Spoilers Spoilers Spoilers, my people! Do not proceed if you haven’t yet seen Avengers: Infinity War, for I will be talking about every last thing.
Last warning. We good? Okay. Let’s go.
Holy crap, guys. If you’re reading this, you made it through the emotional trauma that is Avengers: Infinity War, so firstly, congratulations. Second, I’m sorry for literally all of our losses, because you most definitely got to watch one or more of your favorite characters perish this weekend (or in my case, EIGHT). Third, WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL.
So, let’s get into this. I’m going to break these thoughts up into several segments: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly [Crying], as well as some thoughts about the future of the MCU from here.
First, let’s start on a positive note, bypassing the pain for a bit, shall we?
I just came back from seeing the movie a second time and I will say that I don’t think it’s an overstatement to call it one of the most finely-crafted and ambitious products to come out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The creative team was given an absolute nightmare of a movie to work with–track down six shiny McGuffins (one of which hadn’t yet made an appearance), incorporate 10 years worth of characters and give them approximately equal screentime, have it make sense, and bridge it all together with your Big Bad, who we know little to nothing about except that he’s big, Brolin-y, and not to be trifled with. Oh, and try to keep it to a reasonable run time.
But somehow, they pulled it off. They pulled it off while challenging our expectations for what these movies can be, though never once straying from the spirit of its predecessors. I am specifically referring to the blend of comedy and tragedy, which never felt misplaced or that it was trying too hard.
Speaking of which, can we talk about the best lines which absolutely brought the house down? Here’s the rankings of my favorites:
- “Where is Gamora?” “Yeah, I’ll do you one better! Who is Gamora?” “I’ll do you one better…why is Gamora?”
- “I am Groot.” “I am Steve Rogers.”
- “What master do you serve?” “‘What master do I serve?’ Am I supposed to say Jesus?!”
- “You’re from Earth?” “I’m from Missouri.” “Missouri’s ON Earth, dipshit!”
- “We kick names and take ass!” [Followed by the World’s Most Exasperated Tony Ever™]
- “You speak Groot?” “Yes it was taught as an elective on Asgard.”
- “Is Footloose still the greatest movie of all time?” “It never was.”
- “Dude, you’re embarassing me in front of the wizards!”
- “I prefer to see myself as a titan-killing, long-term bootycall.”
- And of course, any time Thor called Rocket a rabbit.
Overall, there were just some incredible character interactions, especially regarding team ups. Rocket’s interactions with Thor and Bucky gave me life, seeing Okoye, Natasha, and Wanda form the most badass trio ever was incredible, and the combination of the Guardians, Tony, Peter Parker, and Doctor Strange was something I never knew I needed.
Generally, I loved the direction that some of the characters were taken as well. Wanda and Vision’s now-established romance felt very genuine, Thor’s effervescent optimism from Ragnarok bled over into his Infinity War continuation, which made him both interesting and tragic (but more on that later), and Zoe Saldana absolutely hit it out of the park as Gamora this time around.
Side note: I’d like to formally welcome ROSS MARQUAND TO THE MCU! Some of you might know him as Aaron (my current fav) on The Walking Dead, or perhaps from his incredible impressions. He has taken over for Hugo Weaving as Red Skull, a reappareance that was so out of left field, both of my screenings were aflutter when he arrived.
On that vein, Thanos. I didn’t think it could be done. Over seven years merely teasing a character’s existence, then giving him such a powerhouse entrance and payoff. Brolin gave a haunted, terrifying performance, and while I still don’t think he dethroned Killmonger as the MCU’s best villain, I think he sure as hell came close.
Thanos brought the heat, as well as real stakes to this franchise. His punches were brutal, his tactics maniacal and warped. Not only did this movie set up his blows well, they delivered a payoff which was so utterly confounding and unexpected, it left me in silent shock.
For a good portion of the movie, I thought that this was my favorite MCU film ever. But my feelings overall are still a bit undefined, as expressed in the next two sections.
I don’t really have a lot to say here, because as I stated, I thought the movie was one of the strongest things the MCU has produced to date. There were just a few things that made me scratch my head a bit.
While overall being gorgeous to look at, there were a few visual things that threw me off. At times, especially during the opening fight scene between Hulk and Thanos on the Asgardian refugee vessel, the appearance of Ebony Maw’s donut-shaped spaceship, and the final assault in Wakanda, there seemed to be an unnecessary amount of shaky cam that clumsily waffled between feeling realistic and just plain chaotic.
I’m also unresolved about how I feel about the animation of the Children of Thanos and the Mad Titan himself. With the exception of Ebony Maw, our other villains sometimes looked more like World of Warcraft characters than actual beings. This was especially apparent when Natasha, Steve and T’Challa square off between Proxima Midnight and Corvus Glaive–they just look too…fake. Which admittedly, sounds crazy, as we’re talking about aliens wielding magic pieces of metal here. I just wanted more.
