“I’m Paul Barlow, and this is my daughter Jo.”

“Malone.”

“You got a first name?”

“Yeah.”

Avengers: Infinity War

(Honestly it would be hard to spoil everything major that happens in this movie, because it’s hard to keep track of it all. But this review is loose and reckless with SPOILERS)

I learned in 2012 when THE AVENGERS came out to never underestimate Marvel. So on the third AVENGERS movie, INFINITY WAR, I figured they could pull it off – they could combine most of the main characters developed over 17 previous movies (people from the IRON MAN movies, THE INCREDIBLE HULK, the CAPTAIN AMERICA movies, the THOR movies, the AVENGERS movies, the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY movies, DOCTOR STRANGE, SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING and BLACK PANTHER) into one big super hero monster mash. But back when I had first learned that lesson, when they introduced the purple CGI space monster villain Thanos after the credits, I gotta admit I was still skeptical. I didn’t know how they were gonna make that guy cool.

They did it. To me he’s their best villain outside of Killmonger. It’s a cliche to say that comic book characters are the Greek gods of the modern age, but Thanos (Josh Brolin, JONAH HEX) is the villain that most lives up to that description. In fact, one minor problem I had with the movie is that he seems so convincingly powerful I wondered what the hell the Avengers and the Guardians thought they were doing repeatedly going after him. Like, come on Star Lord (Chris Pratt, ZERO DARK THIRTY), why are you pointing a laser gun at this guy and acting like that’s gonna do anything? Are you stupid?

This all-powerfulness is enhanced by an operatic backstory of tragedy. Not, like, the kind of thing that makes you forgive him for scheming to kill exactly 50% of the universe to create “balance.” But the kind of thing where you understand why he has this misguided point of view that that would help people. Sort of along the lines of a Magneto or an Eva Green in 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE, but scarier, so I’m not about to start rooting for him. He’s amazing because we watch him outsmart, outmagic and outmuscle all these characters we’ve gotten to know over a period of years, in some cases cruelly, even murdering some with his own hands, rarely letting them feel like they have a chance. And then we watch him sit down in what seems to be his backyard, on his porch, and think about what he’s done, and smile. And it’s not an evil smile. It’s a smile of satisfaction. He really believes he’s done the right thing.

And he looks cool. So do most of his henchmen, who he sends around to get the infinity stones to power his infinity gauntlet, which in my opinion is one of the most powerful gauntlets because most gauntlets do not control all of reality, time, souls, minds, etc. The henchmen are his kids I guess. The most prominent one is apparently called “Ebony Maw” (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor) and he does a good job of making you want him to get crunched, but he’s my least favorite. I have to confess a prejudice against monsters without noses. But I have a couple of sexy Cenobites from the movie HELLRAISER: INFERNO (from the director of DOCTOR STRANGE) that I would like to introduce him to.

The other ones are cool though, and I don’t think this is necessarily a popular opinion, but I really like where the mocap technology has gotten to, creating these fantasy paintings made “flesh,” very realistic yet very exaggerated digital characters like the big orcs in the HOBBIT pictures, or the ones in WARCRAFT, or these guys. And Thanos is the best example of it, the dream of the Zemeckis mo-cap movies fulfilled, a character that is both animation and a recognizable acting performance by Brolin. It seems to be his eyes and his expressions and gestures but in this gigantic body. An elaborate digital makeup job.

I like the way he towers over them all, the way he can palm their heads, his bulbous fingers really looking like they’re touching the actors, pressing hard on them, showing that he could crack their little skulls if he squeezed just a little harder. And imagine being punched with those fists!

This must be the most action packed Marvel movie so far, with complex super power battles unheard of in the past. We have a bunch of people who can fly, swing around, shoot lasers or webs or glowing magic totems. People who have super strength and/or speed, can shoot lightning, create shields, and whatever the other powers are, we probly don’t need to list all of them. Check the internet.

It’s all exciting and visceral – I’m not saying it’s an indecipherable blur to me like the first couples TRANSFORMERSes – but it’s much more chaotic and coherent than I prefer. They’re all zipping around so fast and there are so many characters involved and if it’s the responsibility of the filmatists (directors Anthony and Joe Russo, who did WELCOME TO COLLINWOOD and the second and third CAPTAIN AMERICAs) to find some way to make this all easy to track, I do not feel they fully live up to that responsibility. I remember a part where Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch, WAR HORSE)’s cape flew in and wrapped itself around someone to pull them safely away from Thanos, and it was really cool, but I never figured out who it was that was saved. In another part I was thrilled enough to cheer when fave characters Okoye (Danai Gurira, MY SOUL TO TAKE) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson, THE SPIRIT) stood ready to fight together, and then a little disappointed when I was not sure what either of them did in the fight.

But when there’s a coordinated plan to pile onto the motherfucker with ten different attacks and try to yank that damn glove off of him it finally does feel like maybe it would be possible to beat this guy. Or come close. Or kinda close. If a certain character didn’t fuck it up. I know you are emotional but shame on you, certain character.

IMDb doesn’t list the second unit director, but I assume it’s Sam Hargrave, who was the Captain America stunt double in WINTER SOLDIER and then fight/stunt coordinator for CIVIL WAR and this. This seems back to the shaky style of WINTER SOLDIER, not as careful as CIVIL WAR, which I’m guessing is the choice of the Russos since it’s so opposite Hargrave’s style as action director of WOLF WARRIOR 2 and especially ATOMIC BLONDE. I felt this approach was most effective in the early fight outside Strange’s house in New York – there’s a kind of feeling of being in the middle of a disaster with the ground rumbling and the horizon crumbling and a chance that something is gonna come flying at you as you turn the corner.

By the way, who exactly are “The Avengers” at this point? I know at the end of CIVIL WAR there was a specific lineup of up-and-comers, but they never really got an adventure and I’m not sure everybody working together counts as being Avengers or if it’s just cooperation between Avengers and civilians. No time for labels these days I guess. And super heroism is fluid.

Jesus christ, there is no succinct way to get into this thing, so I think I just have to start listing some of the characters. It starts with Thor (Chris Hemsworth, BLACKHAT), who recently graduated from easily-the-worst-Marvel-series to almost-the-best-character just by having a funny, colorful part 3 that took advantage of the actor’s humor. He gets the honor of introducing the Guardians of the Galaxy to the rest of the Marvel universe. It’s a testament to the versatile transmutability of these movies that the hero from the bland fantasy directed by Kenneth Branagh fits right in with the goofy space misfits (a wisecracker, a muscle man, a tree, a raccoon, etc.).

The Guardians are central to the story, because remember Gamora (Zoe Saldana, COLOMBIANA) and Nebula (Karen Gillan, THE BIG SHORT) are both daughters and sworn enemies of Thanos. Which turns out to mean they were kidnapped by him, I guess? Most of the movie seems to follow their jokes-within-drama lead, but they get some of the best of it. Drax (Dave Bautista, THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS) gets one of the biggest laughs and Gamora the most drama.

Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo, COLLATERAL) is the one who gets to warn the Earth. I’m unclear if he intentionally landed in Dr. Strange’s house. Strange is… not in my top five characters, but I like how he brings magic into all this, he plays a crucial role in the ending, and since his story was a little too similar to Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr., NATURAL BORN KILLERS) it makes sense that they meet and hate each other.

Since Stark has been around the longest (by my count this is his ninth film) he’s the most over-exposed, but he’s still making me laugh. I do object to him now having nano-tech suits. I understand why it’s convenient for the filmatists to not have to have him wearing a metal thing all the time, but what happened to Wakanda’s vibranium advantage? Now it seems like they have the same technology.

Man, his first scene really seems to be laying on the Goose-in-TOP-GUN shit. Talking about marriage, babies. If he does die in part 4 I predict/hope for a post-credits scene where Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow, SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW) has his baby and then a posthumous Tony Stark hologram appears to explain that he left an Iron Baby suit and then it says IRON BABY WILL RETURN IN IRON MAN 4: AGE OF THE IRON BABY.

