This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
This article contains spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War and the wider MCU.
How could Avengers: Infinity War have possibly been any better? That’s the only question we can ask anyone who doesn’t love this movie. Sure, if you’re not into Marvel or you skipped a bunch of the previous instalments it’ll be very hard to understand what’s going on. But for those of us who have enjoyed every Marvel film, who have followed its arc and its characters from day one, this film promises two and a half hours of sheer, unfettered joy. And then it delivers it like a piece of precision clockwork.
The thing about Infinity War is that it’ll almost certainly never happen again – at least not in this way, and even if it does, probably not for us. As the MCU grows, as its biggest stars bow out, the big team-ups will probably lessen. Even when they come they might not feel as important as they did this time around. Will we care as much when Shang Chi is teaming up with the Eternals? Probably not. Because no matter how good it is, we’ll still be remembering how good it was that time when Iron Man met Doctor Strange, or when Captain America met Groot. And we’ll miss those guys when they’re not around. In that way, Infinity War is a once-in-a-generation treat.
In a way, it’s a completely new type of movie – one that couldn’t possibly have existed in the pre-Cinematic Universe age. Just as Marvel revolutionized comics by positing that all of its characters existed in one shared world, so they’ve done the same for movies. Sure, we’ve had long-running franchises before, and we’ve had movie crossovers before, but never a series that revelled in being both simultaneously. It’s a piece of marketing genius, sure, but it only worked because the idea connects with audiences who want to imagine that every story matters in some way beyond itself.
In more hyperbolic moments one might even call Infinity War the first modern blockbuster. This is a movie that assumes that A) everyone has probably seen all the franchise lead-ins and B) if they haven’t, they’re pop-culture literate enough not to need everything explained to them.
It’s a film made for an audience with access to Wikipedia. A film made for people who watch featurettes and read trailer breakdowns and check out the cast on Twitter and Instagram. The only reason EVERY blockbuster franchise isn’t going to be like this in the future isn’t because it’s a bad idea, or because audiences don’t want it – it’s because it’s so damn difficult to make it happen. Just ask Warner Bros, Universal and anyone else who’s tried to do their own version.
None of that would matter, though, if the film wasn’t so effortlessly enjoyable. And it is, in every way. In teaming up almost every Marvel character (with only a couple of notable omissions), Marvel Studios gifted us with fantastic character chemistry, thrilling set pieces, crackling dialogue, a compelling villain and, almost uniquely, stakes that have never mattered more. We waited 10 years for the Marvel Universe to finally come alive on screen the same way it does in the comics. They knew it had to be worth it. This is a movie that feels like the best bits of every other Marvel movie crammed into one.
Infinity War’s boldest move, however, is its cliffhanger ending. The worst finally happens: the Avengers lose, and after watching them save the world over and over we see what it means when they don’t. Admittedly, you have to feel bad for the kids who watched their favourite superheroes turn to dust in front of them, but we lived through the death of Optimus Prime, the departure of E.T., and the whole of Watership Down. They’ll get over it.
Ultimately, we’re back to that one question: how could it have possibly been any better? More characters, maybe, or more of the story. But in a world where practical realities have to be considered, where budget restrictions (and bladder restrictions) exist, this film was everything it could have been. Whatever Marvel Studios does next, they can kick back and know that if nothing else, they delivered everything they promised to.
Standout scene: Frankly in this movie, it’s almost easier to pick a scene that isn’t stand-out. As a friend on Twitter put it, “my favorite part of Infinity War is the whole of Infinity War.” If forced to choose, it’s tough to get past the pure “this feels more like a Marvel comic than most Marvel comics!” brilliance of Iron Man, Doctor Strange and Spider-Man teaming up to fight members of the Black Order on the streets of New York. But also a special mention to the scene where Thor is trying to stay upbeat while telling Rocket all that he’s lost over the course of six movies. With his home destroyed, his family and friends dead, his hammer shattered and his only love permanently estranged from him, Chris Hemsworth has never nailed it harder than when delivering Thor’s achingly honest assessment of the situation as “Well, if I’m wrong, then… what more could I lose?”
Best quip: In a film where almost every character gets at minimum one line worth quoting (“Mr. Stark, I’m being beamed up!”, “Tall guy, not that good looking?”, “Kick names. Take ass!” and so on), you have to give props to Tony Stark’s blasé summation of the entire plot of the movie: “He’s from space, he’s here to steal a necklace from a wizard.” Because let’s face it, isn’t that exactly what we turned up to see?
First appearances: This isn’t really a movie where you’re looking to meet new people because there’s not a lot of room for them. But let’s hear it for Eitri (Peter Dinklage), who is the guy who forges god-killing weapons and is therefore quite likely to be back in Avengers: Endgame, and for the Black Order – Thanos’ quartet of sidekicks – who make reasonably entertaining cannon fodder. Oh, and let’s also remember Vision’s human-like holographic disguise, which resembles a bejazzled Paul Bettany. In the comics, he uses the name Victor Shade when he’s pretending to be a human, so I’m considering this the first appearance of Victor Shade. Calling it now.
So long, farewell: …oh GOD.
Yep, the body count of key characters in Infinity War is the highest in the MCU so far. Loki, Gamora and Vision each meet untimely ends at the hands of Thanos. And then comes the Snap: Falcon, Bucky, Spider-Man, Star-Lord, Mantis, Drax, Groot, Scarlet Witch, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Nick Fury, Maria Hill, and Shuri (offscreen, although confirmed by the character posters for Endgame) all bite the dust in the film’s shocking finale.
It’s all connected: There’s not a single scene in this movie that isn’t designed to connect to a decade’s worth of previous movies and this article can only be so long. But let’s do a few just for fun.
• This is the first team-up of the Guardians and the Avengers, which is something we’ve all been waiting for since… well, since Guardians Of The Galaxy was first announced about a trillion years ago.
• Tony invites Wong to his wedding, having (presumably) gone through with his on-stage proposal just after the final scene of Spider-Man: Homecoming. Luckily for him, Pepper – someone who is more than used to Tony’s bullshit – said yes.
• T’Challa refers to Bucky as “the White Wolf” (as the children did in the tag scene of Black Panther), but any thoughts of this being a full-time codename are more or less banished by the announcement of the forthcoming Falcon & Winter Soldier TV show.
Credit check: Nick Fury and Maria Hill are monitoring the situation from New York when suddenly it becomes clear that not all is well. As the devastation afflicting the universe becomes apparent, Fury sees Maria Hill vanish before his eyes. He grabs his bag and in it, he finds a pager, which he activates just as he too begins to dissolve. The pager clatters to the ground and seconds later displays a Captain Marvel logo. Were you excited? We were excited.
And the final kicker? The credits end with the simple message “Thanos will return.” Hasn’t he done enough?
Are you a fan of Infinity War? Are there any other aspects of it that you love, or anything that we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below!