On Tuesday I posted my spoiler-free review of the latest blockbuster in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you haven’t seen the film yet then, be warned, this post will discuss several big events that happen during the film. I’d suggest if that’s the case that you head to my other post instead. Then you can remain in ignorant bliss of what’s to come. Although, by this point, who hasn’t seen it? I mean look how much fucking money it’s made. Still, it’s good practice to warn of spoilers these days as I’ve run foul of them myself. I’d guessed something would happen before seeing the film and it was confirmed to me by an Instagram account that I no longer follow. They’d even made a point of not wanting to spoil to the film before they fucking spoilt it for me. It’s so frustrating. Like the time a guy I work with purposeful told me that Quicksilver died at the end of Age of Ultron despite knowing I hadn’t seen it. That guy is a straight up dick and I’ve never forgiven him. There are certain things I can let you get away with but spoiling a Marvel film? No way, man. So, without further ranting, I present my inner thoughts about Infinity War. Feel free to share your theories or disagree with me in the comments. I’m always up for a discussion about this film.
- Most comic book movie ever made
I know a lot of people have criticised the fact that this film jumps all over the place too much. Reviews have talked about spinning plates to describe the feeling of having to leave groups of people just when it’s getting good in order to check in with someone else. I agree that there were moments when I would have preferred to stay in one place for a bit longer. However, I think it’s important to say that this movie, more than any in the MCU, feels like a comic book. The film is mostly based on the The Infinity Gauntlet series of comics. It was an epic serialisation that brought together so many of Marvel’s greatest superheroes. We’ve seen that happen on the big screen before, of course, but for the first time the film has the same feel as the comics. Going from one location to another is just like reading from panel to panel. It’s am ambitious thing and it works really well.
- Loki’s death is a massive relief and shouldn’t be retconned
Now I don’t wish to anger any of his huge Tumblr following but Loki’s death at the beginning of this film wasn’t the big devastating event that everyone would have you believe. Let’s be honest, besides Tom Hiddleston’s beautiful face Loki didn’t have a lot going for him anymore. He’s had no real character development since 2012 for fuck’s sake. Thor: The Dark World was terrible as a whole but Loki really was a tired presence throughout. He was funny in Ragnarok but didn’t need to be there. By this point we’d see Loki reform and double-cross everyone so many times. It was unnecessary. But he’s been basically one note (okay maybe two-note) as a character since the end of The Avengers. Disney and Marvel are businesses, though, and they were never going to get rid of a fan favourite. Not when Hiddleston’s villain got so many people into screenings. I’ve been a Loki fan since the first Thor but over the years I’ve found my interest in him waning. Don’t get me wrong, Hiddleston did amazing things with a potentially silly character but his peak came when Loki was standing in front of a group of people in Germany and telling them to kneel. Since that point he (and Tom Hiddleston with him) has become a parody of himself. He’s literally just fan service at this point. He’s stayed around too long without adding anything. Killing him off was the right and only thing to do. And I’m sorry if all the pathetic young women out there are going to miss his face but Loki hasn’t been relevant for 6 years. If you want your fix then rewatch The Avengers. It’s long past the time we needed to move on.
- Heimdall deserved better
One death I’d be happy to have reversed is Heimdall. Not only because he was one of the first amazing black characters in the whole of MCU but because he died like a punk. Heimdall really came into his own in Ragnarok and should have been given the chance to fight alongside Thor to stop Thanos. I enjoyed that his final act was a heroic one but it wasn’t a fitting end for such a fantastic and significant character. And I know it’s probably because Idris Elba is so fucking busy these days but still. As if it wasn’t bad enough that the third Thor film dispatched the Warrior’s Three in the blink of an eye but we have to see Heimdall lying in a heap before being murdered moments later. It’s not right I tell you.
- Doctor Strange was the standout
As I’ve mentioned an uncomfortably large amount since seeing this film, my lust for Doctor Strange has only grown after seeing this film. I’ve always have a love of Benedict Cumberbatch’s face but there’s something about the cloak, facial hair, and grey streak that really does it for me. So, it’s possible that I was paying more attention to Stephen’s moments in the film that most people. However, it’s difficult to deny that something has happened to Strange since the end of his solo film. He still has that ego that has followed him around but he’s wiser, calmer, and more confident in his role as the protector or reality. He was this film’s strongest player and one of the most memorable performances all round. I loved his banter with Tony and his brief moments with Spidey. He manages to be funny and pulls off the egotistical leader thing in a way that Tony never had. Even if he didn’t seem to doing a lot, you can tell that Strange has it all figured out. You almost need to be looking at the things he didn’t do as well as what he did. When the others are tying to stop Peter attacking Thanos, Stephen is nowhere to be seen. He know’s what needs to happen. Thanos may be seemingly in control but we all know Strange is the one really pulling the strings.