Little Peter Parker (Tom Holland, LOCKE) is still a delight. I love that his friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) is so thrilled by the opportunity to “create a distraction.” And when Tony declared Peter an Avenger and he lit up that was pretty sweet… for like a second, and then I remembered that Peter’s great achievement in HOMECOMING was turning down being an Avenger. Also, when he says he can’t be a friendly neighborhood Spider-man if there’s no neighborhood it does make sense. But in Tony’s presence he says that it doesn’t make sense. I hope he’s able to get a better role model. Maybe Shuri (Letitia Wright, THE COMMUTER) would hang out with him.

Speaking of which, I got actual goosebumps when I realized they were going to Wakanda. Is it just me, though, or did the Russos not shoot it as well as Ryan Coogler? Coogler made it more colorful, more beautiful, I swear. The Wakandans don’t have a complex role, but since their movie is still playing in theaters that’s fine, that seems fair. And there’s a great moment of brotherhood between T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman, GET ON UP) and M’Baku (Winston Duke). Also I like when he gives Bucky a.k.a. White Wolf (Sebastian Stan, RICKI AND THE FLASH) his robot arm. It’s like his son has been grounded for a while but he’s proven his responsibility and gets the car keys back.

The action movie style first appearance of Steve America (Chris Evans, BATTLE FOR TERRA) – a silhouette appearing after a subway passes – was another thrilling moment. He’s my pick for most consistent series, and I love that now he’s a rogue going around in a darker clothes with a beard and his cool team of Black Widow and Falcon (Anthony Mackie, TRIPLE 9). Those two, unfortunately, get a little short-changed. Mostly just flying or GHOST IN THE SHELL tough girl walking next to Steve. Widow’s greatest moments are getting to hug people she hasn’t seen in a long time. I mean that sincerely, those are good moments.

I’ve never really gotten into Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen, OLDBOY). Olsen is good in other stuff, but this character has only really had melodrama, she doesn’t get funny or human moments like all the other characters, her powers don’t seem that distinguishable from other magic powers, and somebody pointed out “why doesn’t she try to destroy the stones on the gauntlet instead of the one on her boyfriend” and I thought “yeah.” And her boyfriend (Paul Bettany, PRIEST) looked better when he wore sweaters.

ENDING SPOILER STUFF

It was cool to see this with an excited crowd of what sounded like largely teenage girls gasping as major characters seemingly died. To my surprise the biggest reaction was for T’Challa! There were sobs. For me this was the “don’t worry, everything’s okay” moment because what kind of a fool do you take me for that I’m gonna believe they’d kill off the stars of the highest grossing super hero movie of all time before said movie has even left theaters? Come on, dude.

I love that post-credits scene because I actually asked during the credits “Where was Nick Fury during all this?” and then there he was, and for a second I thought this was telling us that the next one would start with Fury (Samuel L. Jackson, THE RETURN OF SUPERFLY) and Hill (Cobie Smulders, JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK) trying to figure out what happened here. (But… nope.)

I have read that in the comic book story Nebula ends up with the gauntlet and uses it to resurrect everyone. I’m sure it’ll be more complicated than that. I’m theorizing that all the raptured people still live, but in a different reality than the ones that weren’t. I was leaning toward the “survivors” being the ones who actually were taken away, and on the other reality they will be dead or… get this… recast! Because there are fewer of them and they’re mostly the veteran characters who are not gonna want to keep doing this forever. On the other hand, they’re planning a Black Widow movie, and why would you recast Okoye already, and aren’t they gonna want to do another Chris Hemsworth THOR now that they figured out how to make those great?

Whatever it is, Doctor Strange knows what he’s doing, he saw the possible futures and that giving Thanos the time stone was the one in fourteen million that would work, so everything’s gonna be okay for most of these fictional characters. Don’t worry about it. Still, this is the first real EMPIRE STRIKES BACK of the Marvel Universe, the one that ends with a serious loss and cliffhanger. Though it doesn’t have Yoda. Or Lando. Or Ugnaughts.

I really enjoyed this one, but it’s a unique novelty where you’re not gonna get as much out of it (and maybe won’t be able to make heads or tails of it) if you haven’t seen all or most of the other Marvel movies so that you can be excited to see the characters together and find out what happens with the ones that are intersecting for the first time. Having said that, the main thing I was looking forward to in this movie was finding out what Tony Stark would say to a talking raccoon, but the two never even ended up on the same planet. So this is NOT my INFINITY WAR.

#NotMyInfinityWar #InfinitySore #InfinitySnore #InfinityNeedsMore #BoycottDisney #CallDisneyandHangUp #StayAtaRegularHotelWhenYouGoToDisneylandNotaDisneyHotel #FartWhenYouAreAtDisneylandItIsaProtestofInfinityWar

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Monday, April 30th, 2018 at 12:49 pm and is filed under Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

80 Responses to “Avengers: Infinity War”

  1. SPOILERS but I’m calling it that the Red Skull cameo is showing us how they’re gonna send off Steve and Tony in A4. They’re gonna give them bittersweet but happy-ish endings, sending them into time-pockets to eternally guard the Infinity Stones. Iron Man is gonna be at his wedding forever, Steve is gonna be dancing with Peggy in a ballroom or whatever. They’ll tie off their stories, leaving it open for a cameo by not having them stabbed and bleeding out or whatever. Red Skull gets a shitty mountain cos he’s bad, Steve and Tony will relive their happiest day ever over and over in one of those happy endings that’ll make me cry but is a bit spooky when you think about it. This movie ended on a bummer so A4 will be the anti-bummer, just IMO.

    Anyway, I’m pretty amazed with the MCU at the moment. I used to really dislike them, thought they were anti-cinema, too televisual. But 10 movies in they had my grudging respect that they’d kept the plates spinning. But I really think they’ve upped their game in Phase 3, and kept on identifying and fixing their weak spots, to the point that a series I spent years deriding as astonishingly drab put out GOTG2 and Thor 3 are some of the nicest looking blockbusters in years.

    The big weak point as of phrase 3 is still the action, or the fights specifically, which were a huge black mark on Panther especially – I thought the fights there suffered from how Thor/Cap got the odd wide shot here or there to show off the fancy hammer/shield throws, and when they scaled it back to just fists or regular weapons the action ended up playing to all their weaknesses (like Lupita does loads of cool shit, nailing someone in the eye with the stiletto, disarming MBJ by wedging his sword under her armpit, but they don’t really let you see it!). But the fights were solid here, I hope it is a turning point. The Hulk/Thanos fight is definitely the MCU’s best fist-fight. And having the aim of the big show-down being to stop him closing his fist, or to delay him just long enough to mean you get to kill your bf before he can, is such a smart way to build drama and hammer home the threat and that they really just can’t take this guy. Loved it.

  2. “somebody pointed out ‘why doesn’t she try to destroy the stones on the gauntlet instead of the one on her boyfriend’ and I thought ‘yeah.’”

    They say specifically that the only reason she can destroy Vision’s stone is because that’s the stone that was used to create her superpowers. She’s like an anecdote that contains trace elements of the poison. There’s no reason to believe her powers would work on any of the other stones.

    Anyway, this was the first good time I had at the movies this year, and it was made even better by the weeping children I heard in the theater during the end credits. That’s some great parenting right there. “Yes, honey, I know you’re traumatized and trapped in a dark room with a bunch of strangers, but Daddy needs you to just sit there and cry quietly for nine more minutes so he can see if there’s a teaser for ANT-MAN 2.”

  3. *antidote

    Fuck spellcheck in my opinion

  4. That is a good spot Majestyk, hadn’t picked that up myself. BTW Vern, on the subject of stuff the movie almost explains, I think we’re meant to assume Stark got the suit nanotech from Shuri, as part of the science exchange. Not sure if you missed it but during the wizard fight in the first act he explains that he compliments his own suit and explains that he ‘picked up the tech from…’ but gets cut off by something falling on him or whatever.