A big head-scratcher was the characters that we didn’t see. And I get it–this movie was already jam-packed with A-list actors, but when you add strong leads and side characters like Ant-Man, Hawkeye, Valkyrie, Nakia, and W’Kabi, you’ve got to wonder why they suddenly are MIA. Ant-Man and Hawkeye are given a one-line explanation: They have families, they wanted to lie low and go home. I’ll selectively ignore this irritating cop-out, but the others? They’re simply gone, raising far more questions than they answer.
Um, finally, HOW DARE THOSE END CREDITS TURN INTO DUST.
Which brings me to my last point (and my next section): This was a movie made for the fans. That’s not a criticism, it’s a fact. When the number one complaint about it is that you must have seen all 18 predecessors for this movie to make sense, you know it’s constructed with the die-hards in mind. It’s also the reason why I think Marvel decided it could be so bold in its harrowing ending–all the fans know that there’s no possible way these characters can remain dead.
The people who don’t know that? The children. That ending was raw and emotionally traumatizing, and I really am concerned about a young audience entering a new superhero movie and getting to watch their favorites perish one by one before their eyes.
Okay. We’re ready. Here we go–last, section.
The Ugly [Crying]
Raise your hand if you feel personally victimized by the Russos.
Here’s a miniature edition of my series, “All the Times I Wept.” Let’s break it down, shall we?
Loki and Heimdall
So I knew going into this that Loki was almost certainly a goner. One doesn’t just lose an infinity stone, then fail to deliver another and get away with it. That doesn’t mean that watching one of my favorite characters get choked to death after proclaiming himself “Odinson” and attempting to kill Thanos himself JUST after Heimdall heroically died hurt any less. Way to start strong, Marvel. Way to set the tone.
“What more could I lose?”
This is a weird one that I know didn’t impact any one as much as it did me, but can I also just talk about one scene that absolutely killed me?
Thor is a bit brooding and uncertain after he lands on the Guardian’s spaceship, but suddenly, he’s remarkably chipper and ready to go forge Stormbreaker and destroy Thanos at but the mention of his name. When Rocket realizes he’s on the brink of breaking down, he reluctantly goes over to him to talk it out. There, Thor recaps how he’s lost his friends, his mother, his father, his brother, his home, his reign, and all he once held dear. With tears in his eyes, he still smiles, and when Rocket asks why he would keep fighting, Thor whispers, “What more could I lose?”
Hemsworth blew me away. You could feel Thor’s internal struggle to keep fighting when all he wanted to do was break down. This also was a perfect incorporation of the new direction Thor: Ragnarok took Thor, which overall made him far more optimistic and fun. He never lost that spirit, and I’m 100% relying on his hopefulness to take us through Avengers 4.
Gamora really got to shine in Infinity War. We saw her heartbreaking back story, got to watch her complicated and turbulent relationship with father-figure Thanos develop further, along with the revelation that is has been her who has known the whereabouts of the Soul Stone this entire time. The heart-wrenching scene on Knowhere where Gamora begs Peter to end her life to protect the Stone’s location cut deep. And I’m not going to get into her shattering final moments. Dear god.
Vision’s fruitless sacrifice
Man, did that hurt. Once again, I anticipated Vision’s death, but not like this. He begs Wanda to destroy the Mind Stone keeping him alive, and though it pains her to do it, she succeeds.
…or so you think.
Because along comes Thanos, fresh off of getting the Time Stone, reverses time and kills Vision himself. This renders Vision’s sacrifice and Wanda’s horrific choice completely fruitless and therefore hurt all the more.
Sigh…the last scene.
I’m just going to keep these suckers as bullet points, because…there’s too much.
- Bucky’s confused, “Steve?” as he becomes the first to disintegrate, followed by Steve patting the ground, confused by what has just happened.
- Okoye’s tears for T’Challa
- Rocket losing yet another Groot, especially as the entire reason he left the Guardians behind in the first place was to take Groot as far away from Thanos as possible.
- Wanda’s disintegration while holding a lifeless Vision
- Sam dying alone
- Remember my favorite actors? Hiddleston, Pratt, and Cumberbatch? Well losing Quill and Doctor Strange sequentially was really not great.
- Captain America, our patriotic symbol of hope, collapsing on the ground and uttering a bleak, “Oh God.”
- Our final shot on a smiling Thanos watching the sun rise on his devastation
- ANNNNND to put the cherry on top, why don’t we kill Hill and Fury too in the end credits scene? Because Hill totally wasn’t another favorite of mine. What? You’re crazy.
“Mr. Stark? I don’t feel so good.”
Hey Russos. Screw you. Oh, and Holland, you’re not out of the woods either, my son.
