Avengers: Infinity War
Updated: Mar 22, 2019
Ah, the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Considered a milestone in overarching filmmaking, it tied all the films made under its umbrella together to provide a cohesive and massive comic book movie experience. In addition to bringing to life some of Marvel’s most memorable heroes, including Iron Man, Spider-Man, Captain America, Thor and the Hulk, some of its more obscure heroes, such as Doctor Strange, Black Panther, and the Guardians of the Galaxy, were given the spotlight with such good storytelling, strong characteristics, and memorable performances, that they have become near household names. Let’s just say that they were given the cinematic green thumb.
Well, where we’re at, all of these fruitful artistic explorations have all built up to this:
Avengers: Infinity War.
This was the film where almost all the Marvel heroes who have wowed audiences with their own films have gathered together all in one movie. Here, they banded together to face off against the biggest threat they have ever faced: Thanos.
What’s happening was, Thanos was set to collect six Infinity Stones, all of which were spread out across the universe and all of them harnessing a unique power of their own. If he collected all six of the stones and placed them in his gauntlet glove, he would control the universe and wipe out half of all life within it. So, it was up to the many superheroes who knew of this plan, from Thor, the Hulk, Captain America and Black Panther, to Iron Man, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and the Guardians of the Galaxy, to put an end to his destructively hungry pursuits once and for all.
As you could tell, the story was surprisingly simple, and because half the time, it shifted its focus from one superhero to another before the final battle, it also became a little jumbled, narratively. However, what it lacked in its storytelling fluidity, it made up for dearly with its characters and its visuals.
The battle sequences, for instance, were some of the grandest that I’ve ever seen, arguably in filmmaking history. They all gave off a sense that the very nature of the universe itself was at stake, and that many sacrifices had to be made in order for the fight to be won. The first time I saw this movie, I saw it in theaters with my family, and the size of the many fights that ensued got me sucked into the action as I hoped against hope for the superheroes to win, no matter what. I’d say that they were right up there with Star Wars and even Lord of the Rings in terms of epic scopes and the sheer spectacle, they were so huge.
One particular aspect of this movie that my parents and I remembered with such fondness was the main villain himself, Thanos. He can be menacing, and his strength further proved him to be a force to be reckoned with. In the beginning of the movie, I saw him massacre half of the Asgardians aboard the Statesman – I’ll elaborate on that soon – and even beat down the Hulk, almost without breaking a sweat. As the movie went on, however, as dangerous and monstrous as he was, I was shown sides of him that felt surprisingly human.
In his pursuit for the Infinity Stones, he expressed a deep bond with Gamora, one of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and also his adoptive daughter, and was torn when he had to sacrifice her for one of the stones, the Soul Stone. He still sacrificed her for the stone, but I, the viewer, found out how it broke his heart to do that, as he clearly wept over the idea of sacrificing the one thing – or the one person – that he loved to get what he was after.
Later on, it turned out that Thanos wanted to collect all the Infinity Stones because he thought that the population in the universe has grown and expanded beyond its control, and so, by collecting all the stones, he believed that wiping half of it all out would restore peace and balance to the universe. His reasons for collecting them seemed highly unorthodox and crazy, but you could almost see where he’s coming from. These aspects all gave him a complexity that might have never been expressed before, at least, not through comic book villains, with such striking and effective implicitness. And, they left me viewing Thanos as one of the most dangerous, but also one of the most surprisingly humanized villains I’ve ever seen. And the visual effects made on him really brought him to life like you wouldn't believe. He didn't feel like a CGI character at all; most of the time, whenever he's onscreen, it felt like he really was there. It was totally worth all the buildup centered around him from the other Marvel movies.
Speaking of which, all the superheroes who have shown up in this movie were really fun. They all had unique characteristics that bounced off of each other with ease, or with slight mockery in some cases, resulting in some really priceless interactions between them. For instance, Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, joined the Avengers in the fight while also acting like a number one fan to some of the heroes, mostly Iron Man. Doctor Strange and Iron Man both started off on the wrong foot a little with their cocky attitudes clashing against each other in debate over what the next logical step should be in taking down Thanos. Thor and the Guardians of the Galaxy both discussed in interesting detail about their connections with Thanos, along with some nice bits of comedy thrown in, too, in the form of Peter Quill, the leader of the gang, trying to emulate Thor’s rough and mighty voice and passing it off as his own. Peter Quill also had another great collaboration moment later on when he, a big fan of classic rock tunes, spoke with pop culture enthusiast Peter Parker about Footloose. Huh, and just now I found out they’re both named Peter. Go figure! Later on, we get a taste of Black Panther, as he and the Wakandans collaborated with Captain America, Falcon, and the Hulk, among others, in getting the Mind Stone out of Vision’s forehead before Thanos could reach it.
