Now that most of the world has had time to watch and digest the events that took place during Avengers: Infinity War, the 19th-entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the beginning of the end for the franchise’s current narrative, many discussions and theories as to what the future holds in the superhero saga have begun to take place. With only a few hints and giveaways for what is to come, something fans of the MCU have become unfamiliar with, there is much left to be interpreted as installments such as Ant-Man And The Wasp, Captain Marvel, and the Untitled Avengers: Infinity War Sequel approach, and release, over the next year.
Keeping with the trend of spoiler discussions for the latest superhero-epic, two of Fandomwire’s writers, Chris Nugent, and Maxwell Mantik, decided to give their own reviews of the film, as well as an in-depth analysis as a continuation of Fandomwire’s podcasts above.
THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS!
Chris Nugent’s Review
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has become my favorite film franchise… ever. A spot that once typically belonged to childhood favourites such as the Toho Godzilla, Jurassic Park, or the James Bond 007 franchise, the MCU quickly became a personal prize of sorts, one that had captured my heart and the love I had for the silver-age comic books I had been given to me by my Father, the early comic book movies of the 2000’s such as Spider-Man 2 and Hulk (yea… you read that right), and the 90’s cartoons such as the Spider-Man Animated Series. Despite the lack of knowledge I had for characters such as Iron Man and Thor, talents such as Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, and the guidance of Kevin Feige made this universe extremely diverse, yet, one that could be easily accessible and relatable. And though I do have regrets about seeing Indiana Jones And The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull a second-time instead of Iron Man in 2008 after I had just turned 13-years-old, the fact that a franchise such as this is able to consistently be able to impress over quite a long-period of time for a single overall narrative is a feat of its own.
That being said, I still reserved many concerns as the weeks closed on the release of Infinity War; Would they have the balls to kill multiple characters? Would the humor distract from any of the dramatic elements? How effective would Thanos be? These, among many others, are questions I consistently pondered time, and time again, and while Avengers: Infinity War may not be a perfect film, it far exceeded the possible expectations I had laid-out for it.
Now, let’s slow down for a second and think about what made my expectations in the first place: of course I would have loved to have seen all 67-characters take on Thanos against his throne in space as seen in the comics, and, yes, the inclusion of Adam Warlock or Silver Surfer (despite character rights) would have been nice to see. But, as someone who had been keeping-up with news surrounding every nuance of the film, it was clear that these were most likely impossibilities, whether by technicalities or narrative. When the trailer from the 2018 San Diego Comic Con Hall H Marvel exhibit, and the digitally-released trailer in December, my expectations had become grounded, as in, it became clear to me what the film would, at the very least, look aesthetically and I could now begin analyzing the potential plot.
This leads to my next point, in that being the trailers. Now, I won’t spend much time on this, but if anybody had spent time reviewing the trailers (specifically the Teaser and Official) and had seen the film, you would notice that the trailers had digitally removed, or had not added, certain elements thus to avoid spoilers for the further plot points of the film. This is something that the Russo Brothers had hinted at doing during a press tour for Captain America: Civil War, but was also something concerning because, up until now, most comic book movie trailers that had either show too much or too little from their promotional material usually ended by damaging the final product (look to Iron Man 3 and the DC Extended Universes Suicide Squad), but in this case, it was done both tastefully, and effectively.
That, simply, is the best way I can describe the entirety of Avengers: Infinity War itself, it carefully considers develops the relationships and stories that audiences, worldwide, had become so attached to, and does so in a way that further develops, or “concludes” the current state of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The moment that Thanos snapped Loki’s neck, the former villainous-pride of the MCU, in front of Thor, on his Asgardian refugee ship, and drops the line “No resurrections this time”, you know that you are in for something new and challenging.
Prior to the obliteration of Thor’s Asgardian ship, Heimdall utilizes his remaining “dark magic” (which had been hinted at before in The Avengers) to send the Hulk to Earth. After crashing through the Sanctum Sanctorum, narrowly avoiding Wong and Doctor Strange, the Hulk reverts back into Bruce Banner, screaming of the impending doom that awaits Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the titles that had been used in the previous two Avengers films. From there we are treated to a two and a half hour roller coaster ride of superhero action and critical emotion that outdid the best of what the MCU had done before it.