    So I guess it’ll pay off that he and Shuri have been swapping tech in the next movie, (if they want it to), which at a stretch further supports the speculation that’s been about that Shuri might end up the MCU’s take on RiRi Williams, aka Ironheart. I know that ppl are split on that as they see it as reducing by one the number of roles in the MCU for black women, but I don’t think anyone could begrudge Wright a vehicle of her own cos she was, MBJ aside, the stand-out in BP!.

  5. Man i need to start proof-reading my own posts better, sorry everyone.

  6. @Majestyk also she had to focus her power pretty hard while Vision held still for her, even if her power would have worked on the other stones Thanos wasn’t about to just chill while she gave it a shot.

  7. (SPOILERS) this was a fun and rewarding part 1 of a story The MCU has building to for a decade. I am excited to see how they wrap things up in part 2. I do think that everybody that turned to dust will all return and things will be corrected once someone else gets control of the gauntlet. They just had to clear the playing field to set the stage for the OG Avengers to (possibly sacrifice themselves) save the day.

    I like Steven’s idea about how they can write off Stark, and Rodgers but still bring them back in the future. It is kind of how Marvel wrote the Fantastic Four out of the comics. Make them galactic guardians you rarely see busy with thier hands full protecting all of existence not just earth.

    Vern, you are half right about nick fury. The CAPTIN MARVEL movie that is coming out before IW 2 is a prequel that takes place in the 90’s and features fury and shield, so he will be instrumental in setting up Captin Marvel and her role in IW 2.

  8. SPOILERS, SPOILERS, SPOILERS!!!!! Vision is an underdeveloped character that I don’t really care about, (SPOILERS……… I warned you) but his death might be one of the most cruel and heart breaking moments in all of the MCU. He and Wanda share this painful and touching moment where she honors his request to kill him out of love, and she does it dispite the heartbreak it causes her only to then have to witness Thanos reverse her choice and bring him back from the dead so she can watch Thanos brutally murder him in front of her.

  9. Thanks for the explanations. There’s obviously alot of stuff going on here, and dialogue I couldn’t make out because of laughter and what not.

    I watched part of the first AVENGERS on cable last night and I was struck by how much more clear martial arts they have in that than the later movies. Everyone remembers the later battle against cgi aliens, but there’s a bunch of shit with Scarlett Johansson stunt doubles beating up spies and stuff.

  10. “why doesn’t she try to destroy the stones on the gauntlet instead of the one on her boyfriend” and I thought “yeah.”

    Well, because she’s not all-powerful, and her boyfriend was LETTING her destroy the stone, and it was just one stone.

    Come on, Vern. I’m not a Marvel aficionado, but it took me the time I scrolled down to reply (about a second) to easily answer that one.

  11. And also, if you noticed, she wasn’t even able to immediately destroy the stone. She was using all her power, but then had to divert her attention to slowing down Thanos from getting to her, and that was just for ONE stone…and yet we’re supposed to wonder why she couldn’t destroy ALL of the stones in his gauntlet before he got to her?

    As Biff said “Think, McFly, think.”

  12. **SPOILERS**

    “But when there’s a coordinated plan to pile onto the motherfucker with ten different attacks and try to yank that damn glove off of him it finally does feel like maybe it would be possible to beat this guy. Or come close. Or kinda close. If a certain character didn’t fuck it up. I know you are emotional but shame on you, certain character.”

    I have to give Quill a break about this. Sure, he’s an emotional guy who just got the news that this asshole killed the woman he loves, but the fact that he actually tried to go through with the promise he made to her to kill her, gives him some room to screw up in my book. Besides, I think if Tony had just stuck with Peter (the Spiderman one, not the Starlord one) on trying to pry the gauntlet off, instead of stopping to go calm down Quill, they might have done it.

    I liked the balance they struck between them saving their friends despite it possibly having dire consequences for the universe and sacrificing themselves/friends.

    I was very impressed with the look of Thanos. It felt like I was watching Josh Brolin, not a cartoon baddie. The only time I thought the effects looked bad was at the end when they were all standing around and Bruce was a tiny head inside the big, metal Hulk suit.

  13. Maggie,

    (SPOILERS, and not the kind you find on a car. SPOILERS) Star Lord had to loose his temper, he was destined to ruin thier shot at defeating Thanos. Remember Strange told Tony he went into the future and viewed all possible outcomes and there way only one where the good guys won, and later when he sacrificed himself and volunteered the Infiniti stone in exchange for Tony’s life he reminded him that it was the one way. Everything that has happened needed to be for them to peruse the one possible outcome where they defeat Thanos and save the day. Star Lord just played his part.

  14. *only way

  15. I liked it a lot. The other three I was with felt it was too predictable, dragged in the middle, didn’t care about Thanos and thought the ending was dumb because it sets up another movie. While maybe they are right, they are also missing the point and i am glad I had other friends that weren’t giant buzz kills.

    My only complaint was lack of Cap but they will definitely make it up to me in the next one.

    Also, I don’t know Ms Marvel is but she better be cool.

  16. For the first time ever here on the internet I am about to share my prediction for how this all ends, based on my epiphany that since this is a two-part movie, some of the payoffs at the end of the next one will be from setups in Act 1 of this one:

    The ending of the next one will involve Tony Stark (who Doctor Strange made a point to save bc “It was the only way” to get to the future where the heroes win) getting his hands on the Infinity Gauntlet. He will try using it to undo all the shit Thanos did, but because he is just a puny human being (and the Gauntlet is made for a Thanos-sized person) he won’t be able to wield it alone. Cue Captain America stepping up to help, because Act 1 of this movie sets up that they are estranged and Tony is ready to reconcile, but never pays it off. BOOM: working together they undo the damage, even though it means sacrificing themselves in the process. FRIENDSHIP! Roll credits, tears, etc. Then the post-credit scenes hint at the characters being reborn somehow. Cue recasting. And the Marvel ship sails ever onwards.

  17. MB – That seems a little overboard. I missed the explanation (which Majestyk shared above – it was because that stone was responsible for her powers). I hope you can some day forgive me.

    Maggie – Ha ha, I noticed that funny Bruce-head shot too. And I agree, the way Steve stuck with his convictions about not sacrificing lives (as he had already done with Bucky) was really cool.

    Daniel – That all sounds pretty plausible.

  18. I’ve had a mixed relationship with these MCU films. Some of them I really enjoy, like IRON MAN 1 and the CAPTAIN AMERICA TRILOGY; other are pretty solid, like a couple of the THORS and SPIDER-MAN and DOCTOR STRANGE; others, like INCREDIBLE HULK and AVENGERS 1 and IM2-3 were pretty disappointing. Still have not seen BLACK PANTHER, but plan to rent.

    I think I loved INFINITY WAR. The characters, dialogue, punch lines, subplots, worlds and locales, heart, and Thanos are all wonderful. The film really knows and loves this universe, and each character comes through as the character we love from his/her/its stand-alone film. There’s a definite affection for each character and little sub-world, and they’re knitted together tremendously well. I think the GOTG characters and THOR (and Peter Dinklage!) pretty much steal the show, but I also like the Dr. Strange-Tony Stark chemistry. If you’ve been watching and enjoying a decent percentage of these films, I don’t see how you can’t be having a ball with this. Thoroughly entertained.

    Only thing I still do not get is Mark Ruffalo as Banner. Hulk is my dude, but something about Ruffalo’s Banner is just almost cartoonish in his whole tortured soul, nervous hand-gesticulation energy is just laughable to me. I don’t really care for Ruffalo-faced Hulk either. I don’t think they’ve ever really gotten that character right, in my opinion. I will say this: Ruffalo was born to play Columbo, so if that much-hyped Columbo movie they keep (never) talking about comes through, there will be a good use of Mark Ruffalo.