Long story short, every superhero who had a role in this movie had a chance to leave memorable impressions in their own way without being overwhelmed by the others, and they were just irresistible to watch because of it.
However, for all of its charm, epic battles and interesting motives, it also came with unexpectedly bleak moments. Besides the sacrifice of Gamora, one of the most infamous parts of the movie was the ending.
Thanos not only succeeded in collecting all six of the Infinity Stones, but he even succeeded in wiping out half of all life in the universe in just one snap. Because of this, some of the superheroes we came to know and love including Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther, and many others, have all turned into dust before our very eyes. Even in the post-credit scene, Nick Fury, the director of SHIELD, crumbled to dust, too. Fortunately, the only reassurement I got out of this whole ordeal was that Fury didn’t entirely turn to dust before sending a distress call to who turned out to be an old friend of his: Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel.
The ending has become so infamous it has practically crawled its way into pop culture and memetic status. “I don’t feel so good”, was one of the phrases from the ending that became one of the most highly used memes now. In fact, the more I thought about it, do you remember what I said about Walt Disney and how he didn’t treat his own kids like fragile flowers in life or in the movies? Well, the reason I bring that up is because even though Disney, which owns this movie, looks like some money-making machine right now, movies like this and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story before it (also because of its ending) have used tactics that hearken back to that filmmaking philosophy. Never mind that these movies are PG-13. Think about it. Walt Disney himself was the same guy who approved of:
The Pleasure Island sequence from Pinocchio, in all its visceral horror
The deaths of both Bambi’s mother and Old Yeller
These elements all showed us the more uncompromising sides of life – even if some of it was just under fantastical lens – and none of them ever talked down to children or adults.
When I saw Infinity War's ending in theaters, I reacted differently to it. In all honesty, I thought I was still at the middle of the movie by the time the drastic effects kicked in, and I thought to myself,
This doesn’t look good. Well, maybe it’s just a phase. Things will get better soon.
But then, the first end credit showed up, and I was like,
Wait. That’s it? That’s really it? I have to watch the next movie to catch on to the rest of the story?
I guess you could say I was that invested in the movie, and that it did that good a job in sucking me into the action. But at the same time, I did remember at that point that this was supposed to be Part One of a two-part movie, the second part being Avengers: Endgame, so I should’ve seen that coming.
Now, being that this was part of the intended culmination of everything that the MCU established before, I wasn't very familiar with everything that occurred in the movie. The only movies from the MCU I saw before this one were Iron Man, the first Avengers, and of course, Black Panther. So once I pondered over Infinity War after seeing it in theaters last year, I decided to add this to my bucket list:
Watch every movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the proper order before Captain Marvel.
Well, in the past eight months, I just went ahead and saw all the MCU movies, from Iron Man straight to Infinity War again. And not too long before I wrote this review, I finally watched the latest movie, Ant-Man and the Wasp, which I thought was slightly better than the first Ant-Man. Which means...
That leads me to discuss with you about this. Since I have seen Infinity War both before and after seeing all of the MCU movies, what would be the best way to see it? Well, personally, it would be a lot easier to follow and understand if you watch the other MCU movies before Infinity War. Even though at first glance, these movies seemed to stand on their own or were part of tinier franchises of their own, they also all played a part in how things will have unfolded in Infinity War and Endgame. Some of them, of course, left bigger overarching narrative contributions than others. So, after doing some contemplative cherry-picking, I’ve sorted out a list of at least six MCU movies – almost all of which are just amazing in their own right, I assure you – that I would insistently recommend you see before diving into Infinity War:
The first two Avengers movies - that goes without saying.
The first two Guardians of the Galaxy movies - like I said, the characters from those movies played a huge role in this one.
Captain America: Civil War - this movie was more subtle in its huge contributions than the others, so watching this movie could help fill in some gaps as far as divisions among the superheroes are concerned.
Thor: Ragnarok - remember me mentioning the slaughter of half the Asgardians? Well, it makes this movie a borderline requirement; Infinity War picks up precisely where this film left off.
Now, I do acknowledge that it would be weird to watch the last two movies on their own when they’re technically the third films of their respective franchises, so whatever other movies from the MCU besides these six that you want to see before Infinity War is up to you. If you are considering watching all of the movies from the MCU before Infinity War, then that would be a huge plus.
To say that Avengers: Infinity War was a visual and emotional blast might be just putting it mildly. This movie has been in the works for ten years, ten years of the MCU’s existence at this point, and the payoff was just insurmountable. This was quite a moviegoing experience, whether it was based off of comics at all or not, and if you’re in the know about what is going on in this movie's universe, then buckle up and enjoy the ride. This isn’t a cinematic marvel for nothing.
For those of you who are all caught up, are you ready for Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame? I know I am!