Infinity War Never Changes | A discussion of Marvel's latest superhero fest (SPOILERS)


#1

So I just saw the latest in Marvel’s line of superhero romps and I have some thoughts and I kinda want to discuss this with the fine folks of Waypoint dot zone!

I should get it out of the way that I thought this movie was bad, mainly in the wake of Marvel’s last three entries which were some refreshing additions (I’ve watched all three not three weeks ago, so they are still fresh in my mind)


I think the movie started to lose me during the sacrifice of Gamora, which seemed kinda nonsense unless Thanos’ concept of love is just extremely twisted? I’m not sure if original Guardians of the Galaxy explored her relationship with Thanos or I’m just a dummy and this needs to be explained but Thanos crying was maybe the most puzzled I’ve felt watching ten years worth of these movies.

I would’ve liked the final act and the twist if the above was done better, but there was an air of ‘Okay? That’s it?’ in the theater when credits rolled rather than ‘Holy shit?’. Even the post-credit stinger didn’t really do much and this is a theater where most of the people are aware of who Carol is.

I don’t know, I went into it expecting it to be entertaining but kind of a mess like Civil War and Ultron and it’s a fun movie, but this being the payoff after Homecoming, Ragnarok and Black Panther, I’ve actually come away less excited for the next couple of titles they have in the chamber.

The ‘Which master do you serve part?’ was really good, though. I still laugh when I think about it.


#2

I just saw the movie last night and boy do I have thoughts.

1. While I understand that the opening scene needed to establish Thanos’s power and callousness, it did feel a bit much to basically invalidate Thor: Ragnarok. I get Loki dying. His character arc was mostly complete by the end of the last movie, so it made sense. But what about the Asgardian refugees? Valkyrie? Korg? Heimdall?! Hopefully Cate Blanchett’s Hela returns to seek some vengeance in the next Avengers.
2. And killing off most of the Guardians, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, and Spider-Man? Clearly most, if not all, of these deaths will be reversed.
3. That being said, what an ending! The work the movie does to invest the audience in Thanos’s burden really pays off with the snap of his fingers. I honestly believed for a second that Thor had successfully stopped the Mad Titan, what with it being a Marvel movie where some form of status quo must remain. But then the snap, and Thor knowing/asking what he just did. Then the quiet as the new reality sinks in to those who remain. Wow. I knew immediately that this wouldn’t stick, but seeing our son Peter Parker beg, and scream, and apologize in his final moments was still a gut punch. We know that this isn’t permanent, but the characters don’t, and that alone is plenty devastating.
4. Speaking of Thanos, I definitely think he is in the upper tier of villains in the MCU. The movie does a great job of illustrating his motives and the burden he carries. And @arlo, I’m going to have to disagree with you about the Gamora thing. I think that scene illustrates why Thanos is terrifying. He’s not motivated by revenge, hate, or desire for power. No, in that scene we find out what really makes him tick: love. In that scene he becomes the father that knows better for the universe. He’s thought about this issue longer and harder than anyone, and he only sees one solution. He’s clear-eyed and resolute, and in that moment it became clear that he was going to win.
5. Side note, I did love them bringing back the Red Skull as keeper of the Soul Stone. We always need more Hugo Weaving in movies.
6. It feels like each of the Infinity Stones got a chance to show off their power, save for the Soul and Mind Stones. I’m curious how those will play out in the next few movies. I suspect that all the raptured folks are trapped in the Soul Stone, but we shall see.
7. So Strange giving the Time Stone for Tony’s life seemed a bit too telegraphed with the previous scenes where he emphasizes that he would not do that. Combined with Strange looking into the future, you have to think that it’s a gambit for the OG Avengers squad to defeat Thanos next year.
8. The Captain Marvel post-credits scene was pretty fun and got me interested in what that movie is going to be about. I’m really curious why Carol wasn’t in play this movie as I was fully expecting her to make an appearance here, similar to Spidey and T’Challa in Civil War.