After recruiting Iron Man to assist with the news of the fallen Banner and to locate Vision, who holds the Mind Stone. Their interactions are cut-short, however, when Black Order (or ‘Children of Thanos‘) members Ebony Maw, and Kull Obsidian arrive in New York to retrieve the Time Stone from Strange. After a short, but entertaining action sequence, Iron Man, along with Spider-Man, and Strange’s Cloak of Levitation pursue Maw’s ship after taking Strange. We are then met with the Guardians of The Galaxy, where they are in the midst of responding to a rescue beacon set-off by the Asgardian ship. Upon arriving at the wreckage, the Guardians discover Thor’s unconscious body and retrieve him into their ship. Once Thor is awoken by Mantis and Gamora fills him in with the details regarding her father Thanos, Thor sets a quest with Rocket Raccoon and Groot to find Nevidelir where a powerful weapon that can defeat the Mad Titan will be forged. The final introducing scene gives audiences a taste of what the remaining members of the Avengers have been doing the past while; Scarlet Witch and Vision have further explored their relationship, whereas veteran members such as Captain America, Black Widow, and Falcon keep watch over. After an attack from the other members of the Black Order, Proxima Midnight, and Corvus Glave on Vision in attempt to retrieve the Mind Stone, the refugee Avengers retreat back to Avengers HQ in New York, where they meet with War Machine and where Banner led himself to.
Much like some of the other great action/adventure movies in history, Infinity War carefully takes it’s time setting perfect structure for each plot-line for the film, allowing a natural and fluent progression. There is little left to set-up for the movie at this point, and it becomes a race-against-time to beat Thanos to each of the remaining stones.
We see Thanos get away with both the Reality Stone and Gamora after confronting The Collector and the Guardians on Knowhere. Spider-Man and Iron Man devise a plan to defeat Maw by ejecting him into the vacuum of space to rescue the Sorcerer Supreme before deciding to stay on course for Thanos’ homeworld, Titan. Captain America organizes for the Avengers to send Vision to Wakanda in request of Black Panther’s assistance, as well as some weaponry in the Winter Soldier, or the White Wolf as he is referred to now.
Thanos reveals a captured and tortured Nebula to Gamora in demand for the location of the Soul Stone. At this time, the Avengers first cross paths with the Guardians after Nebula sends a message to Mantis telling them to meet on Titan, and Shuri, along with her assortment of Wakandan technology, beginning work on removing the stone from Vision. Thanos goes to the planet Vormir where the Soul Stone lay, there, both him and Gamora are approached by an entity revealed to be the Red Skull, a character not seen since Captain America: The First Avenger, where the Nazi-science leader is teleported into the far reaches of space by the Tesseract or the Space Stone. The most emotional, and ultimately disturbing scene in Infinity War takes place when Thanos must sacrifice Gamora, as a character of love, in order to be given the stone… the scene still sends chills down my spine and is one that needs to be experienced, rather than described.
The film manages to give fair and equal attention to each plot of the film. Once Thor retrieves his new weapon, Stormbreaker, the Battle of Wakanda commences, and Thanos approached the remaining heroes on Titan, the movie takes off in a direction we had yet to see in any other Marvel movie to this point. Thanos manages to resist the thwarts set by characters such as Iron Man and Doctor Strange, despite a controversial character moment for Star-Lord, and Thor evens the playing field against the Black Order’s assault on the Wakandan-land.
