Avengers Infinity War: high drama or cheap shell game? (Movie Review)
Here we are for the third Avengers film and the 19th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe series. (“Who knows what adventures The [Avengers] will have between now and when the series becomes unprofitable.”) The MCU has been an above-average experience for me with a high point of Winter Soldier and the least enjoyable experience being Age of Ultron. Now, we get to finally see all of the different corners of the MCU come together, which turns out to be a lot of fun. But at the same time, does this story give us high drama or are the cornerstones of the plot indications of the whole thing being just a cheap shell game? Spoilers follow!
The story of Infinity War features what I’m refer to as temporary or permanent change to the MCU or, to be more specific, temporary or permanent death. When you weigh all of the factors of the plot as well as the business reality of the Walt Disney Company, it’s clear that some characters could be gone for good, but others are most definitely coming back.
That’s the thing about the plot – if the good guys are able to get the Time Stone from Thanos in the next movie, every single unfortunate event we see in this film could be undone in the next with the flick of a wrist. This begs the question: if everything can be undone, does that mean there are no stakes and therefore what we witnessed doesn’t matter?
The answer is no, it does matter. The reason is the thing that the MCU has done that separates it from all of its pale imitators. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is built around characters and their relationships between each other. Just because the Avengers can get the old team back together and, with the help of a few new friends, bring back all their old buddies, does it mean that this didn’t happen or affect the characters. This incident is going to leave a mark on Tony, Steve, Thor, Bruce, Nat and so on. Even Rocket feels the pain of the loss while the Avengers will also feel the failure. Tony was so close to getting the Gauntlet, Thor had the axe buried in Thanos his heart, Bruce couldn’t get the Hulk to come out… There’ll be a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking going on in the post-mortem, that’s for sure.
Infinity War is the ultimate magic trick – you know Spider-Man and Black Panther we’ll be back, but it still hurts because we see what this did to the characters they left behind. We sympathize with their loss, so it’s still real to us even though the other part of our brain is telling us that it’ll all work out in the end, but you can’t help but feel it in the moment.
I didn’t have high expectations for Infinity War going in, and Civil War felt like a step backwards after the Triumph of Winter Soldier, but the Russo Brothers have delivered again. Sure, it’s not quite as magnificent as their first MCU effort, but this’ll do.