Overall I really enjoyed the movie. Maybe once the high wears off the flaws will start to show more, but I do think Marvel did what they needed to with this movie. It definitely feels like the Mass Effect 3 of the MCU, in that story and character are sidelined for payoff after payoff. But I love ME3 and so I think I’m going to keep loving this. 2019 can’t come soon enough!


#3

wow i cant believe captain america just took all his clothes off and challenged thanos to a keg chug


#4

I mostly liked this one - it was fun! I got sucked into the emotional beats! Seeing Red Skull made me audibly say “holy shit!” in the theater. As someone who has read a ton of cosmic-scale superhero crossovers before and knows their beats and rhythms, I appreciated its fidelity to the spirit of its source material.

But, gosh, the way that ending was handled…woof.

I feel like I love and hate the title card turning to ash until you see a single A on a black field, and then even the A disintegrates as a sad piano version of the Avengers theme plods through the silence in equal measure, and that’s emblematic of basically everything I feel about the last 15-20 minutes of the movie.


#5

Further to @Navster’s final point, I honestly spent enough time being confused about blonde Black Widow that I thought Captain Marvel had come in with Captain America.

I just came back from watching it and I feel torn on it. I haven’t been a stickler for keeping up with the Marvel films (hit Spider-Man and Black Panther, missed Thor Ragnarok, Doctor Strange, and Guardians of the Galaxy 2). That in some ways makes this a pretty hard film to grapple with, since it is so reliant on being supported by what is around it.

In my plus column, there really is Thanos. If there’s something that makes this film work by itself, it’s him. The Malthusianism isn’t as worth engaging with as Killmonger’s revolutionary imperialism, but the film does a good job of hanging the rest of the film, which could have been such a mess, around his shoulders. Even if you, like me, had completely forgotten GotG and skipped 2, the introduction you get to Gamora and Thanos’ relationship makes it work.

What it isn’t is that it’s not Black Panther. It doesn’t stand alone and the amount of pre-knowledge you need is rough. It’s better than Civil War (I, er, also skipped Age of Ultron) and might be my favourite of the crossover films, but… it’s still kinda a cross over film.

The only real bum note for me is that I really liked The Winter Soldier and kinda wish the Russo brothers got to make more standalone films rather than wrangling these crossover events together. They were probably necessary, sure, but I want to see them given a smaller canvas to work with again.

P.S. Like everyone else, Red Skull really caught me by surprise.


#6

My expectations for this movie were basically “anime bullshit”, and not much else. The only question was how hard it went in. My yardstick was Endymion no Kiseki, an anime movie that also set out to bring together a large cast for a fan-pleasing crossover extraviganza, and succeeded by sheer force of will. By a refusal to concede to sensibility. By ignoring the voice that says “we could make this simpler”, and instead looking at it’s vast library of Canon as a collection of puzzle peices, or lego bricks. Red Skull’s appearance was exactly that level of Anime Bullshit I was hoping for, and while that was probably the peak of said Bullshit, I was definitely not disapointed. Well inty this flick.

I definitely wasn’t expecting Thanos to be so compelling. He’s brill to watch, and I’m glad they managed to make his internal strife as good as it is without trying to make his viewpoint seem reasonable. It didn’t feel like the film was trying to make the audience think “he has a point”, a tempting shortcut to an engaging villain that backfires when they don’t have a point. Brolin brings an excelent performance to the table.

Despite the obvious jokes about CGI Punching CGI, I happen to quite enjoy good CGI Punching CGI, and I was pretty chuffed with said Punching in this here Punching Movie. In fact, everything looked pretty great, I loved the art design in all the big setpeice environments, and while my favourite might be down to unfair influence(more on that later), both Dwarven Cybertron and the red lake at the end were incredible highlights in a movie with a lot of standouts.

