Sunday, April 29, 2018

Avengers: Infinity War review

Warning - This may contain mild spoilers for the Infinity War. I tried to keep them out but it's hard to talk about the movie without some of them.

    So, just saw Infinity War. So, was it any good? Yeah, I would say so. However, I'm also going to be one of thos reviewers who doesn't really burst with enthusiasm over Marvel's latest epics. I liked Thor: Ragnarok more than Infinity War but still haven't written my review of that. I think that's because I don't have anything to say other than "It's hilarious, Cate Blanchett is incredibly hot as a space Goth, and Taika Waititi should have gone to high school with me. We  would have been best friends."

    The premise for Infinity War is that it is the culmination of a multiple story arc leading to the arrival of Thanos in the Marvel Universe as well as the adaptation of the Infinity Gauntlet story. Here's the thing, I've never actually been that huge of a Thanos fan. I understand the build-up for Thanos but he's not really a character that has ever leaped off the page for me the way Doctor Doom, Magneto, or other iconic Marvel villains have. I mean, he's basically a rip off of Darkseid who was, himself, ripped off to create Mongul.

If this is Tony's swan song, he did it right.
   I was actually a young teenager when the Infinity Gauntlet crossover came out and even that was a great comic book arc but not something that I also feel like was "the most iconic story of all time." Villains gaining omnipotence isn't exactly a new plot and we already had Doctor Doom having done the same thing in Secret Wars.

    This leads, really, to my problem with Infinity War that was my same problem with the Avengers (2009). The team-up movies rarely have the kind of emotional depth to them the single movies have. Mind you, the exception to this was Captain America: Civil War and even that had its own problems. This is a film which is uneven in places but has a lot more character building than I expected. I was affected by events in it even if I knew a lot of them would be reversed. In short, I liked it and give it a solid B+ for effort even if I think it wasn't something needing as much build-up as it got.

    The premise, for those who haven't figured it out, is Thanos of Titan is a godlike alien who has come to Earth to steal the Infinity Stones possessed by our heroes or their allies. He wants to assemble all six of them and use them to kill half of the universe' population. Thanos manages to assemble them, things get really crappy, and then the credits role because it ends on a cliffhanger.

What would you do with omnipotence?
    The biggest surprise in the movie is that Thanos is probably one of the most well-developed villains in the MCU alongside Killmonger and Loki. Basically, they took a lot of Ra's Al Ghul and his concern for the environment then grafted it onto Darkseid. This a more human Thanos and reminds me a bit of his post-Infinity Gauntlet characterization, actually. The original motivation of Thanos was to impress Death like a love-struck teenager while this version is more a subdued philosophical sort, resigned to his actions but believing them to be for the greater good.

    I've seen some reviewers criticize the fact Thanos has the powers of God but is still dead set on his "balance the universe through murder" plan. I think that runs into the fact that villains, inherently, are people who have to have a few screws loose. We shouldn't agree with Thanos' intergalactic genocide plan even if he's doing it with a heavy heart and through random execution rather than any ethnic or ideological bias. Thanos also seems to genuinely love his children but is obsessive enough about his quest to be able to turn that love off until he's done.

    The massive numbers of heroes in the movie means that some of the fallout from Civil War like the fractured Captain America and Tony Stark relationship. It does have a surprising amount of characterization packed into little moments, though, emphasizing facts like Tony's father figure relationship to Peter Parker or Thor's failure to save Asgard. You also have dangerous consequences to Star Lord's immaturity, which is something I never expected to see in a movie series which normally celebrates it.

The Guardians play a much bigger role than I expected.
    There's a lot of surprises in this movie, including the return of a character which I never expected to see again but feel was somewhat underused here. I think the emotional center of the story was also the relationship between Gamora and Thanos, which I did not expect. Still, the writers made the right call in highlighting the complicated and fascinating past between them. I've always felt Zoe Saldana was underused in these movies and she does a great job here.

    By now, the films have special effects and fights scenes down to a science. There's really nothing to say about that. The film is beautiful and the battles were incredible. Thanos is given the right sort of strength level too, which is to say that he's stronger than the heroes but not so much that he doesn't have a chance of losing as well. A good fight scene should be something that can go either way or be something that is resolved in a speedy as well as efficient manner.

     I'm not a big fan of the "Children of Thanos" which is the Black Order from the comics. They exist just to pad the movie's running time and give Thanos a bunch of midbosses for our heroes to fight. None of them get much in the way of characterization and I think that they could have been removed from the story without much in the way of problems. Mind you, it might have been too much to have Thanos just do everything himself but I think he could have accomplished it.

Peter attempting to lecture everyone is hilarious.
    The best moments, storyline wise, are seeing each of the characters deal with the fact they're probably not going to make it out of this one alive. Due to contractual obligations and the fact characters are aging out of their roles, I really have no idea who will live and who will die. I mean, well, I know one or two characters who have movies coming up but I'm of the mind certain characters will have their passing sticks. Are there deaths? Well, I'm not going to spoil but it looks bleak at the end of the movie (or maybe everything will be reversed with the Time Stone).

    In fact, the biggest flaw of the movie is the fact I don't quite believe all the death and destruction which occurred will be followed through with. In the Avengers (2009), I believed the thousands of nameless innocents who died would lead to a long term set of consequences. Here, I think it's entirely possible everything will end up reversed with only emotional and mental consequences. As much as I would hate to see characters I love stay permanently dead, I think it'd have been a bolder choice to make it so we didn't know there would be some kind of reset button. I.e. everyone who dies stays dead permanently. I'm hoping that's the case for characters killed before the movie's climax, no matter how much I love certain ones. 

    This is also just the first half of the story. I don't mind this as I had to wait years and years for the next installment of the Lord of the Rings. Indeed, I think this movie might have benefited from being a three part series rather than just a duology. Certainly, I think the movie's Thanos is a character who can carry it even if I don't think the comic book one or Infinity Gauntlet story is one that deserves such a treatment. Everything I like about the movie is more or less the invention of the writers. It's good but not great yet, well, that's enough for me.



  1. watch Avengers Infinity War online free on zmovies now. I wasn't that impressed to be honest. The build-up for this movie was over the top, yet it failed to deliver. After making so many movies, each better than the one before it (ok, maybe not Ironman 2), I was expecting this movie to blow me away. Yet I felt cheated and lied to.

    After months of questions about Hawkeye's whereabouts, we were told that he had a very special part to play, that by including him on the posters would give away plot points. However, the only thing we get is a passing comment about his and Scott Lang's location. Why not be upfront? Why lie?

    In addition, cast members made numerous comments about how "full" the list of characters was...anyone and everyone was going to be in the movie. I didn't know that meant counting extras, craft services, and production staff.

    How do you get out of having dead characters, the ones that have movies coming in the near future? To me, Marvel just jumped the shark. I won't be seeing the next one.

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    1. Eh, its obvious certain characters will be back along with half the universe. Thankfully, at least, we know the Time Stone exists so it's not going to be a complete asspull. I do think a couple of the deaths plus some new ones will stick. It would be incredibly lame for everyone to come back.