Is Infinity War Worth The Hype?

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WARNING: This blog post absolutely contains spoilers.  Read at your own risk.  You have been warned.

Regardless of anyone’s personal opinions about the latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is hard to deny that this is a huge moment in movie history.  This is a film that fans have been waiting for for years, a film that has been so eagerly anticipated that it had its release date bumped up.  And although all MCU films are essentially a part of the same franchise, there are smaller franchises within this cinematic universe that have all been brought together.  It is an epic film with an impossibly large cast of main characters. So does a film of this scope actually work?  I’m not sure.

I feel like Infinity War certainly took some steps in the right direction.  There were some aspects of the film that I believe were handled very well, yet there were other aspects that were lackluster compared to previous MCU films.  I think one of the main issues was that some of the different Marvel franchises within this film have very different tones. As a whole, Infinity War was a bit of a disjointed collage.  A friend of mine said that he felt that a good portion of the film was like a Guardians of the Galaxy movie, and I have to agree with him because I feel that so far the Guardians franchise has done the most work in introducing Thanos and laying the groundwork for this mad king to dominate as a villain in the MCU.  This could have easily been turned into Guardians Vol. 3.  However, there were significant elements of the film that did not feel like they were a part of the Guardians franchise as the tone of these other scenes matched the tone of the other MCU film franchises.  Although the different franchises are all a part of the same cinematic universe and have some unifying elements and the same recurring characters, for some reason that just didn’t completely come together for me for this film.  I would find myself enjoying a few scenes, and then a jump cut would present different heroes and a different setting; sometimes these scene changes really halted the action for me and I began to get bored when certain characters/story lines had their screen time.  I feel that if you split up the scenes you could easily create two separate movies from this one film.

It was also difficult for me to really get into the film from the beginning.  This is something that so many fans have been excited about for a long time, including myself.  There has been so much hype surrounding its release, so much backlash against those who would dare to release spoilers.  And I have heard a lot of people claim that it is the best film in the MCU.  With that much hype, I went in expecting greatness.  Unfortunately, the opening of the film failed to properly capture my attention and I felt that the action progressed at a slow pace for much of the film.  It wasn’t necessarily anything bad; I went in with such high expectations that even though it was a very good film overall, it certainly did not live up to my expectations.  (And I just have to add, as a fan of the comics, I am frustrated that Adam Warlock is not a part of Infinity War.)

Other minor frustrations included the overuse of CGI and bathos.  Thanos himself looked really good, but all of his followers looked cheap and fake by comparison.  Rather than simply have actors in costumes, the CG was painfully obvious and really was not on par for an MCU film.  The use of bathos has been a problem in many MCU films before this – this typically occurs when a serious and meaningful moment is undercut by a (somewhat unnecessary) humourous moment.  In some scenes these comedic elements were just fine, but in others I found it ruined some of the more meaningful moments of the story.  For example, when Quill has to swear on his mother that he will kill Gamora if she is captured, Drax interrupts them by eating chips and turning the situation into a comedic one.  Overall I enjoy Drax’s comedic moments, but in this particular scene it was inappropriate.

Now, here come the spoilers.  Given that some of the actors’ contracts will be coming to an end in the near future, there has been speculation since before the release of the film that some characters would be killed off.  Then after the film was released, despite the attempts of the internet as a whole to keep quiet about spoilers, even though no specifics were given many people mentioned that there were characters killed off in this movie.  So I basically went in to this film expecting everyone to die. I really was not phased by any of the deaths.  And in the scenes in which characters did die, there was enough of a buildup in those scenes that you could tell exactly who was going to die before it even happened.  There was really only one death that I actually found moving.

That being said, one of the aspects of this film that was handled really well were the elements of grief, loss, and trauma.  I was really impressed by the different ways in which these themes appeared.  Between Tony’s PTSD from the events in New York, Drax’s desire to avenge his family’s death, the Hulk’s refusal to reappear after being beaten, and Gamora and Nebula’s toxic relationship with their father, there are some truly deep and meaningful moments that really stand out for me in this film.  Some of them really affected me as they reminded me of some of my own personal issues.  I also found it interesting that there was an unusual and recurring theme: killing your loved ones.  Every single person who was forced to kill their loved one went through with it, and every time this was aborted in some way by an infinity stone.  Even when Thanos killed Gamora, he was still haunted by her soul in the soul stone.  I find myself wondering if this theme has anything to do with the fact that contracts are ending for some of the actors; the creators of the MCU will have to “kill” (or at least dispose of) the characters that they love.

So how do I feel about a second film?  I am actually hopeful.  The story behind Infinity War is so dense and filled with so many characters that it is obvious that this could never be contained to one film.  This was a good first attempt for a film that has a lot of ground to cover and a lot of characters to keep track of, but I hope that the creators behind the next installment of Infinity War strive to improve upon their current box office success, rather than resting on their laurels.  Perhaps if I re-watch this first film I may gain more from it, as there is so much packed into the movie that I am curious to see what I might have missed.  I am still excited to see the next film and to see what changes will be brought to the MCU because of it.

(P.S. As always, Stan Lee’s cameo was wonderful.)

(P.P.S. I still don’t understand why there are still people in the theatre who leave before the credits are finished.)

 

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