[This article contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Avengers: Infinity War]
This film has no right to exist.
A two hours and forty-minutes comic book extravaganza that is a culmination of eighteen other films, populated by more than twenty superheroes, plot-driven by a huge purple CGI villain and – for large parts – ten years in the making? ‘Ambitious’ does not even seem like the right word to describe it, but here we are. Here at the cusp of the end of the MCU’s epic Part One adventure. Here, where, for the most part, Infinity War simply works, proving once and for all that this is truly Marvel’s universe and we’re all just living in it.
Even though this film doesn’t make my MCU top-five (which are, in forever changing order, the three Captain America films, Black Panther and the first Avengers), I left the cinema with so many thoughts. So this is me, less than twenty-four hours after experiencing the film, trying to make sense of it all.
- It is pretty obvious that the characters who disappear or ‘die’ The Leftovers-style at the end of this film are going to come back in the next one. No way T’Challa, Peter Parker, Peter Quill, Doctor Strange etc. are dead. (There are, after all, contracts in Hollywood.) They are going to be brought back presumably by the Time Stone – used to rewind everything back to when these characters still exist. The questions here, however, are when and how they will be brought back. Will it be after Thanos is defeated (because he is going to be defeated) and the stones are pried away from his cold dead hand? Or will someone steal just the one stone from his gauntlet before he meets his end? I can only assume that these characters will come back just in time for the very final battle. The value of that Avengers money-shot, like the one in the first Avengers, is too good for Marvel to pass up.
- Robert Downey Jr. is just so, so, so amazing as Tony Stark. My favourite Downey performance is still the one in Civil War, but he is just as charismatic in this film. He flips between sarcasm, tenderness, anger and pain with such ease, I was reminded once more by how much of the MCU’s DNA is woven with Downey’s. It is no secret that we are expecting one – if not more than one – of the original Avengers to bite the dust in the sequel. Seeing how integral Downey is to the MCU makes me think that it can’t possibly be Tony that dies in the end. It just can’t be. Which means that the one most likely to die is Cap. Which – of course – sucks. I will never be ready to see Steve Rogers die on screen. Never ever.
- Cap’s beard. One of these days I am going to write an ode to that beard. That beard on that face deserves odes and albums and novels written about it.
- It is a testament to how well Chris Evans and Marvel have done with the Steve Rogers character that you sort of feel like you’re not getting enough of Cap in Infinty War. Sure, he shows up heroically, does his Cap stuff and gives us chills, but he is not given any character moments to delve into. Hopefully those moments will come in the next film, especially those Tony and Steve moments everyone’s been waiting for.
- Cap’s line – “we don’t trade lives” – is a running thread throughout this film: Thanos trades Gamora’s life for the Soul Stone, Strange trades Tony’s with the Time Stone, Vision trades his for the destruction of the stone in his head. Surely with Steve’s imminent doom, the line will be revisited again in the sequel. I won’t be surprised if our heroes will be forced to trade lives again in the end; that Steve – the owner of this line – will be forced to trade lives, and that the life he’ll end up trading will be his own.
- Thor’s scene with the Guardians is so much fun. Comedic-Hemsworth strikes again! Watching him and Chris Pratt spar reemphasises how spot-on Marvel has been in casting these characters. And Thor’s line of taking “I Am Groot” as an elective on Asgard? Perfect.
- Thor in this one is a slight back-tracking of Ragnarok’s Thor, isn’t he? For all the work that Taika Waititi did in Ragnarok to strip Thor of his Shakespearean crutches – no hammer, no cape, no eye – Infinity War gives those crutches back pretty damn quick. If Thor can harness his lightning power in Ragnarok without his hammer, why is the axe so necessary in this one? Why do we have to sit through those boring axe-making sequences? Especially since the axe can’t even kill Thanos in the end? Does this mean it will have some significance further on down the line and be used to kill Thanos for good after he’s rid of the stones? Hopefully this Axe Plot is more than a writer’s case of let’s-find-something-ANYTHING-for-our-main-character-to-do. That scene between Thor and Rocket when the God of Thunder talks of loss and grief and you can see tears glistening in Hemsworth’s eyes? Yes. More of that Thor, please, and less of blacksmith-Thor.
