First thoughts on Avengers: Infinity War

avFirst of all, kudos to a commenter on a forum who said this film would have been better had the Avengers first jumped into a spaceship, and Thanos proceeded to pursue them throughout the film at a steady speed waiting for them to run out of fuel…

Anyway. Maybe Lucasfilm will sit up and take notice of what Marvel has done here, fashioning a genuine blockbuster with action and spills and relentless drive – and I do mean relentless. I mean, this thing hardly ever pauses to take any breath, it feels like one action sequence after another, and yes, that does get wearying and while many seem to love it I do feel it weakens the movie as a solitary movie. But of course, even discounting its a part one to a part two, this film is really the culmination of several films and series in the Marvel universe so it’s hardly going to function as a single movie proper.

What is fairly breathtaking is the sleight of hand, the brevity and shorthand of both character arcs and the confident performances. There is a confidence and belief in the audience knowing who these characters are and what their drives and arcs are. We know who they are what they are doing and why and it’s all done so casually, offhand remarks or glances, it’s quite remarkable. Rarely is this film clumsy.

The film is, however, nowhere near as perfect as some reviews seem to infer. Maybe its my age, but I’m getting rather weary of endless effects sequences and so much CGI that the film almost feels like an animated movie. Maybe I would have appreciated more pause, less race to the next stunt/explosion/fight sequence. But I suppose at this point -19 films in- that Marvel have earned this assault on the senses. Maybe I’ just getting old.

Maybe, of course, the relentless action and assault on my poor optic nerves will pay off with a second film that is a little more reflective and which takes stock of the apocalyptic action with some emotional impact. Or maybe not. It will be fun finding out, of course.

As for poor DC. Well, they might as well put up the white flag and reboot everything. The gap in quality between the DC films and the Marvel films is just getting silly now. Game over, I think.

 

7 thoughts on “First thoughts on Avengers: Infinity War

  1. I guess it’s a tricky balance making this kind of movie — if you pause, who do you pause on? Despite the sheer volume of action scenes, it does find at least a few reflective moments. Arguably the writing’s at at its best when it combines both character development/exposition and plot/action, like when Thanks collects the Soul Stone.

    Some have criticised the amount of assumed knowledge about characters, etc, that it requires, but I think that’s harsh. Trying to judge it as a standalone movie is ridiculous, just as it would be to treat, say, Return of the King that way. Okay, Infinity War has considerably more previous instalments than any movie in the history of movies, but times change. This is the first movie of it’s kind in that respect, and considering it doesn’t have a template to follow I think they did a remarkable job.

    1. I’m certainly hoping that part two is not quite as hectic as part one was. I’m curious, also, to see if the world is any different with half the population gone- is the timeline any different as if they never existed, or is it more like The Leftovers, in which they were there one minute and then suddenly gone?

      I do think Infinity War is a very good film, but its not as good as Homecoming or Thor: Ragnarok to me- those films had context and drama amid all the action, that I thought Infinity War lost somewhat in all the senses-shattering action. Mind you, maybe there is a 3-hour cut that will address my concerns…not that Marvel have ever gone down the Director’s Cut route before, that I remember…

      I suppose if part one & two become a 5-hr movie when we can watch them together maybe the pace overall will balance out.

      1. Personally, I’m hoping they don’t play as a five-hour movie — I like the idea of them being separate (but obviously connected) films.

        One rumour I’ve read (and it seemed to be a total rumour, so I don’t think it counts as a spoiler — it might be utter poppycock) is that Part 2 picks up five years later, with the situation having been accepted by the survivors. I’d like it if they went down that route — the idea of the characters having to accept what happened seems more interesting than just diving straight into undoing it.

  2. Matthew McKinnon

    That post credits scene with Nick Fury had a helicopter crashing into a building as if it’s pilot had vanished, so I’d imagine it’s a Leftovers scenario more than anything else.
    Can’t imagine there’s be a five-year interim as Fury was messsaging Capt. Marvel, and it’d be weird if she turned up five years late.

    It was a very odd film. I started off enjoying it a lot, but the frantic pace and endless bombast became really wearisome after 90 minutes or so. None of the effects shots had any impact, as there was ALWAYS something going on ALL THE TIME. It was only the jokes that got me through.

    Though I did replicate the feeling of reading mediocre comics in the 1980: when I started reading comics, it was generally the very good stuff (Moore, Miller, Sienkiewicz, Simonson etc – eccentrics) from the very beginning. But I did occasionally do six issues or so of an average Marvel soap: X-Men or whatever: the ones with never ending stories and subplots that never fully paid off, and hundreds of characters you don’t really know if you haven’t been buying the comic for years, and there was always a massive climactic battle every six months. That was what watching IW was like. I even had that ‘I missed an issue’ sensation when the action turned to Wakanda, because I haven’t seen Black Panther yet.

    1. Yeah, I missed Black Panther too and it was indeed a bit weird seeing the characters and places that are no doubt set-up in that earlier movie. Having thought about it over the last week, it seems to me that Infinity War is both Marvel at its best and its very worst. They handle characters and casting very well indeed, but sometimes don’t know when to reign in all the excess. In that respect, its just like the rest of Hollywood these days- someone should write a critique ‘Blockbusters Unchained’ about the effect of CGI on the dramatic form today. I guess many fans love them for it (so any people cite this as the best Marvel film ever) but for me it just gets silly and, dare I say it, boring, with the rampant CGI stuff running chaotically unchecked as it does.

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