Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers infinity warAssholes Assemble!

Matt, Jay and I all took in Avengers: Infinity War last night and I expect you can guess how that went.  I loved it, Jay hated it, and Matt liked it but would have preferred to be at a DC movie instead.  Of course, it is clear that Matt backed the wrong horse in the DC/Marvel race, as Marvel continues its streak of good movies.  Marvel’s so hot they even managed to resurrect the Spider-Man franchise for Sony along the way and might soon get the rights to use the X-Men and other characters currently being held hostage by Fox.

Whether adding more characters to this already bloated roster is a good thing is something we can (and will) argue about, but for a Marvel fan like me, the best thing about an Avengers movie is seeing all my favourite characters team up to save the world just like they’ve done in the comics a hundred times previously.  It’s particularly sweet now that Spider-Man is helping Iron Man and Co. on a regular basis (and fantastic that Spidey gets about as much screen time as anyone in Infinity War).

Even better, in Thanos, Marvel has found a threat big enough to require these countless heroes to team up to fight.  Finally, we have an Avengers movie that doesn’t have to use internal conflict as a plot point.  Past grudges are quickly put aside as we jump right into the fight, where literally half the lives in the universe are at stake.  Though the film is two and a half hours long, it didn’t feel like there was ever a lull in the action, not even for a second.

But.

But.

But.

I don’t ever expect Jay to like the superhero movies I drag her to, but she hated this movie much more strongly than I had anticipated.  In hindsight I should have seen this coming and prepared her for it.  Anyone who has read the Infinity Gauntlet crossover event will not be surprised by how the movie plays out, and anyone who has read comics in general knows that rule #1 is no one ever stays dead.  But when anyone can (and almost everyone does) come back to life in the comics, and in this movie, it makes death feel cheap.  Without getting too deep into spoiler territory, let’s just say there is at least one on-screen death that feels like it is going to be undone in the next Avengers movie (and when I say at least one, I really mean every single one).  That resurrection expectation takes away from this movie significantly because it doesn’t mean anything if everything gets reset.

The writers should have found a better way for this film to play out, one that didn’t feel like any hero’s death was just a temporary setback, particularly because the MCU can afford to lose several dozen characters – if it did then we might actually have enough screen time for heroes like Ant-Man and Hawkeye!

I could overlook the inevitable resurrection issue because that’s my expectation of comic books, but it is not going to be so easy for most to deal with.  And really, whether you can get past it is almost secondary, because it would undeniably have been so much better for the MCU to have risen above that trite comic book convention and given our heroes a loss that felt irreversible, instead of one that we feel certain is going to be undone within a year.   Avengers: Infinity War is still an enjoyable, fan-pleasing blockbuster even with this problem, but due to the perceived lack of permanent consequences, Infinity War is missing the dramatic heft that should have followed naturally from a battle over the fate of the universe.

 

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33 thoughts on “Avengers: Infinity War

  1. bookbeachbunny

    Agree with you about that death point. I was actually moved at times and with some of the acting but my next immediate thought was, “That’s not sticking. I already know that’s not going to last.” Same thing my friend said and they aren’t familiar with the source material either. Maybe they are saving the non-reversible ones for part two?

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    1. Jay

      I thought Zoe Saldana was particularly good. They really have done some exceptional casting, and the acting has always been way better than it needs to be.

      But I think, after watching Logan and Wonder Woman and Black Panther, that we can expect more from comic book movies, and this one felt all action and glory and no real satisfying story.

      And yes, I’m sorry, but I felt ripped off. Like those whole two and a half hours will ultimately mean nothing because in another movie or two they’ll undo it all.

      I left the theatre really angry, mentally yelling “No take-backsies!” because it feels cheap to manipulate us with deaths and events and plot points that we can never trust.

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    2. Sean Post author

      I wish at least some felt permanent but right from the first death I was sure he would be popping up again, and I had the same feeling for the most impactful one which undercut what should have been a great character moment for Thanos. And still, I really liked the movie, so I kind of feel bad for criticizing, but this is a big, big flaw where the acting was very good but there’s a shortcoming of the genre that the writers didn’t account for or counteract.

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  2. Jay

    Oh Sean. I feel a little sad reading this review. I know how much you love this series, and this movie.
    And I know you were started by my vitriol.
    I feel like I have unfairly pulled you over to the dark side and I don’t really mean to do that. I know these movies aren’t really meant to be good movies, just popcorn (or pretzel) good fun, and good for you for enjoying it.
    Tonight I will force you to watch the new Adam Sandler movie and you won’t even protest. And we both know it’ll be far shittier than this.

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    1. Sean Post author

      I still really liked the movie and if my review doesn’t reflect that then I wish I had done better to emphasize that. But in assigning the rating I felt I had to account for people who are not so accepting of heroes being resurrected (which is basically a given in comics so I take it for granted in the movies), because I think that feeling is this could be a big deal, and I wish the writers had found a way to dispel that assumption and make the deaths more impactful.

      And I am looking forward to getting home so we can start the new Sandler, which absolutely will be a million times worse than Avengers.

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    1. Sean Post author

      Definitely look forward to it! It’s really good, it just has a flaw that is pretty standard among these movies because we know even if Batman had died at the end of The Dark Knight Rises, they still would have rebooted the franchise a few years later. Superheroes never truly die.

