This is one of those rare “event movies” I’ve talked about before. They don’t happen very often, but when they do, they’re fun.
Avengers Infinity War is the culmination of the entire MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), encompassing 10 years and 19 movies, the vast majority of which were actually good. An impressive feat, never before done in Hollywood history.
As usual, I will not spoil anything major in this review, but there will be minor spoilers, just enough to explain my opinions.
What I Liked
1. Tons of characters, all managed very well. This movie did a surprisingly good job at managing a huge amount of big characters and letting them all get in their beats (with just a few exceptions I’ll talk about in a minute). The only movie I’ve ever seen do this better is X-Men 2, but it was still very impressive.
2. Finally! Fantastic villains! Marvel movies almost always have crappy villains, but they finally made a few that were interesting. Thanos is the best villain in the entire MCU, and most of the movie was about him(!), which was a good thing(!). Ebony Maw (the alien wizard guy) was also superb as a villain, and I wish the movie showed more of him.
3. Doctor Strange and Iron Man, the two biggest Alpha Male jerks in the MCU, were really fun to watch together. They argued and got legitimately upset at each other. Loved it. Doctor Strange is my second favorite character in the MCU after Captain America.
4. Great action and direction, but still not as good as the action in Winter Soldier or Civil War, even though all three of these movies had the same directors (the Russo Brothers). Civil War is still my favorite MCU movie by far, as I talked about here, but Infinity War’s action was still fantastic.
5. Elizabeth Olsen and Scarlett Johansson are hot and they’re both in this movie. Although Scarlett is starting to lose her looks just a little bit, and for some bizarre reason, they removed Olsen’s Eastern European accent from her character. Why? What a dumb lack of simple continuity.
6. A very cool MCU villain returns as a big surprise. One MCU villain I’ve been hoping returns does so in this movie, and in a way you don’t expect. It as a gasp! moment. I won’t spoil who it is, but if you’ve seen the movie already, you know who I’m talking about. Very cool.
7. The events of Civil War were respected. One of my concerns about this movie was that it would take all of the events of Civil War and just reset them like they didn’t happen, something the MCU does too often (as well as many other sci-fi franchises like Star Trek, Star Wars, Dr. Who, and so on). Thankfully, that doesn’t happen. Captain America and Iron Man still have a huge problem with each other, and Captain America’s team are still wanted criminals. Nice.
8. Finally! A darker tone! My one complaint about the MCU is that it’s too happy and funny. Everyone loved Thor Ragnarok, and it was an entertaining movie I guess, but I just couldn’t enjoy it because it was way too silly to take seriously. (“My hammer got destroyed! Haha! Funny!” “My eye got gouged out! Haha! Funny!” “My whole planet exploded! Haha! Funny!”)
When I saw the trailers for Age of Ultron, I got really excited. Finally, the MCU was going to present some dark tones with real stakes. But no, that movie was just as silly and happy as the rest. Fuck!
But thankfully, Infinity War finally makes good on the promise made by the advertising for Age of Ultron. This movie is dark, right from the very first scene. While the DC movie universe is too dark, this movie struck just the right tone of dark plus some fun. You can have both.
What I Didn’t Like
1. Captain America is seriously shortchanged. He is, or at least has become, the most intresting character in the entire MCU, and in this movie he is given pretty much nothing to do. I realize it’s hard to give everyone their character beats in a movie this crowded, but that’s no excuse; they could have given him 30-60 seconds of some real character moments, and they didn’t in this movie. Oh well; my guess is he’ll have more screen time in the part two, which is coming out next year.
2. Bruce banner has become a joke. Bruce Banner is one of the most complex and dark characters in all of Marvel Comics, and Thor Ragnarok and this movie turn him into a stupid and comedic character which doesn’t at all match the true character he is, as portrayed in the comics and in the movies Incredible Hulk and the first Avengers movie. It’s sad they’ve murdered such an interesting character like this, just to get more laughs. C’mon Marvel, funny shit is what Thor and the Guardians of the Galaxy are for, not Bruce Banner!
3. The Peter Dinklage scene took me out of the movie. There’s a scene with Peter Dinklage and it’s way too meta; it takes you out of the movie and doesn’t match anything else that’s going on. I love Dinklage as much as the next guy but the way they shoved him in this movie was a mistake.
4. Biggest problem: As always, death is meaningless. I read and collected comic books when I was a kid, but I never bought any superhero comics (with a tiny few exceptions like The Punisher). The reason was that superheroes never die. It was stupid. Superheroes are in constant danger for years, even decades, and yet they never die, because they can’t (they’d have to cancel their comic run). It takes out all the stakes and risk in your storytelling. Even on the rare occasions they do die, it’s all bullshit, because you know they’re going to come back, every time. Comic book companies made assloads off stupid comic book fans when they “killed” Superman and later “killed” Captain America. Of course they brought both of those characters back, as I knew they would.
The comics I read when I was a kid were the more adult ones like Aliens, The Adventurers, Robotech, and so on, where main characters actually died and never came back. That’s real storytelling, at least to me.
The Marvel movies suffer the same problem. No one ever dies. If someone “dies” (as Loki has many times), it’s bullshit because you know they’ll just come back in a later movie.
So yeah, in Infinity War, several main characters die, but most of them die in ways you know they’re going to come back. So instead of gasping with surprise, I just shrugged. Hey, if this was Lost or Game of Thrones, then I’d be impressed, but it’s not. It’s Marvel.
That being said, some very surprising things occur with this in the movie that were pretty ballsy and that I wasn’t expecting.
So that’s the movie. On the overall, it’s very good and I recommend it.
As a side point, my recent decision to see much less movies has really worked out for me. I’m not seeing nearly as much movies, but the few I am seeing I really like. For example, the last three movies I’ve seen (Infinity War, A Quiet Place, and Ready Player One) I all really liked. I don’t think I’ve actually liked three movies in a row in many years. Good job, Caleb!