Mr. Holland simply loves to stretch his dramatic muscles doesn’t he? This third cinematic iteration of Peter Parker is youthful, chipper, plucky, and has charmed the hell out of literally everyone, especially since his surprisingly good solo debut Spider-Man: Homecoming. But when given an opportunity to be serious, Holland hits it out of the park, be it the “Come on, Spider-Man” scene in Homecoming where his mournful cries for help that go unheard make my heart lurch in way I can’t quite describe, or this crap, which made me cry harder than I did in Logan, something I didn’t anticipate being possible. Not in an MCU movie.
Here’s an excerpt from my original notes I made coming out of my first screening:
But I was audibly sobbing when I lost Peter. Especially when he pleads, “Mr. Stark, I don’t feel so good.” I absolutely adored his character and felt that same sense of protectiveness that they gave to Tony. I had to grip [a friend’s] arm when he too disintegrated into nothingness. That sweet boy, and the only thing I can remember is the way his lines sounded. Not exactly what he said, just how he sounded. It was like excruciating to sit through. I think he said he was scared.
He didn’t. It was worse. The actual line goes:
“Mr. Stark? I don’t feel so good. I don’t know what’s happening, I don’t know what’s happening! I don’t want to go, I don’t want to go, Mr. Stark, please! I don’t want to go! I don’t want to go! …I’m sorry.”
Please note: Only Peter anticipates his death. The general consensus of why this is is because of his Spidey-sense, which we know is canon because we see it in action in his first scene in Infinity War.
Also note: That shot we all were so worried about in the trailer where Tony is seen with a bloodied and/or burnt hand was so much worse than we could have ever anticipated, as it isn’t the hand of an injured Avenger. It isn’t his own as he lays dying. It’s covered in the ashes of his stand-in child. With that, let’s go ahead and revisit this scene from Homecoming:
P A I N.
I’d just like to flash back to 2016-era Jessica, first meeting Peter Parker in Civil War, rolling my eyes and saying, “Okay I guess we can have another Spider-Man. But I better not see his damn origin story yet again!”
T A K E M E B A C K. G I V E M E A L L T H E C O N T E N T.
I M I S S M Y S O N.
So What’s Coming Next for our Happy Fun Times Squad?
I love it. I came in going, “Well T’Challa and Peter are totes okay, because they’re most definitely going to have sequels. Cap, Tony, Thor might be toast.”
YET THEY WERE THE ONES WHO WERE FINE. In fact, our entire OG Avengers team (presumably Hawkeye too) are still kicking, which should make for a fantastically pleasing finale in Avengers 4 when we get to see the ones who started it all, end it all.
Obviously, everyone’s going to be fine.
It would appear from set photos as though our crew is going back in time somehow to reverse some of this devastation. Here, we can also probably expect the conclusion of old Civil War animosity between Steve and Tony, as well as figure out what the heck is going on with reluctant Hulk, and how the heck Tony is getting off Titan with only Nebula for help.
We can expect Tony to be the MVP of the movie for a few main reasons:
- Thanos knew who he was, saying that he isn’t the only one “burdened by knowledge,” so he obviously sees Stark as an equal, formidable part of this battle.
- Doctor Strange was only okay sacrificing the Time Stone once he saw the one outcome of millions where they defeat Thanos. His final line was “Tony, this is how it had to happen.”
- Kevin Feige has recently made the statement that the end of Avengers 4 feels like the end of a book. As the book began with Tony, it would make sense that it would end with him as well, thereby canonizing him as protagonist of the MCU
- Would that give him the best character arc in the franchise? From playboy to martyr? Oh god, please no…I take it back!
As for other upcoming movies, I wouldn’t hold your breath for Spidey to be in Venom, fam. That was a rumor that was circulating when Holland was spotted on the set, but I’m thinking that this was perhaps a goodwill visit, as there’s no way that the MCU would allow Peter to reappear so soon between now and 4, regardless of where in the Spidey-timeline Venom takes place (TBD).
Also prepare yourselves: Calling it now, Ant-Man and the Wasp will end with one or the two of our titular characters (or possibly Hank Pym) turning to ash. And with my luck, it will be Hope, and I shall be pissed.
However, Infinity War also set up Captain Marvel, wherein BRIE LARSON WILL SAVE US ALL. I am now more excited about Captain Marvel than ever before and 2019 cannot come soon enough.
My final plea, when the title of the new movie does come out, please let it not be Infinity Gauntlet, like some sources are reporting. That’s lame. My vote is for Avengers: Forever.
Yeah, it’s cliché, but I need cliché right now.
Well after one of the biggest build-ups ever, we got our wish for an ambitious movie that packed a massive punch and pulled the rug out from under us. It certainly did not disappoint, but left us all with more questions that we have to wait a full year to have answered.
With that, thank you for attending the Infinity War Support Group. Feel free to comment, vent, and speculate wildly. Happy nerding, all!