Avengers, Infinity War review: The Thanning

Fitting that this movie is called Infinity War, because I’m approaching the limit of how many fucking Marvel movies I can watch.

Leibniz.jpg

 

Premise

 

A purple tyrant from space tries to attain near-omnipotence so he can ensure the release of Half-Life 3? Yeah, that sounds right.

 

Plot  (Spoilers and whatnot)

 

The movie opens on a big ship, where Thanos and friends have slaughtered most of the Asgardians. Thanos throws hands with Hulk, before getting the tesseract from Loki. Loki tries to shank a bitch, but Thanos chokes him out and dips.

 

The rest of the movie is all subplots, so here:

 

Iron Man, Dr. Strange, and Spider-Man: Wong and Doctor Strange play Portal 2 co-op against Thanos’ right hand man, Ebony Maw. He ditches them, so the three hitch a ride on Thanos’ ship, eventually ejecting Maw into space. They arrive on Thanos’ home planet, Titan, where they meet up with Star Lord, Drax, and Mantis. Everyone fights Thanos for a bit, but end up losing. Strange gives Thanos the time stone.

 

Thor, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot: They go over to Peter Dinklage’s funtime furnace, where he crafts a big axe. Thor takes said axe and heads over to Wakanda.

 

Captain America, Captain Wakanda, and all those people: They go to Wakanda, where they try to defend the border from hordes of stupid zombie monsters. They get their asses saved by Thor.

 

Thanos and Gamora: Head to some planet where Red Skull tells them he has the soul stone. Thanos, who apparently loves Gamora just enough to warrant sacrificing her, sacrifices her. He gets the thing.

 

Scarlet Witch and Vision: Get attacked in Scotland before also going to Wakanda. Scarlet Witch carries the fight (literally) before Thor arrives. She tries to destroy Vision’s mind stone in anticipation of Thanos’ arrival, but he rewinds time and gets it anyway.

 

Having gotten all the dragon balls infinity stones, Thanos snaps his fingers and executes his master plan, killing off half the universe’s population. A bunch of this movie’s characters fade away, leaving pretty much the original Avengers + Don Cheadle. Interestingly enough, the minority characters were killed at a much higher proportion than everyone else. I don’t know if that’s variance, Thanos is a racist, or his “save the world” policy had some weird Affirmative Action thing going on. Either way, I’m mad.

 

Also, I want to focus on that last scene for a bit. First off, why did it take Spider-Man 3x longer to fade away than everyone else? Was it his “will to live?” Was Thanos going in alphabetical order? More importantly, let’s talk about those last few lines. I know that everyone’s circlejerking Tom Holland right now because that scene was improv’d, which, admittedly, is the most impressive thing in film history ever. Here’s the thing though: why exactly did he “not feel so good?” No one else really seemed bothered by it. The entire point was that it would be completely painless. Yet somehow, despite everyone else kind of just looking confused, Spider-Man felt something. Well… that made one of us.

 

Also, I know that whatever resolution to the whole snap situation has already been planned out, but if I could, I’d like to input my suggestion. Rather than have everyone who faded away be brought back through some dumb time stone magic, could we have the first half of part II be a Leftovers style sequence where everyone’s dealing with the fallout? No Thanos, no stupid fight scenes. Just character-driven drama. So what do you say, Marvel? Oh, that’s too boring? You need more screen time for one-liners and CGI action? Yeah, no, I got you. Ok then.

 

Characters

 

Thanos: Before seeing the movie, I was assured that “they had really done it this time” with respect to making a good villain. Apparently, Infinity War was Thanos’ moviea fleshed out character with understandable, original motivations. Except here’s the thing… y’all remember Age of Ultron? That movie no one really liked? With James Spader playing the dumb evil robot that we all agreed kinda sucked. Thanos’ entire plan is pretty much identical to Ultron’s. Slightly different in that the former wants to conserve resources, while the latter wants to “evolve” humanity by making them face a large ordeal. Practically, it kind of amounts to the same thing. Trading lives for a better-off society. Add to that the fact that big purple man’s entire backstory was basically “my planet was shitty and no one listened to me cause they thought I was Hitler,” and it doesn’t give me a lot of confidence.

