This Is An Overview of Avengers: Infinity War With Initial Reactions. We’ll do a Spoiler-FILLED version next Sunday when more have had a chance to see the movie.
We need a drink! (Thankfully, with the word Cocktail in our mission statement, one is never far away) So many super heroes. So much action. So much heartbreak. Avengers: Infinity War takes everything and everyone we love in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), puts it in a blender for two and a half hours and pours out one of the most spectacular cinematic cocktails we’ve had in a long time.
When we saw the trailers featuring nearly every character in the MCU, we were worried. Was Disney-Marvel just vomiting up heroes for the sake of cross-promotion and synergy? Would we be able to keep up with everything and everyone? Were they covering up a thin plot with lots of action and introducing another hero every 3 minutes? The answers are no, yes-ish, and no.
Heroes A Poppin’
Infinity War seems like the love child between an A-List red carpet and a Comic-Con dream line up. To put it in perspective: Chris Pratt, who is carrying TWO franchises (Guardians of the Galaxy & Jurassic World) and an ad campaign that launched during the Super Bowl, gets 28th billing in the credits 28th! That means there are 27 other stars ahead of the dude playing Star-Lord.
Robert Downey Jr., as Ironman, gets top billing and rightly so. He set this all in motion a decade ago. And let’s be honest, if he hadn’t sold the world on Ironman, none of this would have happened. He’s the Kelly Clarkson of the MCU. If Kell hadn’t given Idol legitimacy, we may have never had Carrie Underwood or William Hung. And who wants to live in that world? Not us!
The usual gang: Bruce Banner/Hulk, Steve Rogers/Capt. America, Thor, Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, is all here. But to fight a threat as big as Thanos, played in motion capture by Josh Brolin, you need to call in the reserves. That means Falcon, War Machine, T’Challa & Co. from Wakanda, Vision, Doctor Strange, an eager Spider-Man, Winter Soldier, Groot and more.
A cynical critic might look at that line up and think this was all just to sell toys and promote movies. And usually said critic would be right. But like a well aged port wine, the complex story unfolds gradually. We don’t get 27 heroes tossed in our lap in the first five minutes. Basically, there are six infinity stones from the inception of the universe. Each has a special power and is strong on its own. Harness the energy of all six at once and you can wipe out half the population of the Universe. And that’s just what Thanos wants.
He’s been doing that planet by planet for years, but is looking to speed up the process. Basically kill the universe to save it. He is not a one-dimensional character looking to do evil because it’s fun or for personal riches. Thanos believes his cause is just.
So calling in the cavalry is justified. Some have very little screen time and could have been eliminated. But the overkill doesn’t feel like overkill. And we still have to get through the second part next year.
That said, however..
For Fans Only
This can not be the first MCU movie you see. If someone hasn’t seen any of the other 143 films from the past ten years, but decides to see this one because they want to know what all the hype’s about, they’ll be sorely disappointed.
Infinity War depends on you being up to speed on most of the characters’ history, grudges, and special skills. You can watch a movie like Captain America Civil War without seeing the others and enjoy it. Some of the inside jokes and nuance will go over your head, but the plot and action stand alone well enough. Not here. There are so many heroes flying at you (literally!) that you need to have some idea who they are. You don’t need Falcon or Vision’s full history but you do need to know why Ironman can’t call Captain America and why Thor needs a new weapon.
The Plot Thickens
This movie is the culmination of a decade of intricate plot building and storytelling. If you didn’t see Deadpool a couple of years ago (and why didn’t you?!?!) you will be able to see the sequel and be up to speed. But Infinity War is everything and everyone everywhere all at once.
Some of the stones have been around us the entire time and we didn’t know (maybe people who read the comic books and know the canon knew but that ain’t us). The seeds for this film were planted years ago. There are a couple holes in the plot and a few non-sequiturs, but we’ll go into all those next week when we don’t restrain ourselves from discussing spoilers.
Worth The Wait
Marvel has trained its fans to watch the credits because there is always a fun scene or two tucked away. There is a scene in the credit roll. But it’s NOT fun but it IS worth the wait. If you don’t wait for it you will miss an über-crucial plot point.
The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation
A dirty martini with a lemon twist. This is what Tony Stark drank when he was being seduced by Scar-Jo. Dirty indeed.