After Thanos kicks the ever-loving hell out of the heroes on Titan and retrieves the Time Stone from Strange, he transports to Earth to find his last prize. This is when we get the most important moments in arguably the entire MCU’s history: Scarlet Witch is tasked with having to kill Vision to prevent Thanos from getting the stone, only to see him be brought back to life by the power of the Time Stone so that Thanos may complete his collection. The Avengers make a grand retaliation against Thanos, but prove to be futile. One last strike against the Mad Titan from Thor’s Stormbreaker axe would cause significant damage to his target, but in an attempt to get in one last word, Thor gives the Infinity Stone-wielding villain enough time to snap his fingers and accomplish his goal. Thanos retreats to his new homeworld, possibly Gamoras former-homeworld, to sit and watch the sunset smiling, while the rest of the universe is seen falling apart as half of all life disintegrates instantaneously, taking the lives of characters such as Black Panther, Winter Soldier, Scarlet Witch, Star-Lord, Drax, Doctor Strange, and Spider-Man. An unexpected ending, but one that feels deserved as this is Thanos’ movie.
There are quite a few comparisons that can also be made in parallel to Jim Starlin’s original Infinity Gauntlet-run, as well as the stories that followed. Banner takes the place of Silver Surfer crashing through the Sanctum Sanctorum to warn of Thanos’ arrival. Gamora’s consistent relations to the Soul Stone and the Soul World. Nebula being held in a state of pre-death. Thanos encouraging the Avengers to attack him. Thanos walking and taking-out Avengers one-by-one without hesitation. While it was clear in a production video of Infinity War from January 2017 that the Russos would be taking notes from the Gauntlet storyline, it is still very inspiring to see so many elements from that narrative into a film that is already filled to the brim.
Infinity War also manages to encapsulate or further develop multiple character arcs throughout the film, Stark’s vision appears true, Hulk and Banner’s relationship becomes more complex, Nebula’s tension with Thanos climaxes, the list goes on, and on. Who knows? There is even the possibility of seeing a colorless Vision appear functional as seen throughout much of the character’s comic history.
Avengers: Infinity War is everything you could want, and more. While there were some slower moments, and the Black Order lacked screentime, it is difficult enough to match the millions of expectations set by fans, but they managed to do so with what felt like ease. It will be interesting to see the direction in which Avengers 4 will take, but we do know that Strange’s plan will come to fruition and we will see the timely arrival of Captain Marvel herself.
Avengers: Infinity War – 9.5/10
Maxwell Mantik’s Review
Avengers Infinity War has been out for a couple weeks now giving a good chunk of people a chance to see it. That being said I’m going to give a SPOILER review of my thoughts regarding the movie. It’s been a little while since I watched it so I should be over the initial nostalgia overload and will give it an honest review.
General synopsis is that this is probably my new favorite movie in the MCU. This is the first MCU movie where there have been any real stakes involved. I mean right off the bat they kill both Heimdall and Loki within the first five minutes of the movie starting. Thanos also beats the crap out of the Hulk, so badly, in fact, it scares him from re-appearing to fight in the movie’s future encounters. My hope for the film was that Thanos would get all the Infinity Stones in the end, and boy did they deliver. He gets both Space and Power Stones in the first five minutes of the movie, the two shown in the trailers. I was definitely happy to see they deceived us in the trailers with his gauntlets count in important scenes. For instance, on Titan, he has four instead of the two shown. During the course of the film, he gathers the other four stones one by one as he travels from planet to planet using the Space Stone to portal around the galaxy. He also uses all of them to great effect such as creating a virtual universe with the Reality Stone which completely fools the Guardians of the Galaxy.
It’s a little down this part of the film where we follow four different paths leading up to the final act. I was definitely happy to see that they didn’t drag out the moments of individual paths as they start diverging quite quickly. For instance, the Guardians meeting up with Stark, Strange, and Parker shortly after Thanos captures Gamora and portals away. The short conflict that ensued between the Guardians and the Avengers was also a nice surprise as it would be a natural reaction to anyone in one of Thanos’ ships. Granted the more I thought about it, the more I realized Star-Lord is really a budget Iron Man. Once they figure out they’re on the same side then more of the paths start coming together. Shortly after Thanos sacrifices Gamora for the Soul Stone he returns to Titan to get the Time Stone from Strange. Before Thanos’ arrival, Dr. Strange went forwards in time looking to see if they could win any of the outcomes to which he finds one. I was kind of hoping he’d find two for the simple reason that whatever happened from here on in was all part of the one positive outcome that Strange saw.