Thanos’ Entourage was pretty fun, I especially enjoyed Voldemort the Psychic, while he lasted.

I swear between Iron Man’s new Anime As Fuck Nanomachine Suit and the Hulkbuster there’s a conceited effort to shift the oveton window for Anime Mechs in western cinema to the point where they can just make an actual Mecha Anime movie in the MCU and it would feel 100% in place. Am down for this, in case it wasn’t obvious.

The humor was very Marvel™, which is to say it was pretty rigid and plainly structured and relied a lot on unexcted normalcy and Pop Culture. Which isn’t a dig, to be clear, I thaught it was a really funny movie! You can see the bones of Marvel’s patented brand of humor, but it still works, perhaps even better than it usually does thanks to the sheer ammount of stuff it has to pull from for setups. But if Marvel Humor doesn’t usually land for you then you probably aint gonna get much from this movie.

Something that was very distracting to me, though likely only thanks to my overactive imagination: My first thaught at the start of the fantastic Soulstone sequence was that the whole scenary looked hella Dark Souls 3. The Darksign Sun, the sea of ash, the mountain in the center like a monument to Lothric, right down to the the Soul theming. I genuinely thaught for a while that they were gonna drop a bombshell and say Dark Souls was canon to the MCU, the planet a husk left over from DS3’s ending, the significance of souls a result of the Soulstone. I haven’t been that entertainingly confused since Spectre had Bond meet the Big Bad in a dark room with a meteor and I 100% thought they were gonna out Bond as an alien. Naturally being a big-ass Dark Souls nerd I think this whole sequence was my favourite in terms of art design.

I was actually super impressed by the ending, though I get why not everyone is down with it. The feeling I got watching after Thanos snaps his fingers was unlike anything I’d ever experienced in cinema before. Being left hanging for long enough that as reality sinks in slowly, I didn’t know how to react. And that was brill in the moment. I’m gonna see it again, so I’ll be interested to find out if it works as well without the surprise.

Though assuming that the deaths in the ending sequence are grouped together in a fashion to suggest they are likely “reversable”, in whatever way, I was glad that it wasn’t too trigger-happy with who they “perma-killed”. Loki made sense, following Ragnarok, I think he’s gone through all the character development he could have done. Sure he could have hung around and maybe found another arc later, but this was probably the better narrative choice. He had a great run. Heimdall I could have put money on, knowing what Idris had said on the matter(he wouldn’t have done Ragnarok if he’d had to wear the old costume), but I still liked the lad, so that one hurt.

Gamora was a surprise, and all things considered I think I’d probably be a bit mad if it wasn’t for how good all her scenes were. Like, the Soulstone sequence really is a standout, but also her part of the plot is, in order: Crying about Thanos fake-dieing and getting captured, capitulating to her sister being tortured, and dieing to further Thanos’ character development. Like, I get that it’s a movie fitting a lot in, and a lot of characters are left comparatively dry by nececity; Cap, Bucky, Nat, Sam, hell, a LOT of major players streight up don’t get character arcs, they’re just Present and Accounted For. But it still sticks out. And those good scenes could have been even better if they felt as much like Gamora’s as they do Thanos’. Hopefully at least Nebula gets more spotlight as a result though, 'cos I like Nebula, and it would be nice to get Good Things.

All things considered, I’m pretty excited for Captain Marvel now. It’s not like the movie did much beyond the credits sequence to work towards getting me excited, but I suppose I’m just full of renewed interest in the future of this Universe now. I dig it.

So those are my disconnected thoughts on the whole affair. It’s good! I enjoyed it a great deal! A lot of it’s flaws were to be expected from the sheer scale of the thing, and I think it compensated for that inevitability really well. It’s a great fanservice movie that didn’t need to be much more, but tried nonetheless and came out pretty well. Well up for my second viewing.

God, this post was long.


