Avengers: Infinity War Has Something For (Almost) Everyone
In so many conversations on this podcast, the Marvel Cinematic Universe organically enters conversation, and I think that might be the same on any movie podcast out there. It’s a behemoth in the industry, and Marvel Studios undeniably deserves credit for wrangling it into this state. With the release of Avengers: Infinity War, we decided to postpone our much anticipated fan-elected Galaxy Quest episode to tear into this cinematic delight of heroic proportions.
Full disclosure, we intended for this episode to drop last week, right when the film was released. Unfortunately, a family emergency delayed our schedule.
So what do I think of Avengers: Infinity War? In my opinion, Infinity War takes the MCU and redefines the concept of a serialized franchise-sequel and pushes the craft of superhero storytelling into a new territory.
Lots of Avengers, Lots of Narrative
Okay, it might be exaggerating to say this is a new type of sequel, but this film is dependent on a decade of work that covers multiple film series underneath an umbrella title. We’ve seen connected universes and serialized films, but I can’t think of a close analog. I believe you can make an argument for the Star Trek and Star Wars films, but they’re not as cohesive.
Honestly, this is all familiar to how television works. Better yet, this is the formula that made the comic book boom of the 80s and 90s rise and fall. It would be folly for every studio to pursue a franchise like this — which maybe they can catch on to any day now — but Marvel has done it well.
With so many movies in this universe, many people went to the theater having seen anywhere from one to all of the MCU pictures. Everyone has their favorites, and we all want to see them interact. This runs a danger of feeling stale, weird, or uncomfortable, while also coming off as safe.
In fact, a lot of us went into Infinity War knowing what will happen, we said. We know who will die, we said. We were wrong, for the most part. That’s because Marvel took what we were predicting and flipped it upside in a way. There’s a newness to the whole thing — a bit of unpredictability we’re not used to in Marvel movies.
Is Marvel Trying Something New?
Now, that in itself isn’t new storytelling, but this movie ends up with a large meta-tie-in to the real world. We know which actors have extended and expiring contracts and that the newer films that were smash hits will have a few more iterations before their characters are really written off. But we don’t know how that will all play out in the end, and for all we know, things COULD be dramatically different next time around.
What worked for me, even though I was bummed about it, is that we get an Empire Strikes Back ending. It not only asks the audience to wait a whole year for the follow up, but to be left analyzing and discussing a dozen scenarios that will leave them wanting more.
What’s best is that the characters you’ve come to love in their home franchises feel like themselves, and the story still feels character driven. The exchanges with Drax, Peter Quill, and Tony Stark will have you rolling. The film definitely leans on the cosmic a lot, which I absolutely love. This means we finally get a sense of who Thanos is, what drives him, and how he isn’t just another CGI Big Bad. There is a sequence with Thanos that might sway you somewhat, realizing he’s taken on a heavy task here.
Infinity War has moments of laughter and moments that thrill, but best of all it has emotional resonance. There are a few emotional gut punches, and I think a few of the actors push their characters to new heights performance wise.
Where Infinity War Falters
Of course, Infinity War is not perfect. It’s a long movie — if you’re not grabbed by it, it’ll probably feel excruciatingly long. To be fair, that’s how all of these big tent pole comic book films are. We focus in on some characters who haven’t been interesting before, so they stay only marginally interesting now. Try as much as you want, Marvel, I’ll only be so excited about Vision. He hasn’t grabbed me as interesting in any of these movies yet. I like the choices that have to be made here, but I’m not crazy about that specific plot line. We should have had a lot more Captain America in this movie — something tells me he’ll have plenty of room next film.
My final complaint is that while Thanos is impressive, the plan he has isn’t completely logical for we the viewer. There are probably a dozen other paths he could use to reach his goal, but you gotta do you, I guess.
In my opinion, Infinity War will be my favorite Avengers-branded movie for a while. There are better MCU movies, but this is what I want out of a big, beefy team-up movie.
Max is a marketing copywriter by day, filmmaker and screenwriter by night. He resides in Charlotte, NC, and loves his dogs, watching movies, building LEGO sets, and eating food. Lots of food.You can find Max at his personal website and twitter.