  19. This movie rules, felt at times like watching an (actually good) live action DRAGON BALL Z movie.

  20. I wish we as society can stop being such pansies about spoilers. If you are worried, stay off social media. It’s not life or death.

  21. I’ll comment further later. But I was also thrown off/mostly underwhelmed with the action sequences. Most of the action sqeuences seemed more winter soldier than civil war, imo.

  22. Just watched it for a second time. My favorite scene is Thor talking with Rocket about everything he lost, but how he’s going to defeat Thanos anyway. Perfect character moment. It’s crazy how much he’s grown into the role, and how the Marvel crew has finally learned to make the most Hemsworth.

  23. Without having seen the movie, I think it’s weird that whole world seems to go crazy over a cliffhanger, that sure as hell will be retconned in the next part. Oh god, this might be the point when Marvel meets their first huge backlash! I don’t wanna be on the internet when this happens!

  24. I think people are understandably crazy about the cliffhanger not because they buy it, but because it toyed with their expectations. I didn’t see it coming, so I give it some props, and the pay off is that they can make a tighter part 2 so I’ll give them a pass happily. People thought Iron Man or Cap were gonna get shown the door, instead what we got was a means to give us the true classic line-up for the next movie.

    So I think it isn’t so much a twist for its own sake, cos we know the implications are short-lived, but a pretty clever contrivance that sets up a streamlined part 2, that can focus on the classic characters without having to diminish the new core team of Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Black Panther by having them on the sidelines.

    It means we get a A4 that can function as a send-off for the old line-up, while keeping the powder dry for the first big post-Avengers 4 team up with the new characters. I think not doing this would have made it harder along the line to shake the idea of the post-RDJ/Evans MCU as the b-team.

    On another note, unless my memory is off I think Quill can be excused for punching Thanos: Looks to me like Doctor Strange set things off on a specific timeline, just one 1 out of 14 million, in which everything has to happen just-so, lest Thanos win. As such I don’t think it is a stretch to assume that there are timelines in which Quill did exercise restraint, but in doing so set things down the wrong path. Which I suppose means they were never gonna get the glove off, or kept off. This effectively complicates the question of whether Quill is meaningfully exercising free will there.

    That said it was a long movie and I may well be mis-remembering the point at which Dr Strange clips through the different timelines. If that happens after Quill punches Thanos then ignore all this, lol.

  25. I just have a really hard time with these superhero mash-up films and the fight scenes. I just have a hard time watching Hulk and Thor fight beside Black Widow and Hawkeye (I know he isn’t in this, but you get my point). Or Superman fighting alongside Batman for that matter. And fighting these indestructible Gods. Punch, punch, punch, throw em against the wall, toss them in the air like a rag doll. And at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. The fights are just meaningless, acrobatic acts.

    For me, the least interesting stuff in this movie were the action scenes. Every scene of dialogue was far more entertaining and interesting. Iron Man talking to Dr. Strange, Thor interacting with the Guardians, etc. All of this stuff was great.

    And it is time to acknowledge that Dave Bautista is by far the funniest of all the Marvel actors. Maybe he is just the beneficiary of great writing, but he really knocks it out of the park every time he is on screen. Please get him The Rock’s agent already.

  26. Vern that is a really cool idea about a sudden, mindfuck recasting of the principle characters. If they really lean into the “infinite” aspect of the concept and have them hurtling thru different universes (wasn’t there a storyline in the books called Crisis On Infinite Earths? or was that DC?) i will be very on board. Familiar actors teaming up with their new, younger doppelgangers or revisiting famous sequences from the previous films but “remixed”… it could be pretty sweet. Also sounds way too creative and involved for Disney but what are ya gonna do. Prove me wrong, Disney.

    I believe I have now seen 9/19ths of the Marvel product available for my consumption. This one felt like the most expensive troll of conspiracy theorists the world will ever see, but then again, I tend to read way too deeply into these monolothically distributed opportunities for corporate messaging— or, “movies” if you prefer

  27. As others have pointed out, Dr. Strange mentioned a few times in the final part of the film that this was “the only way”. Pretty gutsy of him committing to a plan that would “dust” him (no matter how temporary). The setup scene of him scanning the possible timelines ends with his “only one” comment. The next time we return to that group is when Thanos arrives on Titan and Strange is there to confront him. So we don’t know how much he told Stark or any of the others.

    Thanos without the gauntlet is still powerful enough to beat them all, so “de-gloving” him was not a guarantee of anything…

  28. The Squidward comment really did it for me and my three sons. But we were the only ones laughing in a packed cinema, so…

  29. My audience erupted when Black Widow and Okoye teamed up to fight whatsherface. Shit was electric, it’s going to be a fight for the ages….and then, uh…yeah I’m not sure what happened because it cut away and then two seconds later I know how whatsherface died but I don’t remember there being an actual fight in between. And no, this wasn’t a “funny ha ha” blueball tease like Godzilla 2014, I think the movie is just so damn stuffed with incident that they just didn’t have the time or effort to flesh out things that weren’t 100% in service of the story. It’s too much steak and not enough sizzle or whatever the metaphor is.

    I mean say what you will about Zack Snyder, but he never would have let that shit happen. The 3 (or 4?)-way ladies fight would have been bombastic, hyper-stylized, and drag on a little too long, and I would have loved every second of it. That being said, this is a solid 3ish star film, an entertaining, well-paced, mostly engaging movie that is miraculously coherent and does a damn good job of juggling its 9000 characters. I just wish it had one action sequence worth rewatching again. I mean, the airport fight in Civil War is hard to top, but nothing here even beats the modest terrorist camp escape in the original Iron Man in terms of excitement and emotional stakes. The story is so front-and-center that the action is honestly perfunctory and that’s fine but not how i prefer my big summer action movies.

    *SPOILERS* I did like the movie but my two main complaints are 1) the cliffhanger does ring hollow, sorry. The only ones who “sell” it are Spider-Man and Tony, and I know the other characters are too in shock to say much, but after EVERYTHING that happened in the other 3 Captain American movies, you figure Steve would have had more of a reaction to Bucky “dying” in front of him. Also, to everyone complaining that those curmudgeons in the audience not moved by the ending have no emotion or ability to suspend disbelief like the cool kids who cried at the end, I’m pretty sure most people who disliked the end can suspend disbelief, including most of my audience who gasped at Loki and Gamora’s death, or Iron Man’s false-death, but stayed completely silent at the end. Because those earlier deaths seemed real. There’s just something so over-the-top, so BIG about the ending that you just know “ok, this is clearly going to be reversed”, and I honestly don’t know how it can be done without seeming like a giant cheat.

    2) The Peter/Gamora “shoot me” scene was great. Emotional, powerful, and unexpected considering how so much surrounding those characters has been centered in humor. So it’s too bad that moment is kinda drowned out by similar moments OVER AND OVER AND OVER again. I think someone pointed out people have to make a hard decision/sacrifice EIGHT TIMES in this movie. It’s interesting as a theme (especially when the villain has hsi own sacrifice scene as well) but also a little repetitive and tedious to watch. We could have cut out a couple of these moments but what do I know.

  30. I disagree. I like that it’s a giant Big Gulp cup movie with an actual, honest-to-god theme that it is willing to explicate in multiple variations with differing outcomes and morals. Is it always the right thing to do to refuse to sacrifice anyone for the greater good? This movie isn’t going to tell you. It’s going to show you how multiple characters (even the villain) deal with that conundrum and let you make up your own mind. This movie didn’t need to have ANYTHING on its mind to be a success, so for it to devote so much of its incredibly valuable running time to such a heavy topic, and to not handwave it away with a pat resolution, is some kind of miracle.

    You guys can talk all you want about how the execution of some of the moments in the film was lacking, but I’m slightly in awe of the writing that allowed all of those moments to happen in ways that felt so natural. For something so big and so sprawling and with so much potential for last-minute post-production jiggerypokery, it’s a really impressive feat. SHIT IS SO TIGHT. Like, BACK TO THE FUTURE tight. HOT FUZZ tight. Not Shane Black tight because nobody’s that tight. But tight.