- This was a film all about the villains
This film may call itself an Avengers film but the real stars here are the villains. I liked the fact that the film didn’t bog us down by reintroducing our beloved characters again (even if people are accusing the Russo brothers of gatekeeping or some shit).We all know who these guys are and, really, we just want to see them beat the shit out of some bad guys. This does mean that there is a lack of development on show. The writers have taken a lot for granted and just used the stereotypical character traits and existing knowledge of the audience to do their work for them. However, it does leave room for Marvel to change their luck when it comes to villains. The last few films in the MCU have started to give us more developed bad guys but it still wasn’t great. Hela was super cool but I think they could have pushed it further. Especially considering it was Cate fucking Blanchett. Ego from Guardians 2 was written in a similar way. There was loads going on but it could have been stronger. Yes, we’re very far from the days of Thor 2 and Iron Man 2 but villains were still an after-thought in these films. Until now. Thanos is a bad guy who is allowed to feel like a fully realised being. He has feelings and an understandable motivation. You feel sympathy for him and, in a weird way, get why he’s doing what he’s doing. You hate him but you still kind of like him. It’s wonderful. And as for the Black Order? I wanted more. Especially from Ebony Maw. That first showdown in New York was amazing. If the Russo brothers’ Winter Soldier forced Marvel to make better films then hopefully Infinity War will force future parts of the MCU to make better villains.
- I’m tired of Iron Man
As with Loki, I strongly suspect I’m in the minority here but I really do think it’s beyond time for RDJ to hand up his suit. Iron Man will always be the Marvel film that started off the whole thing and it will always be one of the best. Robert Downey Jr will always be one of the strongest actors in the MCU and his portrayal of Iron Man is fucking iconic. The only problem is, it’s been 10 fucking years now. Haven’t we seen Tony do his whole “I’m the greatest” egotistical banter thing enough now? I enjoyed sassy Iron Man the first few times. It’s just getting tired now. He either needed to develop or go. He hasn’t changed since his first appearance so he has to go. Look at Hugh Jackman and Wolverine. He made that character into something great through his work in the X-Men films but he couldn’t keep doing it forever. I was sad to see it end in Logan but was also relieved it was done. There’s only so much brooding a man with a metal exoskeleton can do before I want to see something else. And there’s only so much cocky metal man that I can watch before wanting to see someone else take over. Sorry Tony but you time is running out.
- The Guardians and Thor are everything
If there’s one thing we should celebrate about the reboot of Ghostbusters in 2016 it’s that it showed us all how funny Chris Hemsworth can be. I’m going to suggest it helped get us to a place where Thor: Ragnarok could become the funniest Marvel film of all time and one of the funniest films I’ve seen this year. So it was nice that the Russo brothers let Taika Waititi’s Thor continue in Infinity War. Thor was funny but also dealt with some deep emotional stuff. Still coming to terms with the loss of his father and the discovery that he had an evil sister, Thor was left lost by the death of this brother. Hemsworth did a great job of getting the pain across whilst still having time to have some fun. He had such a strong performance here that he really outshone most of his fellow heroes. But it was his time with the Guardians of the Galaxy that made this film. The Pirate Angel’s effect on the team was hilarious to watch. From jealous Peter, adoring Drax, and empathetic Gamora, this is a combo that worked way better than I expected. I loved it all. But nothing more than when teenage Groot, who had thus far been too immersed with his video game to are about the events happening around him, saw the thunder-god dying and sacrificed part of himself to create the handle of a new weapon. It was a weirdly emotional moment. I’m still tearing up just thinking about it.
- Captain America did bugger all
First off, Captain America’s entrance was everything. Ever since I first saw Steve with his beautiful beard in the trailer I’ve been excited to see Cap in this film. I wasn’t expecting him to turn up so quickly though. When it became apparent that he was hiding behind the train in Scotland I slapped my friend repeatedly on the arm in excitement. It was the perfect entrance. After that? Not much to write home about. I understand that there is another film coming to finish the story so characters will obviously have things coming up but with Cap, more than most, you can see that he’s being sidelined for later. He basically did nothing. It was so disappointing considering he’s supposed to be this great leader. I wanted more from him but was left feeling shortchanged. At least try to hide the fact that he has big things coming up. It reminded me of that episode of American Dad where Roger kept repeating that he had “some big stuff going on”. Like, Thor comes along with Stormbreaker to get Thanos and Steve’s like “sorry I couldn’t do more, I’ve got some biiiiig stuff going on.” Feels like a cop-out.
- Vision and Scarlet Witch’s relationship wasn’t handled well
The MCU have a history of fucking up their attempts to introduce romance. Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster is a prime example of it never quite working. As is the awful and misguided attempt to force a romance between Black Widow and Bruce in Age of Ultron. The most disappointing has to be between Scarlet Witch and Vision. But only because it was the one with the most potential. It has a basis in the comics and was strongly hinted at in Age of Ultron and Civil War. Still, the timing of this film means there was so little time for development that it was difficult to see why we should care. It was so rushed that you didn’t feel as great a sense of loss when Wanda had to decide to destroy the soul stone and kill the man she loved. If their romance had existed for longer than 2 hours at that point there might have been a bigger emotional payoff. As it stands, it was a bit a damp squib.
