Avengers: Infinity War, A Spoiler-Free Review
Ya know...I lead a pretty simple life. I spent most of the past weekend, taking it easy so to speak, playing God of War© on my Playstation©4 Pro© in beautiful 4K resolution on my brand new Tax Return funded 43 inch, Ultra High HD SmartTV with HDR for true color accuracy,
At the end of my meager weekend I wanted to relax, try to avoid most of the crowd (I did not) and go see Avengers: Infinity War at the first showing on Sunday at 1030 AM. When I found that was sold out I figured I better buy tickets for the 9PM show right then and there and just 12 or so hours of God of War later I was ready to go.
I won't even include a quick synopsis for this one as I am basically writing to no one since all of you have probably seen this movie already anyway. Thanos has been coming for as long as Winter has and now that he is finally here how does Marvel Studio's plan to throw every conceivable super hero at him at once work out? Let's discuss.
Avengers: Infinity War is without question the most built up to movie of all time, and possibly in any form of entertainment. Thanos has been hinted at for almost a decade and this is Marvel's first big hurdle to get over. How to control and satisfy the hype.
Up until now we have only seen The Mad Titan a handful of times on screen and when we do it is mostly to hint at the things to come. Marvel needed to give us a movie where Thanos was front and center, and not pulling strings from a distance. Infinity War does this in a great way, showing not only how formidable he really is but by explaining a bit why he is doing what he is doing.
Much like when Winter finally arrived on that show about secret cousins doing it on a boat, Thanos's arrival lives up to the hype. It's not out of the question to say that he is the main character of this movie, even though he is only a part of the greater whole.
I'm sure whoever does the scheduling over there at Marvel must be either an absolutely complete genius, or more likely a computer program. The sheer thought of the amount of work that it must have taken to get even a handful of the people that are in this movie together for even one day makes me want to throw up.
Marvel is obviously unrivaled when it comes to the scope of the cinematic universe it has created. Even the most massive franchises in movie history like Star Wars and Harry Potter can't compete with the sheer mass of movies coming out yearly from Marvel, and they definitely can't compete with the casts.
The characters are what drive these Marvel movies. I don't think any of them have been as well written as something like say Logan, or as well directed as something like The Dark Knight, but Marvel has characters that you not only relate to, but like.
Bruce Wayne in the Dark Knight Trilogy is certainly less likable than say Thor or Captain America and while this is not an indictment of Nolan's Batman, it definitely was a conscious move by Marvel and the many filmmakers who made these movies. You are not just rooting for these characters, you feel a sense of pride when your favorite one first pops on screen in Infinity War or helps in some way.
This leads to the second hurdle, giving these characters that we all have so much invested in almost equal representation. No one wants to sit there with a stopwatch and time exactly how long Loki and Dr. Strange are on screen for, so Marvel subverts that and gives us something a little different.
Infinity War at times feels like a comic book version of Lord of the Rings. There are all these separate groups of heroes traveling in bands of different sizes and franchises, working together, separately to save the universe. Everyone in some way has a part to play, whether it be like Boromir giving his life to save Frodo from the Uruk-Hai or more like Pippin looking into the Palantir.
It is really impressive to see how all of these characters were woven into this massive story together without any one really taking center stage. While not every little branch of the story is not equally important, every character feels necessary and useful.
The final hurdle for Marvel before reaching the finish line of total genre domination is a pretty easy one for them, and not so easy for others, make it good. Marvel almost has to try hard to make a bad movie these days, Pretty much every movie that have released in the last 3 years has been at least passable and even at their worst the movie is watchable.
If you take a step back and look at Infinity War as a whole, and rather really the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole, you find that they are a "jack of all trades, master of none". Infinity War has a little bit of everything in it, even getting more specific teeters on spoiler territory but they have basically throw everything they can at you, hoping at least some of it will stick.
There are problems with Infinity War, the plot is scattered and loose, the pacing sputters often and even though it is a whopping 2 hours and 20 minutes long it feels more like 3. There are more than a few moments to nit pick while watching but I can't even remember them now because the good in this movie far outweighs the bad, something I feel I have written over and over again in these Marvel reviews.
With Infinity War, Marvel has created the grandest and most successful spectacle that we have ever seen in a movie. I struggle to imagine where they can go to next, not because of the ramifications of the movie (which are as large at Thanos himself) but because they have already beaten the end game.
The classic God of War games were most well known, not for the blood or the story or even for Kratos but for the spectacle. They went from killing monsters and one god to climbing up Mount Olympus on the back of a titan to kill all of the gods, including Zeus. They went so big so often that eventually they were left with nothing bigger to conquer and the series faltered, until April 20th.
Marvel will obviously continue the story quickly with Avengers 4 slated to be released almost a year from now to the day, and after that movie I expect Marvel to sort of reel the size back in a bit. God of War 2018 is proof that even the most extreme and massive stories can be broken down and reinvented, and there is no bigger or grander story than the one woven by the Marvel Cinematic Universe.