Despite that minor gripe, it sure as hell didn’t detract from the conflict that would take place on Titan when Thanos did eventually arrive. Meanwhile, as that’s going on and the group on Earth prepared for the attempt at the Mind Stone we have our kind of Hobbit esque group in Thor, Rocket, and Groot. This little gaggle of the hero’s sought a weapon equal in power of the Infinity Gauntlet (kind of similar to Frodo and Sam’s role in the Lord of the Rings). I also found it hilarious that Peter Dinklage was a character much larger than most but was still classified as a dwarf in this film. It was also interesting given Thor’s big arc in Ragnarok was his hammer didn’t make him who he was, and yet here he was seeking a new weapon of similar properties in his very next film appearance. It’s around here where the film started taking a similar path as Return of the Jedi, which was in every conceivable way a good thing.
The three main groups all transpire at once, being the groups on Titan, Earth and Thor’s holy trinity. This is where the film kicks it into overdrive as it’s basically perfection from here on in. It plays off so well with most of the strongest of the Avengers fighting Thanos and the more grounded ones taking on the Black Order. It made the two main conflicts seem more satisfying as there really weren’t a whole lot of characters who had a big power edge over the others. However, the highlight one for me was the battle on Titan as we got to see the Gauntlet get used a bunch. We also saw great progression with Strange, Iron Man and Spiderman from when we last saw them in their own films. That being said, the fight on Earth was also a joy to watch where we really see Scarlett Witch seem to turn the tide of the battle… Until Thanos is done with the group on Titan. It was going so well for the Avengers as well since Thor’s group returned with a new godly weapon that was absolutely laying waste to Thanos’ forces. It was nice to see when Thanos arrived on Earth the remaining heroes could do little to even slow him down as he cast them aside like they were nothing. The desperation moves to have Scarlett Witch destroy the Mind Stone almost ruined the film with a copout ending. Fortunately, Thanos used the newly acquired Time Stone to reverse that event and take the Mind Stone by crushing Vision’s skull. Thor would then show up and hurl the new axe at Thanos seeming mortally wounding him and ruining the film again. Thankfully that’s not what happened next following the quote “You should have gone for the head”. This leads to the epic climax that everyone talks about, where Thanos snaps his fingers wiping out half the universe. We lose a huge number of hero’s from the snap as well. Casualties are Bucky, Panther, Spidey, Groot, Star-Lord, Drax, Mantis, Strange, Falcon, and Scarlett Witch. The film ends with Thanos on a new planet smiling into the sunset at a job well done. We also finally got a rewarding after credits scene as Maria Hill and Nick Fury are killed by the snap, but not before Fury uses a transponder to contact Captain Marvel.
Now for my thoughts on the film that everyone’s talking about. I enjoyed the pacing quite a lot, there were very few moments where it felt slow. This really lent itself well to the third act which played out much like Return of the Jedi’s where there were three separate groups all doing different things at the same time. The transition periods seemed to suit the scenes well, my one gripe regarding technical aspects is I wish the film was just a bit longer. There are a lot of characters present, and I feel as a result that the film could have used a three hour run time. Aside from that my only other minor gripe was that I felt there were a couple moments of poorly timed humor, thankfully there was none during moments of heavy conflict. The Black Order was cool albeit almost complete pushovers as they accounted for zero hero deaths. Every hero has a few good action moments, with Dr. Strange vs. Thanos being easily my favorite. For a more complete review of the film, watch the linked podcast with myself and fellow Fandomwire writer Chris Nugent above. My final review of the movie is solid and an absolute must-see for anyone who enjoys superhero or action movies in general. Thanks for reading/listing and stay tuned for more Avengers content on Fandomwire.
Avengers: Infinity War – 9/10
Equipment and Microphone Provided By: Carmel Hauck