A short, spoiler-free splurge on Infinity War
It is only the fifth day since Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War released, so I do not want to waste time with spoilers or discussions on events and what did or didn’t happen. In brief (because it is late here, I am in the middle of twelve straight days at work), I want to just share my appreciation for the latest in the ever-growing MCU treasure trove.
Within a decade Marvel and its cinematic universe have not only grown their own category (which I just named) but also started blending and twisting it in their own ways. Not content with being at the top of the mountain, or the only ones on the damn mountain, they set about making that peak seem damn homely.
There are two main avenues down which the Marvel brass walked to begin their experiments (ignoring the obvious fact that all this success sits atop fifty years of unsurpassable source material). Firstly, there is the sheer number of characters. Well-formed characters. Second, is the use of tones.
To look at the ‘Phases’, it is clear that Phase One wanted to play it safe. In Phase Two, there was more room. There was house money to play with. Nothing, shouted this to the world so much as when Guardians of the Galaxy roared on to the scene. The interstellar gang diverged from the plan so much: a team-up movie, set off -planet, with double the usual humour, a perfect soundtrack and, oh yeah, this was all done with the first ‘unknown’ faction to the average fan.
Luckily, Guardians was a rousing success, and no looking back was needed. We had spy thrillers in Winter Soldier, more humour in Ant-Man, mysticism in Doctor Strange and more and more planets, themes, characters and plotlines.
Then they mashed it all together.
‘The most ambitious crossover event’ has appeared on various headlines and memes in the past few weeks. There’s a debate over what ambition means when you just absolutely nail it straight off.
Infinity War looks pressure straight in the face, and keeps on walking by. Infinity War puts seven different franchises on its shoulders, and keeps on trucking. Infinity War takes a horde of characters, not to mention actors, and pulls off an outstanding feat of writing.
Each group, each character, was given their due, their role, and not once did it feel forced. Consider that. Dozens and dozens of characters and not one appeared felt forced or cheap. Yes, the big names got the lion’s share of the emotional weight, but I would argue that every character got at least one ‘moment’.
Consider one of the great challenges of this film is how many people have to meet each other in such a short space of time, not to mention getting them to accept and work together. It makes it even more impressive that the already-cemented connections, the ones forged in previous Avenger or otherwise films, still get their due, still get developed, still tug on the heartstrings.
OK, so they can share out the lines. What else?
This film does not miss a beat. Not one. I found myself not having a single thought for the entire two and a half hours. I was just glued, as all these different decade-laden stars came together to create something bigger than their parts. This was nothing short of a writing masterpiece. To give each actor and character their due, and some major roles, to keep the pace moving, to get that many goddam jokes in…this script deserves serious study.
It won’t be a surprise to say that several different storylines weave through each other in this film, with more than a few characters jumping between the multiple plotlines (think Game of Thrones but if they could fly). That could so easily have gone wrong. Too long on one group, too short on another, too big of gap before returning…the problems were lining up to break in.
Luckily, Infinity War had Drax on the door.
I’m gabbling. I know. This is not well-written. But forgive me, its only been three days since I saw the film, and there are still more than a handful of moments that I only have to think of to have my arm hair rise like I’m Peter Parker or something. The adrenaline I felt, the ‘yes, we deserve this’, comes in multiple formats.
The only thing that really comes close to spoilery (but don’t worry), that I will mention is on the villain, Thanos. Long has Marvel been criticised on their villains, and for good reason. It’s something they’ve begun to figure out (just look at Michael B. Jordan in Black Panther). Considering how long Thanos has been built up for, considering his comic-book background, they needed to make a great villain.
They did not.
They made a great character.
Say no more, but trust me.
Let me go through my checklist here:
- Amazing construction of script
- mastery of pace
- Superb management of both stars and characters
- Just really cool character reveals
- big bad guy
Yep, that is what I wanted to let you all know about.
Now go see it, and hopefully, we can all discuss the spoilery bits soon.
Avengers Infinity War is something else entirely. We are one spoilt-ass bunch.