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  3. In My Cluttered Attic

    Now I’m torn. I know the movie will be entertaining, but I’ll be frustrated by the copout of using death as a way to manipulate our emotions—I realise not every hero should always live, BUT! And yet death is the ultimate sacrifice in life, and thus, in a film as well—or at least it used to be. So, naturally, no one wants to see death become a casualty which can be overcome all too often—well, not without some kind of rational explanation anyway. That indeed cheapens The Grim Reapers haul—because death is supposed to be so final. Yeah, I know we hate that fact, but—facts are facts even in the world of film. Therefore, I feel that unless it’s someone like Mr Jesus being resurrected (or us getting tricked into thinking someone is dead when they’re not, like with that dream with J.R. years ago on the series, Dallas), a character temporarily dying only to miraculously return later in a film or down the road in another sequel is likely to hurt the plausibility of such an event in good storytelling. Having said all that…I’m gonna see it anyway—because I’m addicted to the characters. Great review, Sean. 😀

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  4. Liz A.

    They were discussing who died in class today. And that’s the thought I had–are these characters going to stay dead?

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  5. Jason

    Good review. Personally, i like the ending. However, i agree with you on some of your points you make. To me, it would’ve been interesting if they actually end the MCU (entirely) on such a dark and somber note.

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  6. D. Wallace Peach

    I’m sure my husband will be watching this one as soon as it hits Netflix. I’m a little saturated with comic book superhero movies, so my expectations aren’t very high, but I imagine I’ll enjoy it for what it is. Thanks for the interesting review. 🙂

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  7. badblokebob

    Some people seem to have been blown away by the ending — “how could they do that?!”, etc. It’s kinda sweet there are people who still expect an ending like that to stick. Or maybe we’re just cynical. Personally, I didn’t feel too strongly about it either way — of course Thanos was going to win in some big way, because there had to be a cliffhanger; but of course it’s going to be undone. I guess the interest lies in seeing how they fix it.

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  8. Brittani

    Yeah, IW is definitely for fans of the series. I can imagine it would be easy to hate it if you hate super hero movies in general.

    I loved it. I want to see it again. lol

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  9. Tiffany Lea

    Thank for you sharing! I loved Avengers:Infinity War so much, its such a great movie! I got the insane opportunity to go to the World Premiere on the 23rd. I was just in front of Tom Holland during the screening at the Dolby Theater, he was with his brothers and they were all so sweet! I got to talk to members of the cast and they were all incredibly nice! I wrote two posts on my blog about it (one about the premiere and another one about after party) if you’d like the check it out!

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  11. Jay

    **SPOILERS***

    So if all 23 Avengers, or however many there are, couldn’t defeat Thanos, how will they do it now that they’ve been halved?
    I doubt Ant-Man and Hawkeye will make a huge difference, but it’s also suspicious to believe that they’re both alive since half of all humanity, whether present at the battle or not, would have died.
    Captain Marvel? Is she the difference maker? I don’t know her, is she that powerful?
    And how do they move from her movie, set in the 1990s, to today, and account for her just not giving a crap about anything that’s gone on since?
    Are we going to time travel to beat Thanos? Are we going to go back in time to make better choices? Is anyone even capable of time travel?

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  12. Jay

    ***MORE SPOILERS****

    And why kill off characters, like Spider-Man, who already have an announced\confirmed movie in the works? I think his movie is slated for release just shortly after the next Avengers movie, which means he’ll be making the rounds promoting it, not even bothering to pretend that he’s supposed to be dead, not for one little minute!

    And forget about the fact that the deaths are meaningless because we know they’ll resurrect. Let’s talk about how this film is in no way a stand-alone movie. You have to have invested in 18 prior movies in order to know all the characters, which is a ridiculous assumption. But if you don’t already know them, you’re fucked. Because they’re asking us to be sad about deaths when Infinity War spends 0 time on character development. With 28 heroes alone, that’s little more than 5 minutes apiece. Little investment = little payoff. I certainly would have enjoyed way less Peter Dinklage and way more Black Panther.

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  13. paulliverstravels

    I sat back and enjoyed the one-liners, the scope of their ambition, and the stunning vision they had and the craftsmanship to back it up. It does seem that the #1 criticism is that the deaths aren’t real, but maybe we should all go back and ask if the endings of “Wrath of Khan” and “Empire STrikes Back” didn’t work?

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  15. sportsattitudes

    Massive disappointment in this film. First thing I thought of during the climatic fight scenes was playing three-dimensional chess… seeing the battles occurring at the same time in different places and trying to get my head around the overall status rather than focusing on each level. For me this film was more chaotic than exciting. I was more overwhelmed than transported…at one point it felt like watching the finale of Ready Player One…trying to catch every little thing but not really caring so much if I did. I knew of course the ending wasn’t going to be an ending at all…but I did not enjoy or appreciate the ending I was presented with after two and a half hours. I also felt the opportunity to advance the narrative during the closing credits could have been leaned into more. I loved the Avengers…enjoyed Ultron…disliked Infinity War. All the other Marvel films in the current Universe I’ve enjoyed as well. Just didn’t get it done for me.

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