Avengers: Infinity War  (2018)

Even if I haven't made all of them part of [Celluloid Hero], I've seen all the movies in the gigantic Marvel Cinematic Universe. I think a majority of the movies have been good-to-great, but there have been a few duds. I made sure to watch things in order of release (although some super-geeks have pointed out that the actual timeline might differ) and I genuinely wanted to see "Infinity War" when it came out...but life (and Baby Varacchi) just kept getting in the way. Here's the biggest issue with the MCU: it still all feels like this big funnel, where everything is on a collision course, and that goal is somewhat unattainable. The very nature of comic books means that nothing is permanent, so to have the dramatic weight of a life-or-death scenario is lessened when you expect a deus ex machina (or when you know that Samuel L. Jackson signed a deal for X number of movies, so he'll obviously be back for the sequels).

After 18 movies my details might not be perfect, but the Infinity Stones have been referenced throughout all the MCU, with Guardians of the Galaxy fully explaining their power and why Thanos was out to retrieve them all. Doing so would give Thanos incomprehensible power (even though he's already been established as the most powerful being in the universe). Possessing all six stones would give Thanos power over Mind, Soul, Space, Power, Time and Reality. Thanos believes the universe needs an equilibrium, and when a species begins to take too much from its environment, he resorts to a cleansing, killing half of a planet's population. While he has done this before on a planet-by-planet basis, getting all the stones would allow him to do it on a universal scale with a snap of his fingers.

As Thanos gets more of the Stones, the heroes come together from across the galaxy to join forces and fight against him. Hulk gets back to Earth to warn everyone; Doctor Strange takes Iron Man and Spider-Man into outer space where they meet half of the Guardians; Thor and Rocket and Groot had to some giant space forge to build a weapon to kill Thanos; back on Earth, Hulk gets together with Captain America, Falcon, Black Widow, War Machine, Vision, and Scarlet Witch. That group heads to Wakanda to join Black Panther, the Winter Soldier, and all the armies of Wakanda. Holy crap, did I miss anyone? Part of the intrigue when "Infinity Wars" was announced was just how they were going to cram all these characters together without it just being "Hi Iron Man, I'm StarLord and this is my friend Drax, let's go punch a bad guy." I will give the writers credit for being able to avoid that, and at least keeping each characters' personalities true to form. When you're taking characters that have been developed across different movies and different directors with different styles, the mashup could've turned totally sour, but everything stayed pretty good.

The issue I really have is that despite combining a ton of characters, spanning locations across the galaxy, and looking incredible...the story was just meh. As I said, knowing that this was just Part One of the Infinity War, I knew things wouldn't be wrapped up nicely. I guess knowing that just messed with the pacing, because it felt like a whole lot of things were happening that I knew wouldn't affect the outcome. My wife and I actually paused the movie for a quick break, and it surprised me to see that 90 minutes had already passed, and there were still 60 more to go.

It was still a fun ride, it was cool to see every hero on the screen at the same time, the CGI was awesome. Unfortunately due to putting off my viewing, I had a few spoilers when it came to knowing who would suffer from the finger snap of Thanos, but some others were definitely a surprise. Still, knowing that nothing was going to be resolved, and also knowing that comic book reality meant that none of these deaths needed to be permanent just left the overall viewing experience a bit deflated.

[Celluloid Hero] gives "Avengers: Infinity War" a 5 out of 10.

 

 

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