It’s been about a month since I saw Avengers Infinity War and I’ve forgotten some of the details, but better late than never, right? My overall love of the Marvel characters does lead me to like it more than a casual moviegoer probably would, but I’m not completely blind to its flaws.
First of all, this is NOT a standalone movie. If you haven’t seen some of the other Marvel films, this is going to make zero sense. The must-watch movies are:
- Iron Man
- Captain America: The First Avenger
- The Avengers
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Captain America: Civil War
- Thor Ragnarok
“But why is [insert movie] missing?!” Because whatever plot points tie it to Infinity War can probably be summarized in a sentence or two, has story points touched on in another film, and/or it introduces a side character that’s not crucial for you to know. Take Captain America: Winter Soldier for example; SHIELD isn’t relevant to Infinity War, and Civil War covers all the most important points about the Winter Soldier.
That said, Infinity War is basically nothing but fight scenes. What story exists is centered around Thanos, and the bit of other character development present is scattered within all the fighting. It’s enjoyable fighting, and if you’ve watched the other Marvel films then you’ll probably have fun seeing all the different characters get to interact, but you’re definitely going to have a lesser experience if you’re not familiar with the Marvel Universe. It’s not a gripe, just a fact.
My actual gripes are in regards to the overly drawn-out emotional scenes and the lack of tension. There were several scenes trying to have “the feels” that just didn’t hit the sweet spot in terms of length. They were drawn out past the viewers’ emotional climax, severely hurting the impact of the scene. Scenes that should’ve been sad heartfelt or whatever ended up being boring or frustrating instead, making me think “get on with it already!” Take note Marvel: sometimes less is more.
Infinity Wars had the opposite problem in regards to tension, in that it didn’t have tension. This YouTube video by captainmidnight does a good idea of explaining what I mean. I understand that building true tension would potentially be difficult given Marvel’s propensity for jokes and desire to steer clear of anything vaguely like the DCEU, but this is a war that has been 10 years in the making! I think allowing even just one fight build enough tension that audiences would end up holding their breaths would’ve had a great pay-off. Unfortunately this movie just didn’t have it.
So overall I liked the movie, but I don’t think it would make my top 5 Marvel movies. It was a loud, flashy, and fun, but just a tad more hollow than I’d hoped.
Okay, now to finally dive into some of the specifics! Let’s start with the Star-Lord scene. You know the one I’m talking about. Like a number of people, that scene irritated me, but just because of the whole “Star-Lord screwed up everything” angle. No, my irritation ties back to what I said about things being too drawn out. It became extremely obvious that Star-Lord was going to hit Thanos and screw things up, and the amount of telegraphing what was coming had me going,“Really? Just do it already!” I would’ve much preferred this scene if, instead of the “dramatic buildup” to Peter hitting Thanos, Peter had figured it out quicker and then snapped and lashed out.
The Hulk was apparently controversial too. I know Hulk in the comics just gets bigger, angrier, and stronger with every beatdown, but I didn’t mind this interpretation. The idea of Hulk being a bit of a coward kinda amused me. It also helped to put Thanos’s power into perspective. I mean, Hulk was all ready to take on the giant Surtur in Thor: Ragnarok, but he’s refusing to face Thanos? It helps drill home that Thanos is in a league of his own.
On things I liked, I really liked the interactions between Iron Man, Doctor Strange, and Spiderman. Their interactions didn’t go as I had envisioned going into the movie, but I still thought they were fun and felt pretty accurate. And despite my initial misgivings about their pairing – mostly due to the actors’ ages – and the couple of drawn-out scenes, I actually liked most of Vision and Wanda’s interactions. And Thanos’s; I am so, so happy that Thanos was not one of Marvel’s forgettable, cardboard villains. His story and purpose are explained with more than just one or two lines of throw-away dialog, and you can understand his motivations, even if you don’t agree with his goals. He’s definitely on my list for top 5 Marvel villains, and possibly makes the top 3.
Moving to speculation. I notice that none of the first Avengers were vaporized, so presumably the conclusion to Infinity War will involve a reunion of the main team. And it should definitely include Hawkeye. The lazy excuse given for Hawkeye not appearing in this film – his family – could actually be turned into a great point for the second film. What if Hawkeye’s kids were part of the half wiped out by Thanos? It’d give him a reason to go in with arrows blazing, give him some good character moments, and if Marvel decides to kill him permanently, he’d be able to go out fighting for a very good reason.