  31. *SPOILERS*

    Neal – even though I knew it was going to be “fixed” in the next movie, I still had tears streaming down my face and was holding my breath to keep from making embarrassing noises when Peter falls into Tony’s arms and keeps saying, “I don’t want to leave.” I’m not saying everyone has to have this reaction. I’m just saying it struck something in me to see a kid basically begging his mentor to save him and there being nothing the mentor could do, even with the knowledge that it wasn’t going to stick. I’m starting to get a little watery just typing this out.

  32. I like that the next movie is a breezy Ant Man movie. It’s so TV of them to follow up a heavy mythology movie with a lighter tone.

  33. The fight with Thanos on titan is probably the best fight in the movie. It was more comic book in its aethestics, and not as punchy because of all the spells and things. How the Russo’s shoot the lead up to the first confrontation in NYC was well done.

    I’m firmly on the ending won’t age well train because it’s hard to buy because so many people, especially the ones who are newer characters and are likely getting sequels. I had a hard time buying it at the time. Many in the audience just sorta went silent or questioning it. I’m sure some kids bought it. Okay, that’s fine they’re kids. Everyone wants to compare that ending to THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. The EMPIRE STRIKES BACK ending didn’t get completely reversed, and still works as affecting for all viewer demos…not just kids. Peter’s end was well done and shot well though.

    I’m sorry anybody who liked the Vision and Scarlett Witch stuff because I didn’t, and didn’t care. Dude you were basically a computer program/upgrade Siri like 2-3 movies ago. Now we’re supposed to get invested in your “love” with Scarlett Witch, who also has had little character development up til now. Vision was more interesting when he was Jarvis. Plus, they’d already done the someone has to kill/sacrifice someone they love for the greater good except it’s foiled numerous times before–Thanos running Quill’s gun from shooting lasers to blowing bubbles. The only person who succeeded was Thanos, as he did kill Gomora.

    Gamora’s character development, especially with Thanos, by comparison was executed much, much better.

    Obviously, there’s lots of characters making stupid decisions for the plot–Starlord is an obvious one, but what exactly was Thor doing? Capt called everyone to his position, and Thor still didn’t show up until way after the remaining strong Thanos goons were dead and Thanos had gotten all the stones. (BTW, the female goon….awful CGI)

    Maybe I’m getting tired of Chris Pratt, but I found him the most annoying and unlikeable he’s been in any of the guardians movies in this movie. Everytime he has to nail big emotional moments, I only ever feel like he maybe gets 70% of the way there, and I’m get the feeling like I’m supposed grade him on a curve or something whenever his lack of range/moves comes up. A few of the character dynamics of the guardians group felt off to me–like Mantis dropping a Kevin Bacon reference, when she’s only been hanging out with them since Guardians 2, and I don’t think Kevin Bacon and the 6 degrees game was ever a thing until well after Quill left earth…and no way she or anyone on that crew would’ve seen the movies anyway.

    I thought the Strange, Spiderman, Stark grouping worked well. This movie made me way more optimistic about Strange in future Marvel movies than DR. STRANGE did. (DR. STRANGE, aka a poorly remixed version of IRON MAN with some attempts at trippy visuals.) Tom Holland is probably the best spiderman I’ve seen on screen. Rocket, Thor, and Groot were a good duo. People seemed to like them the most. I did too, but maybe they could’ve sped up Thor getting the axe, that was one of the only sections that dragged a tad (along with Vision and Scarlett Witch, which really did.)

    In my theater, Captain America probably got the biggest positive reaction, though Thor was a close #2 for when he showed up in Wakanda.

  34. “she’s only been hanging out with them since Guardians 2”

    GUARDIANS 2 took place five years ago, though.

  35. Really? How did you work that out? Regardless, I think my Kevin Bacon point stands.

    I should add, since I didn’t state it in my earlier comments: I enjoyed the movie. In my head, it’s around Capt. America Civil War level. If I’m down on it some, it’s because BLACK PANTHER, GUARDIANS VOL. 2, and THOR: RAGNAROK were better, imo. Thanos is probably top 3 for marvel villains–and Brolin/their team did a good job of giving him believable emotion, when he does kind of have a ridiculous look–basically a purple bricked up strength coach with a chin that fits the Starlord joke.

  36. *SPOILERS* The cliff hanger worked for me because I didn’t expect them to go THAT far with it, I was guessing the movie was going to end with Thanos completing the Infinity Gauntlet, not actually using it, while yeah you know the characters will be back it was still shocking to seem them turn to ash and float away.

  37. The Winchester

    May 1st, 2018 at 6:32 pm

    I predict (said in Amazing Crisswell voice)…

    Kevin Bacon will show up in the next one to complete the gag that he is an avenger.

    And Vern, the 2nd Unit Director was Alexander Witt (Resident Evil: Apocalypse)

  38. I’m so glad all the folks here are mature enough to understand how the cliffhanger will be resolved, yet can still appreciate the emotion of it.

    Spoilers for anyone who’s read this far into the comments but is still avoiding spoilers.

    Vern, I also like how it ended with Thanos just sitting with what he’s done. Of course we don’t think the MCU is just gonna stay dark, but to even take the time to let the villain think about what he’s done is significant.

  39. Popping back to say, I thought this movie was surprisingly intense in places. The MCU seems to have found a way to cheat the ratings board, cos you can apparently inflict any amount of damage on cyber-bodies no matter how human they are. That isn’t a new thing, but the violence seems more visceral than, say, Vader getting a robo arm lopped off in ROTJ.

    The torture scene with Nebula was really gnarly imo. I’ve watched endless amounts of filth so should be desensitised but seeing it in 3D took me aback a bit – I definitely think it stood as the most hardcore moment in the MCU up to that point.

    The big surprise for me was Vision’s death. Being slowly euthanised by the only person you’ve ever loved is intense enough – not least when you’ve been shown to be the sweetest and most gentle character in the entire series – but having that count for nothing only for you to be brought back to get your brain ripped out of your skull was something else, metal af.

    The emotional stakes give it a far more deep-seated darkness IMO than anything the much grittier DCEU has attempted. I wonder what all the kids made of it, me aged 10 would’ve been really torn up I think. But yeah that’s why i disagree with some of the people i’ve seen (not talking about anyone here) saying the movie was safe, corporate product. I think that stuff was ballsy, especially for its audience.

    Finally as well, I live in Scotland and the Olsen/Bettany Edinburgh scene gets a lot of laughs here because of the takeaway sign saying ‘WE’LL DEEP-FRY YOUR KEBAB’. It is a lovely nod and some set-designer out there has a good sense of humour and knows how to do their job. Scotland thanks you.

  40. Brian: Well, James Gunn has said as much, and the year is confirmed by the onscreen graphics at the beginning of the movie. That’s why Groot is still a baby. It’s only a few months after the end of the first one.

    But I’m sorry, I don’t think your point stands at all. Quill clearly loves telling tall tales about the pop culture heroes of his youth. He’s depicted doing it several times. I don’t think it’s a stretch at all to think that the close friends he spends every waking minute trapped on a small spaceship with might have heard tell of the one they call Kevin Bacon at one time or another over the course of five long years.

  41. Especially since Footloose is his favorite movie

  42. One of my favorite parts was his face when Peter Parker said, “Like in FOOTLOOSE?”

  43. Mine too. “Is it still the best movie ever?” “It never was.”

    BrianB, you probably don’t remember, but Quill’s love of Kevin Bacon and Footloose was introduced in the first Guardians of the Galaxy. He describes the plot of Footloose to Gamora — “In it, a great hero, named Kevin Bacon, teaches an entire city full of people with sticks up their butts that, dancing, well, is the greatest thing there is” — and later Gamora celebrates a victory by saying “We’re just like Kevin Bacon!” So it makes the *most sense* that Mantis would drop that Earth reference, of any Earth reference there is.

