Each Marvel movie has its own tone. Whether it is the quirky, fantastic realm of Taika Waititi’s “Thor: Ragnarok,” the darker, more realistic world of the Russo brother’s “Captain America: Winter Soldier” or the reality-warping ethereal world of Scott Derrickson’s “Doctor Strange.” Bringing all of these different worlds and tones together into one world with one tone is not a simple task.
The simple way around that monolithic problem is to avoid it entirely.
“Avengers: Infinity War” is supposed to be Marvel’s final boss. Every Marvel Cinematic Universe movie up to this point has been leading up to this event. It was never really supposed to be a movie; instead it is more of a superhero convention. The agreed upon prediction for “Avengers: Infinity War” was that the superhero convention would start with a bit of interpersonal conflict between all the different characters. They meet up for the first time, a big bad boy appears and all the main characters have to re-re-re-learn the lesson of teamwork. The reward would be the friends they made along the way.
It is wonderful that the predictions were mostly wrong.
The name of this movie should have just been “Thanos.” The real plot line is a strange character study shrouded in the guise of an Avengers movie. Thanos lurks in the corner of the MCU films. Whether he’s mentioned in passing by the main characters or shown in the flesh during an end-credits scene, he has always been in the background doing absolutely nothing. Now he takes center stage, and the superhero convention that is “Avengers: Infinity War” is just unnecessary weight. All the characters we know and love tend to drag the movie down, especially the ones that stay on earth for the entire movie. The concerns of Captain America or The Vision do not matter in the face of Thanos.
It is such a shame the movie had to be an Avengers film.
The best parts of this movie are beautifully surreal. There is thought put into landscapes and so much detail put into the expressions on the CGI purple face of Thanos. The most memorable moments are slow and touching or strangely twisted.
The best fights in the movie are not punch-ups. The weapon that Thanos uses can control reality, so it is perplexing that the audience is asked to take swarms of heroes and faceless villains with all of their explosives and magical fists seriously. The movie makes it clear that Thanos is on a whole other level. He can manipulate the universe as he chooses. The movie would have been improved if most of the scenes on earth were completely cut out and replaced with further explorations of Thanos’ character and reality-bending powers. The threat Thanos posed to earth was on a different scale; so much so that all the explosions and action-packed fight scenes felt hollow.
Before this goes on, here are the recommendations: If you haven’t enjoyed the MCU so far, this “film” is not for you. If you like the MCU so far, you will probably be glad you went to the theater. There are some shake-ups, some touching moments, some wit and a whole lot of sadness.
This next part has many spoilers. Do not read on if you have not seen the movie.
Thanos wins. He snaps his fingers and half of all life in the universe disappears. It cements the movie as something different. Nothing the main characters do to physically stop Thanos really mattered. The ending is heartbreaking and it should stay that way. Peter Parker panicking while dissolving in Tony Stark’s arms genuinely digs into the soul if you already care about these characters.
But of course, Peter Parker cannot stay dead because there is another Spider-Man movie in the works. The weapon used to kill over half the main characters has the ability to rewrite time, so it does not take a genius to see what is going on.
The biggest fault of this movie, and every other Marvel movie, is not a single part of the movie. Instead, It is the fact that it cannot just end.