Not to mention, Thanos’ plan doesn’t even really make sense? Even if we ignore the fact that— as my role model Rich Evans pointed out, he should’ve been able to do more with the infinity stones— killing people off indiscriminately is super fucking inefficient. Like, ok, you’re conserving natural resources, but most goods and services that people actually use aren’t primary inputs. You don’t just throw manpower and land together to make iPhones. By randomly selecting people to die, it’s very possible that you end up killing all the farmers, doctors, and engineers, at which point everyone else is kinda fucked. I get that Thanos wants to value everyone’s life equally in the name of “fairness,” but if you’re a genuine psychopath who’s only interested in maximizing utility, why not value certain lives over others? Like it’s not that unreasonable to say that certain people produce more output. I write movie reviews for god’s sake, but I get the same chance at living as Terry Tao? What about terminally ill people? Do fetuses factor into the 50%? Is Thanos pro-life? What was I talking about again? Yeah.

 

Thor: So it’s no secret that I consider Thor 2: The Dark World, to be among (if not the) greatest superhero movie of all time. Of course, if there was one weak point in that film, it was probably Thor himself. He was just so boring compared to the Dark Elves. Most of his character was just weird, awkward Asgard guy who doesn’t understand how people work. Now I didn’t actually watch Thor 3, but I will say that his character is absolutely delightful in this movie. Not only do I like the look a lot more, Chris Hemsworth’s performance of new Thor was legitimately captivating. Probably my favorite scene in the movie was when he was talking to Rocket Raccoon, recounting the deaths of all his family members. It felt like all the previous stupid garbage that happened in preceding films finally had some actual weight to it. So yeah, good job with that.

 

Spider-Man: So far everything I’ve said about him has been bitchy sarcasm, but I did really like this character. The Spidey/Iron Man dynamic felt really natural, and Tom Holland did do a great job of playing the role, despite his relatively limited screen time. He also had some of the best action scenes in the entire movie, like when he was jumping through the orange portals and kicking Thanos in the face.

 

Scarlet Witch: Maybe I’m still on the Elizabeth Olson Wind River hype train (great movie btw), but I actually thought she was pretty good in this. She kinda toned down the accent she had in the previous Avengers, which made her a lot easier to understand. I’m still not entirely sure why she’s in love with Vision, but whatever. Also her powers are dope.

 

Everyone else: The issue with having like 20 main characters, is that a lot of them ended up getting cucked with respect to presence. Some of the heroes I actually liked a lot, like T’Challa, had almost nothing to do the entire movie. If you hadn’t seen Black Panther, you could reasonably forget that he was in this movie at all. I will give the writers credit for managing to have every character get at least one good moment in. Captain America, who may as well have not been in the film, still has that cute “I am Steve Rogers” line with Groot. God Chris Evans is so kawaii~

 

Dialogue

 

This movie had two writers, at least one of whom is a failed stand-up comedian. Every other sentence was a dumb joke or a one liner. Pretty much nothing in this movie was funny, but that didn’t bother me so much. What did bother me was the “comedy” scenes that just. would. not. end. Don’t get me wrong, I like Dave Bautista, and I liked Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy, but here he was basically comic relief in a movie that was already mostly comedy. At some point, it just became annoying.

 

All that being said, there was only one line of dialogue that genuinely angered me in the entire movie. That fucking line about Footloose. Listen here, “Marvel studios.” Footloose is

 

  1. A better movie than anything you’ve made
  2. Has infinitely better music than anything you’ve made
  3. Has better choreography than anything you’ve made
  4. Is a national fucking treasure, which can’t really be said about any of your movies

 

So put some goddamn respect on Herbert Ross’ name.

