Marvel’s been carving a vast swathe through cinema history. With 19 movies released over the last 10 years, all of them inhabiting the same shared universe, they’ve built one of the most impressive and lucrative film empires in cinema history. (Even their flops are better than, say, most of DC’s offerings.)
According to the best sources I have available, Avengers: Infinity War—Marvel’s magnum opus—knocked back a cool $630 million worldwide gross its first weekend, making it the highest dollar value opening weekend in cinema history, handily beating out the previous record holder, The Fate of the Furious by almost $100 mil. 2/3rds of a billion dollars, give or take, is a whole lot of dough.
What surprised me most about Infinity War was just how good it was. Barely minutes into the movie, and we’re already in a couple of dust-ups featuring Thanos and the Hulk, then (halfway across the galaxy) Iron Man, Dr. Strange and henchman, and Spider Man vs two of “Thanos’ Children”. And fights come at a regular pace after that. Seriously, this movie MOVES.
And yet it has enough time to linger on emotional or relationship beats, like Star-Lord trying to make his voice deeper, to compete with Thor, Star-Lord and Gamorra’s sputtering relationship, Peter Parker’s drive to prove himself as a hero, and so on and so forth. Each character is given enough time to develop just a little bit more, and in many cases the movie pays off on character arcs that have been building across multiple movies, such as Vision and the Scarlet Witch’s romance. It’s impressive that—for me, at least—each of these subplots had enough time to register, none of them feeling overwhelmed by the movie’s more kinetic offerings.
Speaking of the fights, they were spectacular. -Ish. Most of the time. Shaky-cam rears its ugly head, and I curse it as I have always done: damn you Hollywood, for turning to this cheap and ineffective storytelling technique that only ruins action scenes, never adding anything. Shaky-cam aside, the fights are plentiful, varied, and do double-duty, both thrilling the audience and developing the characters. I thoroughly enjoyed them.
Then again, with a few exceptions, I’ve enjoyed the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies (Iron Man 2 and 3 and Incredible Hulk being the worst, which is pretty impressive). People who don’t enjoy, or haven’t seen, the prior films in the MCU probably aren’t going to get as much out of the experience as I did. (Then again, the Red Letter Media mavens usually dislike Marvel movies, yet they thoroughly enjoyed this one, so…)
As for the spoilers: what with the time limit on the Spoiler Statute of Limitations being down to approximately five nanoseconds after the script leaks to a geek blogger, you should know that this is a movie you absolutely DON’T want spoiled, and it’s a movie that absolutely WILL be spoiled by today, at the latest (I caught my first spoiler while writing this post. No foolin’.) If you have any interest in it, go see it ASAP. It’s worth it.
If I have any doubts about the movie, it’s because this is probably the high water mark for the MCU. After this movie, critical actors, and hence characters, will start bowing out, meaning the MCU will be depending on characters whose longevity and popularity are unproven. It’s likely we’ll never see another gathering of actors and characters like this ever again.
If this is the peak, it’s a mighty impressive peak. So go out and enjoy it while it lasts.