- Gamora’s death – Gamora has never been one of the MCU’s most fully realised female characters. But to kill her off to fuel Peter Quill’s anger and develop Thanos’ ‘human’ side is a bit of a cheap shot. Yes, I understand the need to build up the complexity of the villain, but to do so by using the trope of killing a woman to inspire man-pain is, frankly, disappointing. Marvel can do better.
- The brief time we spend in Wakanda just reminds me of how amazing Black Panther was. I already can’t wait to see Black Panther 2. Like, right now.
- Speaking of Wakanda, the pacing around that part of the film is a bit dodgy. So Steve and co. just show up at T’Challa’s front door knowing full well they’re putting the entire country at risk? And T’Challa is okay with that? When was this discussed? But I know. The film is already two hours and forty-minutes long. Chop, chop.
- How can the children of Thanos locate the infinity stones so easily? How do they know Vision is in Scotland? How do they know he’s being moved to Wakanda? Is there some weird CGI-alien technology we don’t know about that’s at play here? Is that technology simply called Plot Convenience?
- RIP Scarlet Witch’s Sokovian accent.
- The Okoye and Natasha team up is A-plus.
- Considering how sure he is about the Sokovian accords at the end of Civil War, Rhodey’s quick change of heart in the beginning of this film seems….odd and out of character, to say the least. But I guess the plot requires him to get on board with Cap pretty quickly. Again. Two hours and forty-minutes.
- LOVE the nonchalant way everyone in the Wakandan battle just accepts that there’s now a talking raccoon and a talking tree from space in their midst. At one point Bucky even picks Rocket up and spins him around like, Of course I pick up talking racoons with guns all the time, this is completely normal!
- Valkyrie is floating around somewhere in space with a few remaining Asgardian refugees, right? She must be.
- Thank God there’s no more forced Natasha/Bruce romance in this one. Someone please page Hawkeye, because I am always on stand-by to resurrect the Clint/Natasha ship that Joss Whedon unceremoniously burned to ashes in Age of Ultron. (Yes, I’m one of the few annoying people who actually care about Hawkeye and what happened in Budapest.)
- Goodbye, Loki. We know you’re going to die and you really did die. I’ll miss your quips, your gorgeous hair and your entertaining back-and-forth with your brother.
- Peter Parker’s death scene. Tom Holland is excellent. How he clings to Tony and says, “I don’t want to go, I don’t want to go” is just heartbreaking. Ouch, ouch, ouch.
- Pretty cruel that the first person we see ‘die’ at the end is Bucky. When Steve touches the ground where his best friend once stood, I can’t help but think “not again” for poor Steve. Like I said in my Civil War review, Steve’s story is basically him just losing Bucky, him finding Bucky, him losing Bucky, him finding Bucky and him losing Bucky over and over again.
- Doctor Strange sees only one way they can win this fight. We are led to believe that that one way is them tying Thanos up on Titan to get the gauntlet. But what if what’s happening now – Thanos getting all six stones and making people cease to exist with a snap of his fingers – is actually THAT one way? It will explain why Strange trades the Time Stone to save Tony’s life and why he looks resigned when he himself disappears. Perhaps he knows that this is how they must enter the end game if they’re ever going to win.
- The silence during the last sequence – The Leftovers sequence – is quite astonishing and incredibly effective. The Russos are truly on a roll with all their Marvel films. Bravo.
- The post credit scene is one of Marvel’s cooler ones and it makes me intrigued to see Captain Marvel in all her 90s glory. Nick Fury disappearing while saying “motherfucker” is also a lovely treat!
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