  44. You got me. I’m wrong. Good points, fellas. Plus, Mantis, being an empath, would’ve connected with those strong feelings from them, which only makes my wrongness more obvious.

  45. I guess for me it says something that in Wanda/Vision’s first scene here, I bought them more as a couple than I ever did with Hulk/Black Widow in all of AGE OF ULTRON’s running time (and maybe it says something the Russos might agree considering after that “awkward!” joke following their first meeting in several years….movie chugs along and not brought up again. I wouldn’t be shocked if they had more scenes that got cut for timing plus who cares?) Chalk it up to chemistry between Bettany and Liz, I suppose. (Ruffalo and ScarJo are good actors, but they didn’t have romantic chemistry.)

    Speaking of ANT-MAN & THE WASP, that last trailer was delightful. I enjoyed the first movie (which Vern sadly never reviewed) as a long lost Amblin-type picture but already the sequel is better marketed the first one ever was.

    Also now I want my own giant arm playing the drums.

  46. As for that ending, that one complaint some people have about that ending that I’ve seen here….logically you’re not wrong at all. So here’s the ten dollar question: why did it provoke such strong emotions (from anger to anguish to bafflement) anyway from countless screening reports I’ve read online and not just the one I went to last week? Why even among fans (the sort who always show up for opening day for comic book movies like I do) who know that comic storyline and probably should’ve expected it and still it blew their minds? Granted you can point to the acting or the payoff considering some characters’ attachment to others. Or the fact that the corpses include many people that folks online in their deadpools didn’t bet on happening. OK some truth to that, but that still doesn’t answer my question.

    I think the answer is simple: the totality of it. All these spandex movies when they usually end on a downer, the narrative/filmmaker puts a hand on your shoulder to reassure you that it’ll be OK. Think about it. BVS after Superman dies? Well Batman is less psycho and now he and Wonder Woman are assembling their own superhero team. X2 after Jean Grey dies? Well the world keeps spinning, hopefully a better one for Mutants now. The best example is probably THE DARK KNIGHT Which (thanks to Hans Zimmer music and that ending Gary Oldman monologue) ends on a high triumphant note despite the fact that you know Batman beat Joker but his girlfriend got blown up, Harvey Dent had his tragic downfall, and he’s now a fugitive from the law and no longer the adoring public’s champion.

    I mean fuck even EMPIRE STRIKES BACK which people keep citing when talking about IW, Luke still gets a new arm prosthetic and back with the rebels and Lando/Chewie will be chasing after TV dinner Han. Its a bittersweet ending with promises that shit will get better.

    Here in IW you don’t get that. At fucking all. Like THE LAST JEDI last year, IW really tries to fuck with your expectations, especially with an audience that’s been ritualized to kinda know what to expect in the 3rd acts for these movies* (and not just MCU joints.) The moment when it seems all hope is lost, UNTIL…you know that drill. So many false hopes dashed in IW. (Its why I find Gamora’s death, albeit well telegraphed from the start, sad. The poor girl actually thought she beat Thanos before her death.) The last one with Thor with that desperate attack at the end…and then Thanos snaps his fingers. Oh shit, HE DID IT. He actually did it. The heroes lost, the cosmic culling happens. Thanos is at peace, and that’s it. The end. No hints of how (or even if) this mess can be fixed.

    Oh sure the post-credits scene you’re finally given some flash of hope and in an alternate ending of IW, that could’ve been THE ending just to give folks leaving the theater the reassurance. but here’s the thing about post-credits scenes. They’re addendums to the story (or should just be anyway) as in the story ended when the credits started rolling. AVENGERS ended with the heroes splitting up, they might team up again someday. You don’t need to know that (1) oh Thanos was the one who gave Loki his magic staff and army and (2) the Avengers had lunch after saving NYC. Likewise in the past, FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF ended when our hero has his day off and gets away with it. You don’t need to know that the defeated Principal is further humiliated by an oblivious charitable school bus driver or that Ferris told the audience to go home.

    Regarding talking about whether this ending lacks bite because “oh they’re coming back.” Well some of them sure, but some might not. (I’m willing to bet money now that if Gamora returns, it won’t be until GOTGv3. Gives James Gunn a hook for his own trilogy conclusion.) One thing about modern Internet that annoys me is this idea now that “deaths=stakes.” The missing stage in that equation though is if you’re gonna pull that trigger, make it count. I would argue the same as well if you’re going to undo that. It’s not easy, but not impossible. If you drop the ball at either, you cheapen it. If you screw up both, you’ll just piss me off.

    I think of WRATH OF KHAN. We all know now that Spock dies but he comes back from the grave in SEARCH FOR SPOCK. Doesn’t take away from the impact of Spock’s death because of how well it was written/staged/acted in WOK. Or Kirk’s grief afterwards. (We make fun of Shatner’s hammyness but damn that “….human” line reading was a career highlight for him.) Even SOS which isn’t as good as WOK, I thought it was earned not just how long they tease Spock’s resurrection (Nimoy’s pointy ears don’t show up until the very last scene) but also the hell that his comrades go through to bring him back. Kirk especially considering he effectively threw away his career (aka his biggest passion in life) and risking jailtime for hijacking the Enterprise, loses his son thanks to a Klingon dagger that he only recently discovered, blows up the Enterprise so they could escape. (Thus he loses two symbols of his potency.) The crew is marooned on Vulcan.

    I thought IW earned the deaths, it earned that moment. If it earns their return after a worthwhile journey in AVENGERS 4….oh boy, what a hum dinger that’ll be!

    *=I think IW did a better job of that than TLJ but that’s neither here or there.

  47. Also I just like the idea that kids watching IW today could be talking about it years and years from now as a collective generational touchstone moment like Luke Skywalker finding out he’s got the ultimate daddy issues or the Iron Giant’s Superman moment and so forth.

  48. Really? A generational touchstone? I liked it a lot (and i’ll see it again) but the ending didn’t affect me all that much.

  49. Felix – for those kids (not necessarily us), the same way adults of a certain age group remembered that Transformers cartoon movie where most of the Autobots plus Jesus Optimus Prime Christ got snuffed out in the first act.

  50. Great post RRA. FWIW I think young Gamora’s appearance when Thanos got the last stone all but bolts on a comeback on for her. And I’d peg that comeback being a pretty instrumental part A4 rather than GOTG3 – but yeah that is a guess at this stage.

    I think the only death reversals that would retrospectively cheapen this movie would be Loki and, tbh, probably Vision as well. Loki is definitely out of the picture, Vision I’m not so sure. Yeah they could just have Shuri repair him, cos she’d almost uncoupled the stone anyway, but there’s a violence and definitiveness to the death that I think is better off kept as is.

    The other this is that Bettany is great in this movie, but they’ve never really explained what he can do and his character is a bit of a fudge, so I don’t think they’re losing anything having him off the board just because I don’t see how they could tell a story that’d give Bettany more of a high point than what he got in his scenes here. The Edinburgh sequence and his death really work for me.

    I also think part of why the deaths being so unexpected and obviously reversible works is because they actually seeded them. The theme reiterated over and over again, as ppl have noted here, is whether it is right to “trade lives” and we’ve basically just been given a visualisation of that trolley problem. Dr Strange tells us that he won’t hesitate to trade Stark’s life to protect the Infinity Stone. I’m sure cinemasins is gonna say that it is a problem that he says that and does the opposite, but my money is that Stark dies (either literally or he gets Red Skulled in a timeloop) in A4 as part of the 1 in 14 million future that Dr Strange set in motion, meaning that he did make good on his promise and that Tony’ll ultimately pay the price. Dr Strange, I’m betting, traded a life to (eventually) save the universe.

