Not Your Typical Marvel Movie
So, I’m just going to assume that most people who are interested in Marvel movies or comic book movies has already seen this movie, but just in case people haven’t, this is a Marvel movie like no other. It has been setting up since the very first Avengers film. It is essentially the entire Marvel universe (with exceptions) in multiple storylines fighting against the “big bad” of the movie, Thanos, to keep him from getting the Infinity Stones (various items that have been teased in Marvel movies like the Tesseract). However, this movie doesn’t follow the typical Marvel formula because it has multiple heroes in multiple places trying to keep Thanos (or his agents) from getting the stones. While some times wildly inventive, these multiple storylines are also wildly disjointed and make the movie feel more disjointed than it probably should be.
People Keep Dying
For me, I’m just going to come right and say it (don’t worry–no spoilers), people just keep on dying in this movie. Here’s the thing, deaths in movies are sometimes justified (such as the death that occurs in Star Wars. Each death of each of the characters (both major and minor–I’m thinking of the Death Star scene and the “Trench Run” scene especially) either propel the movie forward or increase the tension and make us feel that the main character’s lives and mission are in serious peril. In this movie, characters keep dying, but it doesn’t feel earned. It feels like the filmmakers wanted to be shocking and provocative. See, look who can kill, now just wait and watch who we kill next. While guaranteed to keep you glued to your seats to see who’s dying next, it doesn’t really make for compelling drama, nor does it really engender repeat viewings (I’ve owned the movie for a week now and I’ve not rewatched it once–by this time with the other Avengers and the later Captain America movies (which are essentially Avengers 1.5/Avengers 2.5 movies), I would have rewatched them multiple times by now.
Avengers: Infinity War (part 2)
Next year, we will have the resolution to this story with part 2 of this movie. I’m pretty sure the “solution” to the movie was sown by “seeds” planted in this movie (pay particular attention to the scene where Stark and Doctor Strange discuss possible outcomes after Strange looks into the future), but it is possible that this is a misdirect by the filmmakers. Either way, I’m not sure how much “fun” I’m going to have with the second part based on the “bad taste” the first part left in my mouth. Unfortunately, this isn’t a case of Empire Strikes Back, where the second entry is by necessity darker than the first, but rather one where I feel the filmmakers tried to use shock value to enhance the tension rather than going with heroic and meaningful deaths. In closing, I also have to say I wasn’t a fan of Thanos’s motivation. Genocide, for any reason (and that includes population control) is still Genocide. While he was “a bad dude,” there was a surprising amount of sympathy given to the character for this movie that 1) wasn’t earned, 2) other movies featuring him in scenes didn’t show/highlight and 3) wasn’t actually relevant to the character. Sure, you don’t want a scene chewing villain, but in my mind, Thanos lacks the cold, calculated terror of a Darth Vader, who while there is good inside of him, does some personally horrific things to get his motives accomplished. Thanos is from the newer, Kylo Ren school of villainy, where he has to whine, emote, and act like a petulant child before he can enact his twisted schemes because, by golly, we (the audience) gotta’ feel sorry for the poor slob as he’s only trying to do the “right” thing by his way of thinking. Oh, boo hoo. Sorry, I (personally) don’t care for this particular type of villain and it throws me out of the movie every time I encounter one like that (Syndrome from the Incredibles has a similar effect on me).
Overall Score: B-/C+
Okay, so I’m being charitable with the B- as there are some very inventive and terrific fight scenes (as usual for the Russo Brothers). However, some characters do some pretty dumb things (especially for Marvel movies) and I really didn’t care for the way Thanos was sometimes handled/depicted. It is a spectacle, no doubt, and is pretty much required viewing to stay relevant with popular culture, but as a movie, it isn’t nearly as strong as several other Marvel movies. I’m not sure where I’m going to place it on the list, but I can give you a preview here: it will not unseat my top 3 Marvel movies currently. Not slagging on the movie per se, but it just didn’t connect with me. Too much emphasis on cheap, unearned deaths, not enough on true characterization and story pretty much sums up my reaction to it in one sentence. This is the first Russo Brothers Marvel movie that has been a swing and miss with me.