#7

@Navster Yeah I like your point on Gamora! I’m having a good time reading the other opinions on this thread and providing perspective on some story beats. I still haven’t come around to the film but I wonder if a second watch when it comes out on digital would make me look at it differently.

I totally missed that Red Skull part though. That’s actually really cool and I’m mad I didn’t realize it was him.

A thing I’m curious about is what they do in Ant-Man and Wasp now since it’s basically some ‘Raw after WrestleMania’ stuff and I’m interested in how they plan to untangle what happened in Infinity War.

I also found out the final scene in the movie was shot in the Philippines which is pretty rad (Maybe the biggest movie thing here since Apocalypse Now?)


#8

I am honestly really curious about this. I think Captain Marvel is a flashback film, but how do you do a goofy heist story after half the world died?


#9

I watched this having seen about three of the other films in the MCU (Iron Man, GotG, and Thor Ragnarok [primarily for Taika]). Entertaining enough, with occasional extra humour / confusion at moments such as the one I described as “Elizabeth Olsen lasering the Darth Maul looking man’s forehead while crying”; also the Edinburgh chippy showing American news on an extravagantly large plasma screen.

I’m genuinely ashamed I missed Tobias Funke


#10

Right? Ant-Man following Ultron was okay and it was a serviceable comedy but this is now one of the most critical junctures in the MCU and I wasn’t expecting that. I imagine them explaining Lang’s absence in Infinity War in the beginning of Ant-Man and Wasp but I can’t imagine them making just a heist / comedy movie without giving Lang, Hope and Pym some significant character arcs and situations to setup Infinity War 2.


#11

To be fair, there’s gonna be some unlucky instiututions that are suddenly left severely understaffed on the security front.


#12

I gave up on watching Marvel movies, but I came back for Black Panther and Thor Ragnarok. Both those movies were still disappointing to me, but I really appreciated BP’s representation and Thor’s humor. I was hoping Infinity War would make some everlasting changes to the fiction, something I’ve felt has been avoided this whole 10 years.

Now I fear Disney has no intention to do so. The most disappointing moment in the movie for me was when Thor got his eye back. I feel like that one detail fully encapsulates their unwillingness to commit to any kind of consequences. I can envision almost everything being reversed in the next film.

Also, Thanos is so incredibly boring. I find nothing interesting about the villain archetype of “I’m actually good because I’m saving by killing” especially as presented here.


#13

Everything cool that GOTG2, Thor Ragnarok, and Black Panther did to be genuinely great movies that cleverly leveraged the MCU backdrop to facilitate meaningful character arcs and resonant thematic ideas, was…just, squandered for the sake of recreating a hokey comic book cliffhanger.

It’s going to be a bummer revisiting those movies and feeling like every tangible accomplishment just won’t matter in the long run.


#14

I genuinely don’t remember the last time I watched a movie and felt myself physically tense up for such prolonged stretches.

This movie is an astonishing feat that is completely built on everything established by the prior films. It doesn’t work on its own at all, but it also doesn’t have to. It’s the beginning to a season finale. Characters not having time to have much in terms of arcs on their own isn’t a problem, as their arcs over the last 10 years have building towards this.

I’m… I’m feeling pretty stunned.


#15

I think it was genuinely effective. But I also think, as someone who is well versed in “event comics,” that basically everything the movie is doing will be pretty effectively reversed by the sequel.

We’ve established that death can be wound back in time - we’ve established that there’s a right-hand gauntlet - we’ve established that there’s a bunch of really pissed-off Avengers and who knows besides. Unless Marvel has some serious ace up their sleeve that’ll actually, genuinely effect the universe’s status quo, the ending to Part 2 is going to be all but set in stone. Err. Pardon the pun.

I think, perhaps, Marvel has done too good a job of capturing the spirit of their comic books, and especially in establishing what the stakes are upfront and trying to carry that momentum for a whole film - it feels less like a movie and more like a page-turning volume, all revelation, all climactic battle, no “plot”, per se. Which makes for a fun time! Maybe even a good time! But it feels too flashy, like it’s all gusto and no weight.

