Skull’s appearance seems kind of … random … but hey, when your squeezing in almost every character in the MCU, why hand out a bit part to an unknown?
- If the heroes lost in Infinity War are brought back by Stark sacrificing himself, I’m good with that.
- Are Natasha and Bruce going to be able to rekindle their romance?