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.