 

Tone

 

Before going into Infinity War, I was assured that the movie had a much darker tone. On paper, this certainly appears to be the case. Gamora gets Iphigenia’d off a cliff by her adoptive father. Scarlet Witch is forced to kill her lover by literally destroying his soul. Thor, following a genocide of his people, witnesses his brother get strangled to death. And, of course, the ending. But practically, this movie never really felt dark at all. I fully understand not wanting to traumatize children, but given the mature content of the film, it’s surprisingly light-hearted. I think this is a function of two things. The script, as I’ve mentioned, is laden with comic relief to the point that any dramatic effect is undercut by humor. Further, the identity of the villains makes it harder to take them seriously. Winter Soldier managed to be all dour and stern, primarily due to how grounded its themes were. All of the conflict in that film was human conflict, issues mirroring those in the real world. Contrast to Infinity War, where the bad guy is a dumb space monster with a glove.

 

The other thing this movie sorely lacked was any sort of real tension. A common complaint with Marvel movies is that their villains often don’t pose a threat to the characters. In this movie, Thanos did pose a genuine threat, but never to the point that I, as a spectator, really cared. I knew intellectually that he was able to kill any of the people in the film, but was never particularly concerned by this. This stemmed from the fact that a) I don’t really care about these movies, and b) I knew that most of the main cast was protected by plot box office armor. Even if they disappeared in this film, they’ll probably be back in the next one. Maybe I’m wrong and Spider-Man, the Doctor, T’challa, and all the others are really gone forever. But then my question would be… so what?

 

Visuals

 

To all the people going, “oh my god, Thanos looked so great!!!” were we… watching the same movie? I sort of get liking Thanos’ character design, although I wouldn’t consider it inspired. It was bland, kind of generic, and as my friend Jacob pointed out, “looked a lot like that guy from Pawn Stars.”

 

Side by side comparison:
Image result for rick harrisonImage result for thanos

Thanos’ movement, on the other hand, really did not look great. Whenever he was walking around it was kinda blocky? And the scenes where he was fighting were just messes. Probably the most ridiculous was him wrestling with the Hulk at the beginning, which looked like two claymation figures smashed together.

 

Some of the action was kinda cool. Both the Iron Man style “blast lasers at things,” and the Captain America “punch things with shields” have gotten tiresome, but all the stuff with Dr. Strange, Ebony Maw, and even Spider-Man looked really good. There’s one point where Dr. Strange does the shadow clones thing from Naruto. Also the scene I mentioned earlier with Spider-Man and the portals. But by far the best action in the movie was Thor’s entrance onto the battlefield in Wakanda. Bitches got z a p p e d.

 

The opening shot gave me (and my boi Andy) some serious Star Wars vibes. For a minute I thought I was watching part 2 of the Solo trailer.

 

As far as cinematography goes, I kept hearing about the Russo brothers’ “unique handheld style” before seeing the movie. Now don’t get me wrong, I saw (and liked) Winter Soldier, which is the other Marvel thing they directed. In this film, that “style” basically translated to the camera occasionally moving a bit before immediately cutting to a still angle. I’m guessing that because they used so much CGI, they weren’t able to get the gritty action shots that they could’ve had from more hand-to-hand type combat. For that reason, the movie didn’t feel very unique. Then again, it is the 19th film in the series, so…

 

Sound

 

A lot of this movie’s score was themes from previous films that played whenever a certain person or place showed up. I don’t actually know if any original music was composed for this film, or if it was just a compilation of stuff from the other ones. Not that I could really tell Marvel soundtracks apart to begin with. (Except for Black Panther, still ❤ you Ludwig).

 

Note to Marvel: Making music louder does not make it more epic. So stop. Please.

 

Conclusion

 

Infinity War is probably the most “Marvel” of all the Marvel movies. It wastes no time with set-up or world building, launching you straight into the action and holding you there for its full (admittedly long) 160 minute run time. This is a movie that I would genuinely recommend to those who enjoy these kinds of movies, as I think it’s one of the purest experiences with them you could possibly have. For those that couldn’t care less, and others, like me, somewhere in the middle, this is not a very good film. I’d be remiss not to mention the boredom you conscribe to when entering the theater. Consider yourselves warned.

 

Good for: People who have seen most of the previous Marvel movies and are invested in the franchise

 

Bad for: People who have not seen most of the previous Marvel movies and are not invested in the franchise

 

Bod R8s: 5.1/8

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