(During quarantine my girlfriend and I are going through the Marvel movies chronologically. Surprisingly, she is really enjoying them, maybe even more than me. We are already a couple down and I’m gunna do write-ups for all of ‘em, the good and the bad.)
Well this is a whole lot of movie. I hadn’t seen Avengers: Infinity War since I watched it in the San Francisco IMAX upon release. There is a theory I have that I call the IMAX veil; in which the experience of viewing the movie in an IMAX theatre will enhance your feelings about the film much more than the theatre enhances the movie itself. It puts this veil over the movie because, of course you’re going to be blown away by whatever you’re watching when you’re viewing it on a screen that’s five fucking stories high. Needless to say, ‘Infinity War’ ain’t as good as the first time I saw it, but it’s still very good.
Let me just get this out of the way now, ‘Infinity War’ has the two worst jokes in the whole franchise. In what world would the Hulk, Doc Strange, and Iron Man stand around talking about their favorite flavors of Ben & Jerry ice-cream in the middle of an alien invasion? I’m sure it makes a great writing exercise for the screenwriters, coming up with ice-cream puns based on the heroes’ names, but Jesus. The second “fuck you” to good comedy writing is the single laziest joke I’ve ever heard in possibly any film, written to get the cheapest laugh imaginable, which is the back and forth between Thor and the Dwarf discussing what might kill him.
The character interactions in Infinity War are things comic fans could never have even drempt of – The Winter Soldier using Rocket Raccoon as a weapon, and then Rocket asking to buy his metal arm – that’s comedy and it works because that’s what the characters would realistically say. And the first time the Guardians meet with Stark, Spidey, and Strange was on another level. It’s more sandbox fun (though it isn’t as entertaining as in Civil War.)
But the stream of one liners never get suffocating like they’ve been known to do. This movie is as well balanced as the double edged dagger Thanos gives to Gamora. There are some of the most heartbreaking moments in the series to date; Peter Parker scared for his life was emotional as hell, and Gamora getting thrown in to that pit made me realise I care for these character much more than I thought.
From the get go, the moment the movie begins we are pulled in to space hell, as Thanos straight up murders Loki. Thank God. Loki’s been lingering around like a fart for way too long. Though, how many times has Loki been murdered, locked up, or shot into space? Fool me once, Kevin Feige. It was a huge move killing a main character in the opening scene, and they chose the perfect character to kill off. Side note: why does everyone think they can kill a 12 foot tall alien god with a single dagger. Loki tried it at the beginning, and so did Gamora later on.
Thor is the total MVP of the movie. When he finally wields that axe that the movie spends way too much time on, the pay off is massive. When Thor shoots in to the sky, and it starts lightning, and his eyes light up. That was the greatest Thor moment in the whole series. The big Avengers moment, the one where the camera circles around a bunch of heroes looking like badasses, was a weird one this time around. There weren’t any Avengers involved except for Thor alongside Rocket and Groot, and for that reason it might be my favourite circle-around.
Moving forward in the MCU, we gotta have a Guardians and Thor movie. Just throw ‘em in to one movie together. They have enough similarities and a relationship to outer space. They bounce off each other so well, and honestly both the Thor movies and the Guardians movies have always felt like there’s something missing.
There’s a lot of set up for the next movie, a lot of making sure the pieces are in the right place, and that requires a fair amount of boring conversations, endless exposition, and a dollop of suspending disbelief. And when it comes to suspending disbelief, they are taking some serious liberties with Iron Man’s suit, right? It doesn’t matter what explanation you give, his fucking t-shirt can not only turn in to an Iron Man suit, but create huge weapons welded together that he can use to trap Thanos. WTF.
Just a couple of nit-picks: Tom Vaughan-Lawlor was totally underused. He’s the fantastic Irish actor who played that Voldemort looking fella. And why does literally everybody have fancy new haircuts? Honestly, Black Widow is lucky to have any hair left after how often she bleaches it.