Also, and this is petty, but I’m confused about the logistics of Thanos’ plan. I get that he’s like a fascist Hitler-type who thinks there’s such a thing as a “random” genocide and that destroying one set of lives is necessary to protect the other set of lives, but surely having control over the entirety of time, space, and reality would give him maybe a bit more imagination? He seems genuinely burdened with the guilt of his actions, so what motivates him to destroy life rather than, say, create a universe in which life can perfectly sustain itself sans loss? And also, he seems to claim that life will outlive its resources - surely life is a resource? We see that sentient life has been erased, but are we okay with, like, livestock? Plantlife? Groot is erased - is Groot not as much a tree as he is a person? Besides which, I always imagined the Infinity Gauntlet would erase life from existence itself - as if it was never there at all. Does Thanos genuinely think his work is done? That a team called the Avengers won’t… avenge? Also what the fuck is up with Red Skull? Was he bought back to the beginning of the universe to guard over the Soul stone? Cos he only touched the Tesseract moments before Cap was frozen - why is he speaking like he’s been there for eons? WHY WAS THAT ONE GUY CLEARLY A VOLDEMORT BUT TONY CALLED HIM A SQUIDWARD??

Ok. That was a lot. If anyone thinks they have answers for those questions, do fill me in. Especially that last one.


#16

WILL GROOT’S ARM STILL FORM THE HANDLE OF THOR’S AXE OR WHAT


#17

My interpritation of Thanos’ motivations was that it’s kind of a spiritual thing, from his perspective. You know when you say something stupid when you’re quite young, and immediately everyone turns to you and is like “yo that was fuckin’ dumb”, but you just double down on it endlessly, and whenever someone brings it up you absolutely INSIST that you were right? I think Thanos is that but scaled up. His mad plan was rejected en masse, and rather than confront that he doubled down. But he’s not a kid and it wasn’t just a dumb thing he said, it was an action with consequences. Which only served to make his doubling down escelate. He’s been around for a long time, and he’s got lost in the fiction that he’s created around his original decision. It’s no longer just a bad idea he had, it’s become integral to his entire existance. It’s a fundimental beleif, the core tennet of what’s ended up a religion built around his own refusal to consider that he could be wrong.

Which is why I think it works so well, because that’s exactly the way a lot of current-era shitheels get lost in their particular denomination of hellspawn. We talk a lot about the people in these groups that will never be talked out of it, that can’t even consider the possibility that their life is built on complete bullshit beleifs, ones that sounded “logical” when they were in high school. Thanos is all that, but (literally) bigger, and on a much longer timescale.


#18

I suppose absolute power corrupts absolutely. And I appreciate that he’s not “just” evil - his line that he’ll wake up, at the end of it all, to a new sunrise and the universe’s thanks, is powerful characterization. I just feel somewhat like Thanos is a boring Green Lantern; like, he lacks imagination.

I also feel like understanding Thanos’ motivations are important, considering they’re sort of… the movie.


#19

I mean, I get the criticism against the death. Gamora was one of the few women of color in the MCU, and seeing her and Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie eat it felt like Hollywood disappointing us as usual. So yeah, while it felt earned in the story, on a meta level it was some bullshit.


#20

I’ve been thinking a lot about Thanos in the film (and only doubling down on my view that he is the core of the film’s narrative), and its becoming harder not to read him with an angle towards toxic masculinity and becoming blinkered in one’s own ideology.

In particular, the combination of an inability to critique his own thought and his ‘rational’ Malthusianism. His goal is to acquire six magical rocks that, combined, can do anything – and, asking the big question of long-term viability in the universe, responds with death instead of using it to create abundance. That speaks volumes into how set he is in his ways and how unwilling he is to back down from a path he’s on.

(If this isn’t spoilered enough, sorry – just let me know!)