AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR SPOILERS…
The first time I ever saw a major character in a comic book die was Norman Osborn in a late nineties comic book. I had no context and No idea what the story was leading too it was just a one-off book that I had found somewhere. It kind of shook me at the time. Sure he was a bad guy, but this guy just died, (at least until he came back to life due to comic book logic.) it’s something comics do now to shock or impress you with the departures they plan on taking or the world they plan on changing. It’s an expected thing for most characters to now go through. They all eventually die once and then come back to life in some confounding way. But that’s comics.
I was not expecting it to happen in the happy go lucky Marvel movies. I really enjoy these films even parts of the bad ones. I’m looking at you Thor: Dark World. They all bring to life that childhood wonder that you felt flipping through pages back in the day. Marvel Studios has adapted the more Stan Lee Golden Age of light and happy with minimal stakes. Comics took a turn for the more adult and gritty after Lee left writing and the brand eventually morphed into a much darker and convoluted turn. These books weren’t marketed to kids anymore. And after ten years its easy to say that Marvel Studios has grown with its child audience. An eight-year-old at the time of Iron Man in 2008 is now an adult and wants something else from his entertainment.
They Lost. I’m going to repeat that. The Avengers Lost, the movie ends with Thanos Winning and half of the Marvel universe dying. Iron Man’s quips, Captain America’s will, Hulks strength, Thor’s powers are not enough to stop Thanos from killing Spider-man, or Doctor Strange, or Star-Lord. Infinity War exudes so much confidence in its choices, unlike anything they would’ve been able to do just three years ago. These movies are always at least good but with films like Spider-Man: Homecoming, Black Panther, and Thor: Ragnarok they’ve taken a step up. They can stand on their own as a fun, enjoyable movie with things to say.
Avengers Infinity War seems like an impossible task given the number of characters the Russo brothers (Directors) need to manage. Instead of a mess, it ends up being three separate Marvel movies that dovetail into one grand finale. It puts into perspective how much the previous Guardians Of The Galaxy movies have done for this Avengers movie. Without them, the film doesn’t work, at all. With them we have context, and meaning behind Thanos, something a Marvel villain other than Loki has never had. Thanos is terrifying not because he’s stronger but because he knows he’s going to win. And he has a purpose. Something he truly believes in. He’s doing good in the world, and none of the Avengers can see that. He even breaks down when he knows he has to kill his adopted daughter. He doesn’t want to do it, but it’s whats best for the universe. He loves her, in his own fucked up way.
As the movie went on, I started to think to myself “wow, how do they beat this guy?” and halfway through the movie I thought. “Hm he sure has a lot of those stones now. This is going to be tough.” and as the movie came to its conclusion, I had no faith that they would beat them. But as movies go, especially superhero movies you just assume, “yay they won! Congrats universe!” but that did not happen. They even tease you a bit. First, the Avengers on Titan make up a plan that seems to work until they try and get his glove off and Peter Quill loses it learning of the death of Gamora. –One of the few nitpicks, why not just kill him as he’s under control?– And then again as Thanos is tearing through the Avengers back on earth Scarlett Witch has to destroy the mind gem in Visions head. And just as she does, I thought. “Oh interesting whats he going to do now that he can’t get the last one?” and then just like that he turns back time using his time stone gotten from Doctor Strange moments earlier.
It’s those examples that no other Marvel movie has. It’s the sense of understanding only to be punched in the face moments later. And the biggest tease of the entire movie is when Thor strikes Thanos in the chest and delivers the one-liner “I told you, you were going to die for that” avenging his dead brother. Thanos turns the tables again and says “You should’ve gone for the head.” and snaps his fingers. Then proceeds the saddest moment in any Marvel movie where our heroes start fading away into dust. As it begins, Bucky vanishes, and you think. “Ok so a couple of C list heroes are going to die right?” and then Star-Lord goes, Then Doctor Strange, then the absolute dagger through my heart Peter Parker. He looks at Tony Stark and says “Mr. Stark I’m not feeling so good.” and pleaded with him, saying he doesn’t want to die begging Iron Man for his life as if he can do anything about it. Then just like that, he vanishes.
The death in this movie has been criticized a bit for not meaning anything or feeling hollow. And I couldn’t disagree more. These deaths will fuel the next film and believe me these will not be the only deaths by the end of the upcoming movie. These deaths although reversible in some capacity are a weight on the audience and the whole idea of these superhero movies. Something that was once thought impossible from Marvel Studios. The mass death of major characters.
This is meant to be a review, but after all that, I’m sure you can guess I loved the movie. And the funny thing is I wasn’t all that pumped going into it. About a week before the release I read that it ends on a cliffhanger and that made me bummed out but seeing the movie in context makes it all come together really beautifully. That being said I do have minor gripes with the film. One of them was already mentioned in that why not just kill him as Mantis has him unconscious. The other being the inescapable plot issue of the Infinity Gauntlet. Early in the movie Thanos turns mantis into a ribbon and Drax into a bunch of blocks. Using the flip of his wrist, Now why he can’t, he just do that all the time? I wouldn’t ask this if you hadn’t already shown me his ability to do it? Anyway, those issues don’t even come up when watching the movie it all moves by so fast you don’t notice it.
You get the feeling by the end of the film that this is it for these characters almost everyone who survived the evaporation is on their last legs either regarding age or contract. As much as I’d love seven more Captain America movies with Chris Evans that seems highly unlikely. And even more sad is the fact that Chris Hemsworth has just now come into his own as Thor, it would be a shame for him to now leave. Robert Downey Jr is the founding father of all this, but I think it’s about time. The same thing goes for Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner. But that shouldn’t mean they don’t have cameos or easter eggs to help shepherd this new batch of heroes.
I want to see this movie again; I haven’t felt that way about a superhero movie since the first Avengers. Which looking back on it now seems super corny, Just google Cap’s suit from that film. Considering this movie was filmed right alongside the next one coming out next year I have no reason to think it would be any less exceptional. and I can’t wait.