When you have a movie where all the good guys fight against each other, like in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, you know nobody is going to lose. No hero is going to kill another hero. It’s just silly and fan-indulgent. But when you have all of those same heroes fighting against someone who can literally control reality, time, and everything else, you wonder how it’s even possible for them all not to die.
Don’t get me wrong, Avengers: Infinity War is extremely self-indulgent, too. It’s one half of a culmination of ten years and nearly twenty movies of arc, throwing it all into two giant movies. If you’re a Marvel super-fan, that sounds great, right?
Well, this first half is a little overkill. As much as they really do try to make it work, half of the characters are completely unnecessary. There for the sole purpose of seeing their faces and/or fulfilling a contract. And even the few who were necessary to the story have an underwhelming and boring presence.
The best scenes are those where the Guardians of the Galaxy cross over with the Avengers. They are the most satisfying moments and give us the most fulfilling humor while being the least bit in vain.
Here, the heroes are up against Thanos, an intergalactic guy who is on a mission to find the six infinity stones. Each stone allows him to control a different aspect of existence (reality, time, etc.). His ultimate goal is to get rid of half of the universe’s population in order to prevent overpopulation, which had destroyed his home planet some years ago.
Infinity War might be the least comedic of all the movies, but it’s mostly because it has the least amount of downtime. Somehow we don’t miss it. The cutesy inside jokes aren’t relied on as much, so we actually get a deeper story.
At least from the villain’s perspective. Thanos becomes the star of the film. He is given a clear, yet not sympathized-with motive, and almost as much depth as Erik Killmonger. He’s a dark and twisted guy whose mere presence makes the movie darker and more twisted. Infinity War is his movie.
A big reason why I like Infinity War more than a lot of other Marvel movies is its sense of despair. How do they win? Will they win? Probably. But actually maybe not. In fact, I kinda want to see what happens if they lose, because at least then we wouldn’t feel cheated out of a realistic outcome.
The stakes in this movie are just higher than every other one before it. But at the same time, how will they match or exceed that sense of importance in future installments? You can’t just go back to the Avengers fighting another Obadiah Stane. You need to keep playing off of this Thanos character.
My biggest complaint is how the movie could have ended about 45 minutes sooner if it wasn’t for a ginormous plot hole involving Star-Lord. But then again, we wouldn’t have gotten as much justified dread in the long run. So I’m conflicted.
I’m genuinely excited about where the story will go next–perhaps the first time in awhile I’ve felt that way in this franchise. So overall, Infinity War is a win in my book.