It’s been almost two weeks since Infinity War came out at the cinema, so by now most people will have seen it. If you haven’t, I am going to advise that you stop reading now. Beware, there be spoilers ahead.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is a juggernaut unseen previously in the world of film. Avengers: Infinity War is the nineteenth film produced in ten years. Six of the nineteen have grossed over a billion dollars. Don’t worry, Marvel films are going to be fixture in our lives for a long time!
I had two major questions going in. Firstly, how are they going to fit everyone into the film? More importantly, can they make Thanos a compelling villain?
An assumption going into the film, is that you have some basic understanding of the MCU. Reintroductions are generally limited to <insert name of hero> looking heroic whilst looking to camera. There is simply no time to dwell. They are really left to bounce off each other, which is really what Marvel does best.
With such a large cast, all doing different things, there is a large amount of jumping around, but it is handled really well. The plot of the film is nothing more than “Thanos is collecting the Infinity Stones. Everyone is trying to stop him”. There are three or four fronts to this battle and you worm your way between each storyline adeptly. There is no fat in this film.
The string which ties the film together is, of course, that bloke called Thanos. I asked earlier if he is compelling. Well, that is answered easily at the beginning of the film, where he brings the beat down. When Hulk is refusing to come out to play, you know that the good guys are in trouble. I really felt that Thanos was a real threat even against all of the Marvel heroes together.
What makes Thanos work is that he is almost sympathetic as a villain. He isn’t really evil. He sees a problem (over population) and has worked out a solution. Yes, killing of half the universe’s population is bat-poo crazy. He saw his own planet destroyed over this, and is prepared to sacrifice everything (including the one person that he truly loves) to save half of the universe. His final scene shows that he thinks that he has done good. This ultimately Thanos’ film.
I’m still saying that he is bat-poo crazy though.
The clever thing with the Thanos’ rapture is that it declutters things for the second part of the film. Rather than a cast of seemingly thousands, there are now a manageable number of heroes. Of course, the core of the Avengers all survive. Did you really think that they weren’t? Captain Marvel is going to be on her way, and I wouldn’t be surprised if both her film, and the Ant-Man and the Wasp both have at least an end credit scene tie-in.
For the first time I think that we have gotten a comic-book film rather than a film full of comic-book characters. As a medium, comic-books are fairly fast paced. You only have 48 pages to hook readers into buying the next one, and I got that feeling here. Each scene had that feeling of I want to go back there to see what happens next. I felt engaged throughout the film.
Normally, I prefer films where there is character development, and when there are times when the story is given the opportunity to breathe and reflect. There is none of that here, and it still works. This is a superhero crossover, the first part is always about the punchy punchy. Let’s leave the characterisation to the next film.
So, what do I think is going to happen next? Firstly, the raptured will return, that is the easy prediction. I would be disappointed if it is thanks to timey-wimey stuff though. I think that the death toll hasn’t fully been repaid. I also have a sneaking suspicion that Gamora isn’t as dead as we think she is. More out of hope for the third Guardians of the Galaxy film. Outside of those, I have no idea, and that is the fun part.
I’ll get back to you in a year.