Avengers: Infinity War and Learning from Mistakes

Avengers: Infinity War comes out in just a couple days (and plenty of people have seen it already), and I’m excited. Sure, the Marvel Cinematic Universe gets its share of haters from its dominance of the box office, but I don’t have time for their nonsense. Instead, while avoiding any early spoilers about who might die or whether Hawkeye is in the movie at all, I’m looking forward to two and a half hours of wonderful glut.

Shaun and I have talked on the podcast about how the Avengers movies aren’t among our favorites in the series, though we’ve liked both. There are more deeply personal (Iron Man) or finely crafted (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) stories out there that satisfy a certain itch in ways that Avengers and Age of Ultron haven’t. But I think a lot of that has to do with Marvel trying to feed too many stories at once — it’s especially noticeable in Age of Ultron, where Quicksilver is introduced and then killed and your response is essentially “……..okay?”

So why would I be excited about Infinity War, with its pantheon of blockbuster characters all mashed into one ludicrous combination?

I think it’s because there’s a certain threshold in play. Civil War demonstrated that you can bring together certain subsets of characters as long as the narrative still holds together. Sure, there’s an interesting fight scene at an airport where a dozen Marvel characters collide, but the overarching plot really only concerns Tony Stark and Steve Rogers (and to a lesser extent Bucky Barnes). Other characters show up, get a fun moment and a quick quip or two, and they’re good to go!

The sheer undertaking involved in Infinity War means that almost all of the heroes are going to slide into that role. If Thanos is going to have as much of a presence as I expect in the first part, that only leaves so much time for other arcs like, say, Vision and Scarlet Witch. But after the success of Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther, I’m on board with individual franchises being reduced to vignettes in a bigger story, because I have a lot invested in almost half the characters involved. Maybe Loki is destined to have like five minutes of screen time in this, but I’m curious to see what it’s about. Same with War Machine and Spider-Man and a dozen other examples.

I suspect we’ll be doing an entire episode on this movie once we all have a chance to see it (dodging spoilers for a few days will be an adventure). I’m sure it’ll do nothing to dissuade the people who have had their fill of superhero movies or just Marvel’s stranglehold on cinema as a whole. But I don’t care about them — I’m ready to lose myself in 150 minutes of an overwrought, CGI-enhanced, downright bonkers movie. It should be a hell of a ride.

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