Casual Rambling
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Casual Rambling

Movie Review: Avengers Infinity War

Rating: 2 and 1/2 Stars

from Bustle

The prevailing logic in cinema is that unless you’re watching a horror or thriller film, the good guy is most likely going to win by the end. You would be hysteric to spend your hard earned money to see a film where James Bond or Indiana Jones or Ethan Hunt is defeated and the credits roll immediately with no closure. We don’t go to the movies to see our heroes lose.


That being said, there’s more flexibility in a series, where the viewer knows that despite the good guy not succeeding, hope remains because the story isn’t finished yet. (Premiere example: Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)

Avengers Infinity War is in a unique position because comics and the internet exist. It’s obvious that the end of Infinity War isn’t really an ending. Wikipedia can tell you we’ll be right back in the theaters next year for another Avengers film that would assumedly be a direct sequel to Infinity War.

Infinity War is a hard movie to grade on a scale because it’s exhilarating throughout, the pace is frantic, and the plot is simple and never loses you along the way despite an entire universe of superheroes to keep tabs on. All the heroes maintain their charm and fervor which leads to scenes of hilarious banter whether it be Iron Man and Dr. Strange, Thor and Starlord, Iron Man and Spiderman, or anytime Drax has something to say. Drax is the consistent comic relief. (Note on comic relief later.)

Infinity War places a lot of its onus on Marvel’s signature villain, Thanos. If you’re all in on Thanos, then Infinity War is made for you. But if you’re like me and you can’t help but question bad guy philosophy, Thanos is troubling.

(Spoilers Ahead)

Infinity War begins where Thor Ragnarok ends, which luckily for me, I just watched Ragnarok over the weekend (review coming shortly after this). We meet Thanos after capturing the fleeing Asgardians. He’s wiped half of them out. Thor and Loki remain. As predicted, death is no stranger in this film. After a quick fight with Hulk, Thanos asserts his dominance and the Hulk doesn’t stand a chance. Thanos kills Loki and Heimdall. Thor, along with Starlord, become central to the story for vengeful purposes.

From the jump, Thanos is on a quest to gather the Infinity stones. Each stone, created at the beginning of the universe, holds a certain power, making the possessor exponentially more powerful. If Thanos gathers all the stones, he can destroy the universe at the snap of a finger. Here’s where philosophy comes into play.

I’m more sold on Thanos as a villain instead of Ultron, whereas I found Ultron too inept of the superior logic he claimed to have. Thanos is more arrogant in his perceived moral superiority. Thanos claims he destroys half the people of a planet he conquers as a way to free the planet from starvation. The killing Thanos does is random. Rich or poor, bad or good, it doesn’t matter to him. Half the people die, and Thanos moves along liberating the universe from…? Thanos explains that upon destroying half the world, he will finally be able to watch the sunset and be at peace with himself. Pause.

This is where I need to know more. What evidence does Thanos have that killing half the people takes away the suffering of the half still alive? In a society, a power structure is customary and not dependent on the size of the population. Wealth and resources are going to be distributed by the leader. What does Thanos really gain for mass genocide? Villains often have a motivation to have more power or control, or money, or love. What does Thanos really want? What balance is he bringing and what does he achieve by accomplishing his goal? His explanation comes off as trivial to me. I’m left unsure, and that irked me as the film progressed.

Thanos also kills his adopted daughter, Gamora, of the Guardians of the Galaxy, to gather the soul stone. Thanos could only retrieve the stone by sacrificing someone he loves. Gamora was the only person in the universe who fit the bill.

Putting Thanos’s motivations aside, the constant struggle to defeat Thanos kept me on the edge of my seat. A final battle at Wakanda was epic. Peter Jackson would be proud.

One hilarious subplot was between The Hulk and Bruce Banner, now as split personalities. Banner continuously tries to bring the Hulk out but Hulk refuses. One would expect Stark to cook up some Hulk Viagra for the next film.

Infinity War has a tonal struggle where just about every other character has a snarky remark per scene, which is the Marvel brand at this point. In a movie that wants to take itself as seriously as this, there are many times the snide comments feel misplaced or unnecessary. It seems like a reflex reaction in the writer’s room to sneak in sarcasm and wit whenever possible. The tonal differences don’t drag the movie (the occasional laughs are appreciated), but they are noticeable. Comic relief makes sense to me in Thor Ragnarok because that tone is consistent. A world on the brink of destruction is a strange place for Spiderman to be doing his usual schtick.

Speaking of Spiderman, he wins moment of the movie. Dr. Strange is captured and an alien loyal to Thanos is attempting to take his Infinity stone. Iron Man and Spiderman boarded the spaceship to save Dr. Strange. Iron Man incredulously asks Spiderman what his plan is to save Dr. Strange from an alien who basically has force powers. Spiderman references the film Alien, and we get an actual homage to Ridley Scott’s Alien.

How Infinity War ended has me the most perturbed. I go back to The Empire Strikes Back. Skywalker loses his battle against Darth Vader but is saved by Leia at the end of the film. Before the credits roll, the final scene evokes a glimmer of hope that Luke will be back for a final showdown against Vader.

Infinity War ends with Thanos disintegrating half the universe, and we are shown half of the Avengers heroes blown into dust. As I said, you can’t look at Infinity War in a vacuum, but if you did, man… the ending of this film SUCKS. Knowing that there will be a follow-up, I understand that Thanos is supposed to win here.

Infinity War is missing a line or two at the conclusion to sell its audience on having hope. My hope shouldn’t be reliant on the basic instinct that I know there’s another movie coming, the film should give me a concrete reason.

By this point in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, droves flock into the theaters to see the best visual effects, CGI, and superhero fight sequences occur on the big screen. Some invest in the characters that are well fleshed out by intelligent writers and acted by great actors. Others enjoy the fighting, the explosions, the vast array of superpowers. There are the comic loyalists. We all have different opinions on what we expect from the story. What makes sense, what doesn’t. Several people have told me they enjoyed the fact a villain took a definitive win in a movie.

I left the film not on a high, but on a downtrodden disappointed low. I wasn’t disappointed by the quality of the film, but by the fact it didn’t give me anything to believe in.

Within a well-told story, there must be something for a protagonist to overcome. Consider Cool Runnings, the story of the Jamaican bobsled team. The Jamaican bobsled team doesn’t end with a win, they end in a crash. Their heart and their pride inspire the spectators and we as an audience feel happy that the journey we went on with these characters ends with them being revered instead of ridiculed.

If Cool Runnings was set in the Infinity War, half the bobsled team would’ve died. And that’s just not cool.




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J. King

J. King

Not your average Medium rambler

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