    I’ve seen grumbling online (esp from Film Crit Hulk who I genuinely think has misread the movie hugely) that ppl always say these films will pay off in the next one but never do. That isn’t a problem here because it already paid off in *this* movie, and the pay off is the assemblage of OG Avengers core team. The tableau we get at the end (floaty CG bruce head and all) means something significant to the audience and to the characters.

    Fake-out deaths is def a recurring weakness across the MCU, but I see this as very different to Loki’s fake death in DW and Fury’s death in WS because those weren’t seeded properly, never fully explained, and were just cheap as hell. They had no weight in the narrative beyond you the viewer feeling sad that they died for 10 minutes. It feels to me like the approach here has been designed from the bottom-up to avoid that sort of mistake.

  51. Man, I’ve read Film Crit Hulk before, but their Avengers review made me kind of uncomfortable. It’s also weird to see someone who prides themself on their knowledge of narrative tropes understand the meaning of “kill your darlings” totally incorrectly.

    I agree with whoever above said that the end of Infinity War is primarily a gift to the MCU’s (massive) child audience to remember as their first “holy fuck” moment in a cinema. id say it succeeded. whether or not it holds up to intense grad-school-level scrutiny seems a little less important than that, but then again i’m Mr 9/19ths over here, what do i know about these things

  52. Never for one moment did I think that Gamora’s death was permanent. I could be in total denial and wrong, but I wasn’t worried. Did we see her body after hitting the bottom? Or just her falling into, well, infinity, if you’ll pardon the pun? Either way, I think the most significant thing is she was sacrificed for the soul stone. Could she have been sucked into the stone. Like she’s powering it. Either body and soul, or just soul. If it’s something like that, I can think of a bunch of ways she’s brought back. The stone is destroyed and frees her. Someone who can hold and maybe manipulate it a bit (Starlord) can free her (this might have to take place in the next GOTG movie, since he’s dead now, too. It will depend on how late into the next Avengers movie they’re brought back). Someone agrees to take her place, and that either is someone else’s sacrifice, maybe Nebula, or if it’s Starlord, the simple willingness to do so frees her. If the person who sacrificed her is then killed by the soul stone, it frees her. There’s got to be something more to the whole soul stone mystique.

  53. Maggie, I’m pretty sure there was a shot of Gamora’s broken bod down below the WTC — sorry, I mean Red Skull’s space island — after Thanos pushes her off. Not that that means anything vis a vis her return; I’m sure they’ll introduce some more specific rules about how the gauntlet works somewhere in Avengers 4, but as it is it’s a pretty convenient excuse to justify pretty much anything happening.

    For my money, they oughta save her resurrection for Guardians 3 in order to give that movie a little epic grandeur along with the personal emotional stakes the Gs of the G are known for, but that might defy the clean break from the first 10 years’ worth of movies that Marvel claims to be setting up with A3 and A4.

  54. There was enough mystical/editorial jiggerypokery surrounding the Gamora scene that I assume that’s where the timeline will be corrected.

    I’m not too worried about it. Despite the occasional misstep, I trust that the Marvel team knows what the fuck they’re doing. I’m happy to just kick back and watch and not have to engage in much armchair quarterbacking.

  55. Maggie: there was a shot of Gamora’s corpse—complete with the trademark bent back to the side lower leg and what looked like brains and blood behind her head.

    RRA: it worked because a lot of it was shot well, and it worked because it surprised people like a good pro wrestling swerve. (As you mentioned the people doing deathpools or number of deaths, the vast majority were way off). And you’re right that the movie doesn’t end with all the survivors shown regrouping and committing to a plan, instead they’re all there but left feeling loss. That’s the other reason why I think it worked for lots of people.

    Only time and how they’ll do retconning Avengers 3 will show how much staying power this has and if it’s a “generational touch stone”. Kids aren’t exactly my demo but how many people get worked up over Bucky’s death in Capt. 1 today? People were also shocked in my theater about Nick Fury in WINTER SOLDIER…until they weren’t. Michael Douglas in antman…I mean we can go on.

    Maybe a comparable event to this movie is the red wedding in game of thrones. I might be too skeptical because of Marvel’s fake out track record, but I’d put more money on that part of the show having more staying power than the avengers 3 ending. Why? It’s hard to go to anything else other than people buy into the stakes and permanence of that show generally than they do with the mcu.

  56. SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER DEATH SPOILER – – – I absolutely believed Gamora’s death when it happened, and I think it’s because it made such sense narratively. It becomes obvious shortly before it happens that she has to be the one thing that Thanos really does care about, and that makes it worth doing for the movie. But of the pre-Rapture deaths in the movie hers also seems like the most easily reversible, because the fact that both the villain and the heroes care about her mean any of them could eventually come up with some way to bring her back. I think it would be worth doing just to prevent a GUARDIANS 3 where Star Lord has to be all dark and broody and shit. That is not something I want to see.

  57. That is a good point about the anti-appeal of an emo Peter Quill. My only fear is that I can see Chris Pratt thinking it’d be a good way to stretch the ol’ acting muscles. But for simplicity’s sake I think you’re right, Gamora’s fate will probably be resolved in A4.

  58. The Undefeated Gaul

    May 4th, 2018 at 6:17 am

    I believed Gamora’s death too and feel it should stay permanent, exactly because I like her character and it was such an effective emotional scene. It was sad and shocking as these things should be, and I would fucking hate to see that easily reversed in the very next film.

  59. I like Agents of Shield even though I’ve missed the everything since Ghost Rider. I remember people really being pissed off they killed Coulson. I’m mostly mad about it because the show proved just how amazing he was. I like Martin Freeman and I guess he’s a bigger star than Clark Gregg but I wish Coulson was the one running around Black Panther instead.

  60. I definitely would have liked BP more if Coulson was in it. I like Martin Freeman a lot but there’s nothing to that character. Coulson would have just been so delighted to see Wakanda that it would have been a joy to watch.

    Hey, did anyone else notice that the kind of movie INFINITY WAR most closely resembles in tone and structure, with its sprawling cast, expansive playing field, breathless pace, nonstop visual dazzle dazzle, and odd tonal blend of comedy and tragedy, is a STAR WARS prequel? Specifically EPISODE III?

    Think about it. Both start in media res with a space battle already in progress, in which the villain of a previous installment is unceremoniously dispatched before our eyes to raise the stakes. Both running times consists of different factions of our heroes separated across the galaxy, with lots and lots and lots of establishing shots of spaceships arriving and leaving. Both concern the rise of a previously hinted-at villain who is far more powerful than any previously seen before. Both have the villain killing the only woman he loves because of a single-minded focus on attaining power, and regretting it (somewhat) afterward. Both films end SPOILER with the villain utterly victorious and most of the good guys either dead (including children) or despairing. Both treat the villain’s victory as a sort of blackly bittersweet inevitability while hinting at a new source of hope for future installments. Both kill off Samuel L. Jackson before he gets to do much.

    I’m calling it: The most-beloved geek movie of today was inspired by the most hated geek movies of yesterday.

  61. Sternshein – SPOILERS FOR AGENTS OF SHIELD – wait, are you saying they killed off Coulson on Agents of SHIELD? I finally gave up on that show last season after thinking “ooh, maybe Ghost Rider will make it more interesting” and discovering that that was not at all the case. Hopefully that guy will have more charisma playing a Terminator. I checked Wikipedia and it says Coulson became Ghost Rider, which sounds hilarious.

  62. No, Coulson is still alive on Shield but probably for not much longer.

  63. Coulson seems like a good possible analog for if Gamora gets brought back down the line. What do people think about him being back, and does it change your view on THE AVENGERS (2012) at all? I only watched maybe 2 episodes of Agents of Shield, so I don’t have an opinion.

  64. I think the Shield section of The Avengers is the weakest, and it makes it feel even more inconsequential fwiw.

  65. Agents of SHIELD if nothing else can be looked at like an expansion pack for the cinematic universe. So for anyone who’s interested, some characters and events get their background filled in and added to beyond the movies. I think it takes advantage of the multiple season TV format (and hence basically having much more time) reasonably well on average.

