This discussion will contain spoilers for Infinity Wars; a lot of aspects of the movie will be spoiled. I highly recommend seeing the movie and then return to the article. Final warning, spoilers will start immediately.
First of all, I’ll address the minor problems I have with the movie. To start with, the structure of this movie is very weird; in order to tell the story in a coherent way that works for everyone, the team behind the movie decided to basically make 3 movies and fit them all into one.
There are basically 3 stories:
- The story of Thor who, after witnessing Thanos killing his brother Loki, is on a path of vengeance. He is left for dead but, the ship he was on emits a distress signal which alerts the Guardians to his location. After rescuing him, Thor alongside Rocket Raccoon and Groot are on a mission to make a new weapon for Thor, which can kill Thanos, called the Stormbreaker.
- Meanwhile, Bruce Banner was transported out of the same ship into earth, where he meets Dr. Strange and warns him of Thanos imminent arrival. Together they find Tony Stark and try to stop ‘the children of Thanos’ from getting the green infinity stone. Shortly after their arrival, SpiderMan joins them as well and are taken on board a spaceship by one of Thano’s goons.
- During their fight with the children of Thanos, Bruce Banner is- once again- teleported away and in his desperation to help his friends, turns to Captain America and his friends- which include Vision who is infused with an infinity stone- who attempt to prepare for the inevitable battle for the last infinity stone.
While watching the movie, this structure is a bit convoluted and weird but it works and makes sense after the credits roll; however the only real flaw is that sometimes I was following one of the stories that were not as interesting as the others. For example, the first two stories were more interesting to follow along- in the beginning- because the safety of some characters was uncertain. Thus cutting away from those ‘edge of your seat’ moments and following them up with Captain America’s attempts to prepare for battle were inherently less interesting, but necessary in the end.
My last issue with the movie was how they nerfed certain characters, in order to make the desperation of ‘fighting against the odds’ feeling the story needed to have, tangible and believable; it would not make sense for the Hulk and Thor to be ready and fighting like they usually are and have them be on the underdog side. While Thor’s reasons for not being ready are more believable- he had his hammer destroyed in Thor: Rangnarok and is in need of a new weapon that can kill Thanos- Hulk’s reasons are less believable and more annoying. The movie starts by showing Thanos sheer brutality and strength in very explicit ways: He kills Loki and beats- quite easily- the crap out of the Hulk. This may be the reason the big, green man does not want to reveal himself for the entirety of the movie, but it is kind of disappointing and annoying (although pretty funny as well).
Having covered those flaws, I’ll jump straight to the point and my only real concern about this movie: Part two which releases in a year’s time. In the climactic finale, Thanos wins and annihilates half of the universe, which includes some Avengers as well: Black Panther, SpiderMan, Bucky, Scarlet Witch, Vision, all of the Guardians, Dr. Strange; they are all dead by the end of the movie and the massacre doesn’t end there with the end-credits scene showing Nick Fury and Maria Hill also dying. Let me reiterate that I’m not a Marvel fan and did not care for any of these characters before the movie, but I almost cried when this happened. It reminded me of the- stick with me here for a moment- Jedi massacre scene in Episode Three; my younger self who had no idea that these were bad prequels of amazing movies thought that the Jedis were the untouchable heroes that were bound to win at the end. Then, they are defeated and brutally murdered, while Obi-wan and Yoda flee for their lives- defeated and broken. Same thing with Infinity Wars: My uninitiated brain was thinking that if anyone was going to die, it would be the original Avengers but alas it is everyone else. The problem with this is that, they already showed us how they will be brought back to life- when Thanos turns back time to retrieve the last infinity stone from Vision- and that this is probably what will happen as actors are already talking about their un-confirmed sequels in public.
This will essentially kill off any stakes any of the other Marvel movies would try to raise, since dying may not be as permanent as it should be. If they are brought back to life, then all the emotional baggage I’ve carried with me in Part two will, essentially, evaporate and I’m going to go back to uninterested in Marvel Movies.
Part of the concern is due to how well this scene was executed by the Russo brothers; SpiderMan is freaking scared and lunges into the brace of a guilt-filled Tony Stark, proclaiming that he does not want to die, while the devastated Stark just holds him until he is ash. Captain America sees his life-long friend Bucky wither away to dust and Black Panther ceases to be while helping Okoye, who is overwhelmed with feelings of terror and sorrow. The most sad one is that of Scarlet Witch, who is forced to kill Vision, in order to stop Thanos from retrieving the last infinity stone, only for Thanos to then turn back time and retrieve the stone from her lover’s forehead, killing him again and un-doing her sacrifice in the process. These aren’t the only characters who died, but I vividly remember these scenes and their impact- which will be gone if Part two is the movie that brings all of them back. Maybe I’m the only one who wishes to keep characters- even as important and likable as these- dead when they die, but I think it would be a massive cop-out if they are to be revived and would immediately lose any interest in the MCU, again.
The last thing I want to say here that I couldn’t really say in the spoiler-free review without mentioning spoilers, is how great the writing is in the movie. From character based humor- like Thor calling Rocket Raccoon a rabbit- to genuinely great writing- like when Iron Man finally manages to scar Thanos, well into the second act, in a fight that lasted several minutes and Thanos simply remarks “All this for a drop of blood” (something to that effect I can’t remember the exact quote)- which is a great line that reminds the audience during an action scene, which would normally show the characters that they can defeat Thanos, that they are nowhere near defeating him and just busted their asses to slightly scar him.
All in all, I’m excited to see what Part two brings, but very worried at the same time. As I said in the spoiler-free review, the best compliment I can give this movie is that I just went to see it so that I can be part of the discussion, but it made me genuinely care and interested in the MCU. I just hope that Part two does not leave me more uninterested than I ever was…