- Star-Lord and Gamora
Unlike the romance between Star-Lord and Gamora, which is something we have seen building for two movies now. I believed in their emotional struggle and was devastated by their whole narrative. I read something that said Chris Pratt and James Gunn had to fight to get Peter to actually try to kill Gamora. Apparently, the Russo brothers wanted him to back on his promise but that would have been a huge mistake. Watching him wrestle with that decision was haunting. You have seen these two characters come slowly come together over two films and to see it culminate with him having to decide between the woman he loved or the whole of the universe was gut-wrenching. This is the emotional and dramatic tension that we’ve been waiting for. It’s a powerful scene and Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana were excellent in this film.
Who doesn’t love Tom Holland, huh? We all instantly knew Marvel had made the right casting choice when he first appeared in the trailer for Civil War but with every subsequent appearance Peter Parker has proved to be a worthy addition to any film. His relationship with Tony is the only thing making Iron Man’s continued presence worthwhile. He’s fun, a great fighter, and is responsible for one of the most heartbreaking moments in this entire film. I was sad when the rest of the good guys died but killing the kid? That was too far, Marvel. Holland is supposed to have improvised the “I don’t want to go” line he says moments before his body disintegrates, which just makes him more awesome. I love the idea that his spidey-sense tipped him off that something was happening so he could say his final goodbyes. It’s sad but gave us that real sense of dire consequences that we’ve been missing in the movies.
- The future
Well, I say dire consequences but it’s hard not to be cynical about this. Spider-Man 2 is already slated for release in 2019, Guardians 3 is coming out in 2020, and, considering the success of Black Panther it would be mental if Marvel haven’t arranged a sequel. So, no matter how many times the Russo brothers say “every death is permanent” I just don’t believe it. There’s a plan to all this. As Doctor Strange told Tony, “it was the only way”. So how is this all going to be solved? With so many people dead who will fight to restore the universe. We have the original Avengers, Rocket, everyone (we think) minus Black Panther on Wakanda, War Machine, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Valkyrie and Korg, and a bit of Groot that can still come to life if needed. Then there’s the retired Hank Pym and his soon-to-be-returning wife who we assume are still alive. It’s an impressive enough roster of people but is it enough? Probably not.
Well, we know the next film will see Captain Marvel join the fight after her solo film earlier in 2019. That film will be set in the 90s and, presumably, show us how she became known to Nick Fury and why she’s been absent through so many of Earth’s biggest battles. But how is she going to stop Thanos? Well, the strongest theory I have is that she essentially takes on the role of Adam Warlock from the Infinity Gauntlet storyline. We know Adam is set to turn up in Guardians 3 so somebody needs to take on his role in the next film. I imagine Carol will turn up in front of the remaining Avengers and unite them to fight Thanos. She is set to be the strongest character we’ve encountered in these films so could have untold powers. It obviously might not go down exactly like the book but I can see the remaining heroes forming under her leadership.
But there’s the question of Thanos himself. If the ending of Infinity War is to be believed, he’s currently residing in soul world with Gamora. Strange told us that he needed to give Thanos the time stone and several cast members have been seen in their 2012 costumes. This clearly tells us the time stone is going to be used so will Gamora guilt Thanos into turning back time? Or will he realise that it on his own? Interestingly, Nebula is still alive at the end of the film so we may see another comic book storyline come into play. Will Nebula take the gauntlet for herself and become a villain Thanos needs to help bring down? It might be fun.
Whatever happens, it seems set that there will be at least one scene where literally all of Marvel, past and future, will come together to fight Thanos. If there’s a way we can get Peggy back in there than all the better. Avengers 4 is the true culmination of over 10 years work setting up the story and is the end of an era. Of course, it’s entirely possible that one or all of the original Avengers (at the very least Iron Man, Cap, and Thor) will make some sort of huge sacrifice to bring the rest back. We’ve already seen that Tony is the kind of person who will make a grand and suicidal gesture to save Earth so why not mirror his big moment in The Avengers to finally see him say goodbye? It’s not secret all 3 of these actors are either on their way out or have, at least, talked about it. The deaths we’ve seen might not be (or might not all be) permanent but it’s safe to say we’ll lose someone by the end of the next chapter.
Meaning they’ll be a few open spots to fill. I know the question of who will pick up the shield once Chris Evans is gone is a big one. Personally, I’d love to see Sam get it because Anthony Mackie is underrated and sensational. However, I know Bucky is the most logical choice. It’s pretty clearly Stan is set to be the next Captain but I hope we still get to see more of Falcon in the years to come. As for the rest? Well, there are several people who could take the place of Iron Man but I’m kinda hoping it isn’t War Machine. I love Rhodey but don’t seem him working without Tony. He’s basically just there as Stark’s BFF so I don’t see him fitting in with a new team in the same way. We’ll just have to wait and see.