  66. I almost gave up on AoS several times, but I’m glad I stuck it out because I thought last season was the best yet. I haven’t seen the new one yet as I cancelled my Hulu but I am looking forward to it. I like the cast and the escalating craziness, and I appreciate that the seasons have multiple mini arcs that eliminate all the midseason wheel-spinning and foot-dragging all the Netflix Marvel shows resort to. It feels slightly old fashioned, which I like. It’s just trying to be a fun show full of twists and turns and laughs. So much TV nowadays is trying to convince you it’s really serious and important, and nothing turns me off faster than that.

    Also, didn’t I hear somewhere that Coulson might be in Avengers 4? Or is that just some bullshit?

  67. I know he’s in CAPTAIN MARVEL. Maybe that’s what the person I heard it from meant.

  68. Mr. M: I fully endorse your INFINITY DRIFT/REVENGE OF THE SITH theory!

  69. From what I remember about Avengers 4 and Coulson, some of the Marvel higher ups have tangentially hinted at some sort of “acknowledgement” of Coulson but as of yet, they haven’t been more specific about it yet.

    I think Kevin Feige himself mentioned they specifically wanted to involve Coulson in Captain Marvel because of the Kree connection and considering (if I remember this correctly), that was only specifically mentioned in the show, it’s nice to see people involved in the making of things are thinking about it in some fashion or other.

    This isn’t giving anything anyway as such (I hope) but the name “Thanos” was specifically mentioned in the show and some people seemed quite thrilled about that.

    One interesting thing, I was certainly surprised as to who the mystery guest star on Vormir was (best surprise in the movie, probably along with the ending) but I was even more surprised with what Agents of SHIELD did that week as former did something I had at least vaguely considered at some point but the latter was totally beyond anything that crossed my mind (but certainly made sense in retrospect).

  70. What did you guys think about the ending of Infinity War? I know two of the people I was with didn’t care because “we know they’re just come back next movie.” That’s such a dumb criticism of anything because the characters don’t know this.

  71. The more I thought about it, the more eerie it was. There’s the background rumbling of a storm continuously audible and then you start to realise that they’re killing just about everyone. The more people drop, the more you realise it’s turning into a massacre and it’s just not stopping and no-one is safe.

    I thought it was very effective and quite unlike any Marvel film that had come before it, even Thor 3 which I guess was closest still ended much more optimistically … well, until the start of this film happened. Also, even though this film is being followed by another one, it is designed in such a way as it could also act as the end of the whole series and that’s another thing in its favour.

    Sure, (at least some) people will be coming back in some form but the makers know this and they also knew what people were expecting with this one, so they did a good job with subverting some of this, I’m sure they’ll do so again.

  72. SPOILERS SPOILERS So, late to the party, but I’m confused by everyone who thinks Thanos is an interesting character. His whole motivation is just so dumb. Why would killing half of everyone create “balance?” Won’t he just have to keep dividing down again and again until there’s only one person left, sometimes by half a person? And what about nonhuman life, did he also kill half the bacteria and algae and grass in the universe? They use resources too.

    And most obviously, how has this Titan planet with flying fucking cities never heard of birth control? What are they, Catholic? You can do things about unsustainable population growth other than use an army to murder everyone, you moron. This way, you’ll just have to do it again in a few years as the population rebounds. It’s just inefficient. If you have the technology to create an army of six-armed lizard men in gigantic buzz-saw flying saucers, you have the technology to farm efficiently enough to feed a growing population, or hey, with that reality-controlling infinity glove, how bout creating an infinity meals on wheels service for hungry kids, if that’s such a sore spot?

    I dunno, it’s just such a dumb, tossed-off concept that I could never take him seriously, which makes their efforts to humanize him (tears! Purple rain?) seem like ridiculous, nonsensical overreach. So he still looks like a roided up California raisin with weepy human eyeballs, and now I’m being asked to take seriously his complex inner life? Sorry guys, not something I’m capable of. I’d have much preferred they stick to his admirably pulpy comic roots (he wants to kill as many people as possible because he’s in love with the physical personification of Death and wants to impress her) and just let him be a overwrought, evil-for-evil’s sake comic book villain. He’s a big muscley purple giant, let’s not overcomplicate this guys.

    But other than that, this was OK. It’s the perfect living embodiment of a comic book crossover, with exactly the same balance of heady fun and exhausting tedium that has always entailed.

  73. I think it was just half of the advanced sentient life. He didn’t touch the grass.

  74. One thing that I thought was great about Thanos and his new master plan in the movie was that it FINALLY gave a valid justification for one of my biggest pet peeves in movies – the “supervillain who is incredibly powerful and can instantly kill people, but when it comes to the heroes, he just toys around with them for no reason at all (usually throwing them around the room or tangling them up in something)”

    Like when he shoots Mantis and Drax and they fall into ribbons, it’s like “HOLY SHIT HE JUST KILLED THEM!” but then they’re still alive and you’re like, “wait, that’s dumb, why didn’t he just kill them? What a copout!”. And then as the movie goes on, and it keeps happening again and again, you realize him not killing the heroes isn’t really a plot hole, it’s his character being consistent and sticking to his guns, truly leaving who lives and who dies up to chance like Two Face. (with some exceptions of course). For that alone I think this makes Thanos one of the better Marvel villains, even though i think I’m the only one who still thinks Zemo is the best one so far.

  75. Zemo? He’s so bland.

  76. Felix – Yeah I think Zemo just struck a nerve with me because not only does he seem like he walked out of another movie, he kinda seems like he walked out of another genre. He’s like the bad guy from The Peacemaker crossed with Kevin Spacey from Seven, who wanders into a superhero movie way out of his depth. If this was a normal superhero movie, he’d get his ass kicked in two seconds. He has no superpowers, he doesn’t do anything too particularly far-fetched (even The Joker in The Dark Knight seemed to be a little too psychic at times). He never gets a suit like Kilmonger or Iron Monger (or Whiplash or Corey Stoll, etc..) Even Alexander Pierce(?) had a conspiracy and a bunch of evil minions on his side. Zemo’s just one determined guy going up against Gods, and he still beats them somehow.

    I also really like Bruhl’s understated, melancholy performance. There’s no mustache-twirling, no delight in what he’s doing. His apology to Black Panther in the climax for killing his dad seems like something a villain would say ironically to be an asshole, but he makes it sound sad and sincere. I understand why everyone likes Loki and Kilmonger and Thanos more, but Zemo’s still my favorite.

  77. There were people in LOCKE other than Tom Hardy??

  78. I finally caught up with this one. This movie kicks so much fucking ass. What blows my mind is that in most superhero movies, the villain wants to kill everybody. In IW, the villain is only half as ambitious but somehow that makes it way more nightmarish. Not least because it allows the film to actually make good on its threat!

    If INFINITY WARS had come out in the 1980s it would be regarded as a genre classic, no question. The action is kinda weak but well, so is the action in many beloved 80s films.

    I wish the X-Men series had done as good of a job with Apocalypse as this movie did with Thanos. It certainly had the actor for it…

  79. Winston Duke, PERSON OF INTEREST. I know you’re a movie guy Vern but I think you would really enjoy this series.

  80. Not sure where to put this, but RIP Stan Lee. I know there’s been a lot of hubbub about Stan Lee’s credit-taking and spotlight-hogging over the years, as well as the working conditions at Marvel Comics back in the day, but Smilin’ Stan will always have a special place in my heart. I know Marvel Studios have a bunch of cameos already in the can for some of the upcoming movies, but I hope they’ve got something more substantial in store for INFINITY WAR 2: THE UNSNAPPENING or SPIDERMAN: DIDN’T HE DIE IN INFINITY WAR? than a two-second gag as a hotdog vendor or a mailman or whatever. I liked his cameo in GOTG2 where it’s implied he’s Uatu the Watcher, so it would be a fitting tribute if they made that official part of the MCU.

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