Avengers: Infinity War Absolutely Kills It!

Monday , 30, April 2018 13 Comments

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.

Random thoughts:

  • Thanos’ CGI isn’t cheesy or fake. Actually, it’s pretty impressive.
  • His motivations were kind of vague and nonsensical, though. Whatever, I went with it. I’d still have liked something more comprehensible.
  • A lot of humor in this one. It all works.
  • The Guardians of the Galaxy are introduced in a way absolutely APT. Applause to the Russo bros.
  • Rocket Raccoon is an absolute blast. Again. The scene with the thing that he gives to the other guy is a great callback to the first Guardians movie, and is a hoot.
  • Rebellious Teen Groot was also A++.
  • Yeah, a lot of the best moments revolve around the Guardians of the Galaxy, as individuals or a collective. Make of that what you will.
  • Robert Downey Jr, arguably the biggest driving force behind the MCU’s success, knocks it out of the park. Tony Stark is his career defining role, and he is spectacular in it.
  • All the ladies love Chris Evans. Make your peace with that.
  • Yes, there is a hidden spoiler in this review.
  • Yes, this is an uncharacteristically positive review. That should tell you something.

Jasyn Jones, better known as Daddy Warpig, is a host on the Geek Gab podcast, a regular on the Superversive SF livestreams, and blogs at Daddy Warpig’s House of Geekery. Check him out on Twitter.

  • Desdichado says:

    The only flaw—potential flaw, I should say—is that because it ends on an unresolved Empire Strikes Back style note, it could still be retroactively diminished if the conclusion doesn’t deliver.

    But that’s not REALLY a complaint about this movie exactly.

    • Sean says:

      Agreed, but the same people who made this one are in charge of the next which gives me hope they will deliver.

    • Kenny Cross says:

      This is my complaint about it. I could not fully invest myself in certain events, or, ahem, a lot of events that transpire in the last few minutes of the movie because of 1) there is the next movie in a year 2) I will withhold this part because that would be very spoilery and I’m not feeling particularly nasty today to spoil this movie because it needs to be seen unspoiled.

      BUT I will say as I sat in the theater and I wanted the events that were unfolding before me to have a greater impact, or the impact that they should have had. But knowing there’s the next movie in a year it could all be reversed.

      This is the huge flaw in the room. I still thought it was great though.

      • Emmett Fitz-Hume says:

        “BUT I will say as I sat in the theater and I wanted the events that were unfolding before me to have a greater impact, or the impact that they should have had. But knowing there’s the next movie in a year it could all be reversed.

        This is the huge flaw in the room. I still thought it was great though.”

        Completely agree. I was actually disappointed by the movie overall but the ending especially. The way the…last few minutes are done, robs the movie of its emotional punch because there is no way to get past the ‘meta’ aspect. They should have ended it a bit sooner. Almost ruined the movie for me.

        • Emmett Fitz-Hume says:

          Sorry, I read that last comment and realiz3d it was unclear.

          I liked some parts of the movie (even a majority) but not the movie as a whole. So I didn’t completely agree, I mostly agreed about the last few minutes though.

  • deuce says:

    “Thanos’ CGI isn’t cheesy or fake. Actually, it’s pretty impressive.”

    I’m still not sure why he couldn’t be purple, though. A minor quibble.

  • Misha Burnett says:

    Wow. I want to see whatever movie you saw. It definately wasn’t the film released under the title Avengers: Infinity War at my local theater.

  • Skyler says:

    The symbol on the phone in the end credit scene must mean that movie will come out before Part II. I was actually expecting Adam Warlock in there somewhere.

    • David says:

      Spoilers to answer your question….

      That symbol is for Captain Marvel, and yes her movie is coming out next year before the next Avengers movie. Adam Warlock is coming in Guardians of the Galaxy 3 and I suspect he will be quite different from his comic character…possibly the villain of GotG3.

  • David says:

    For the first time in forever, I went to see a movie on opening weekend, because I knew accidentally stumbling across a spoiler somewhere would be highly likely and potentially lessen my enjoyment of the movie.

    I don’t think Avengers 3 is best described as a movie. I would call it a spectacular live-action comic book crossover event which was glorious fun…IF you like and are invested in some of the characters. I am so I had a great time.

    Mild spoilers below…

    Of course it was half of a live-action comic book crossover event, so maybe we need a new term, like a theatrical release mini-series. Or should we consider it a movie where Thanos is the protagonist?

    As for Thanos motivation, it is Malthusian theory which doesn’t scale well in a universe with near-infinite inhabited worlds and species living among galacic-spanning empires. However, if we assume, for the sake of argument, that most species can never expand beyond their home planet for various hand-waved reasons, it might work? If not, let’s just go with Thanos is crazy…and selfish.

    I loved Ebony Maw in this one as well, he played really well off Stark and Strange.

    • Andy says:

      I haven’t seen the movie yet, but it sounds like they changed Thanos’s personality from the comics. In the comics he’s literally a necrophiliac, hopelessly in love with the female personification of Death, and his plan to murder half of the universe is to basically give her the sickest Valentine’s Day present of all time. There’s really nothing more to it than that. Although the movies have made some progress in terms of adapting the more colorful aspects of the comics, this is all probably a bit too much for a major summer blockbuster.

      • David says:

        The MCU Thanos has a different motivation, but the same goal. And the more I think about it, Thanos is the protagonist, and this is a supervillain movie.

  • Sam says:

    Yes, Thanos is the protagonist, and this is a supervillain movie.
    I really liked it, but since it was basically a two hour long action scene with some RIGHT IN THE FEELS right in the face, it was exactly what I think all action scifi movies should be.

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