– By J.W. Fox –
WARNING: SPOILERS FOLLOW
It took over two weeks to digest everything I saw in Avengers: Infinity War, the only movie with more hype than the next Star Wars movie. Nearly every Marvel character is featured in this triumphant, awesome, epic, funny, heartbreaking first part of a two parter. To put it simply, it delivers as promised. An instant classic that has already become the basis of countless new internet memes.
A warning was placed above but I will put in another one here: SPOILERS FOLLOW!
If you watched the after-credit scenes from previous movies, you already know Thanos is making his move. The infinity stones have nearly all been located and he is ready to take them. Here is a quick review:
- Space Stone – Blue in color, housed in the Tesseract in possession of Thor and Asgardian refugees.
- Mind Stone – Yellow, housed in the scepter Loki carried during the first Avengers movie. It was removed and placed into the body of what was going to be Ultron but became Vision. It is currently on Earth implanted in his forehead.
- Reality Stone – Red, the Asgardians entrusted it to the Collector at the end of Thor: Dark World.
- Power Stone – Purple, housed by Nova Corps on Xandar after it is taken from Ronan the Accuser in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1.
- Time Stone – Green, in cased in Eye of Agamotto. Doctor Strange carries it around his neck.
- Soul Stone – Orange, and is seen for the first time in Infinity War.
They are scattered but not nearly as well protected as they were before the Marvel Cinematic Universe began. The Space, Reality, and Power Stones were discovered in early Marvel movies. As Thanos bides his time until he can secure all six, making subtle appearances here and there.
At the beginning of the movie, Thanos secures the Space and Power Stones easily. Thor, Loki and Hulk are no match for Thanos and his forces. He lays waste to Xandar off-screen and obtains the Power Stone. His minions arrive on Earth to obtain the Mind and Time Stones while he tracks down the Collector to get the Reality Stone. All that leaves is the Soul Stone, it’s location known only to Gamora. The Avengers and Guardians join forces to prevent him collecting all six.
Thanos is revealed to be one of the few survivors of a race nearly wiped out from environmental collapse. Before they died out, he offered as a solution an extreme form of population control. Half of the population would be killed randomly. The leaders of his race rejected his final solution and fell to their doom. Thanos is convinced life has an irresistible tendency to overwhelm its environment and destroy itself. A culling of the population is the only way to prevent the apocalypse. He is Malthus on galactic-steroids.
It is odd for a villain known for mass-murder to be motivated by the preservation of life. The sadness he feels as he remembers his home world actually comes across, thanks to Josh Brolin and some dynamite visual effects. His love for his adopted daughter Gamora also came through but not as well. Exactly why he loves her is never clear, nor do we ever see them share any kind of tender moment. Before we see him in any movie, Gamora expresses nothing but hatred for him.
Somehow, the movies manages to involve every character in the plot, some with minor roles others with major ones. A few are noticeably left out (i.e. Hawkeye and Ant-Man). The battles are spectacular and physics-defying but at this point we are in full-on magic fantasy mode. No more attempts at plausibility. With the massive budget and state-of-the-art special effects, you get everything you could possibly want from each action sequence.
Building on the great laughs in Thor: Ragnarok and Guardians of the Galaxy, the movie cleverly adds comic relief at just the right times. Then, when it needed a heart-ripping dramatic moment, it delivered. You feel almost every emotion possible in this film.
I shall reiterate: SPOILER ALERT!
The original Avengers play leading roles in this movie. Tony Stark and Starlord leads the attack on Thanos but fail. Thor builds a weapon that can kill Thanos, but is unable to stop the snap of his fingers. Captain America led the epic ground battle that failed to protect Vision. Hulk got his ass beat within the first ten minutes of the movie. Some guessed the movie would position the newest Avengers to take the lead and transition the franchise. However, most of them did not survive Thanos’s culling. Fans are left distraught and desperate to see the next movie, just as Marvel wanted.
How can this atrocity be undone? We have a couple clues in the movie itself. Doctor Strange sees all the possible outcomes of the war and sees there is only one way for them to win. When Thanos is about to kill Iron Man, Doctor Strange surrenders the Time Stone to spare his life. Clearly he is needed for that one victorious scenario to play out. Doctor Strange would not surrender the Time Stone for any other reason.
The Time Stone demonstrated its ability to reverse time, so there exists in this universe the ability to undo what Thanos has done. He used that power to reassemble Vision and steal the Mind Stone after Scarlet Witch destroyed it. In the after-credit scene, we see Fury attempt to call someone before he turns to dust. The logo on the screen was that of Captain Marvel, a character we will see early next year. There is also the Ant-Man sequel coming, one of the characters we did not see in this movie.
There is also the other after-credit scene that has thus far not had a connection to our current plot line: the Sovereigns and their Adam creation. At the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the Sovereign leader, Ayesha, creates something she calls Adam but has thus far not made an appearance in any movie. In one comic series called Earth-X, Mar-Vell, an early form of Captain Marvel is created from two other characters Adam Warlock and Kismet, also known as Ayesha. A character named Mar-Vell will be in the Captain Marvel movie and will be played by Jude Law.
So… Did you follow all that?
It is risky to end a movie on a dark and depressing cliffhanger. American audiences love happy endings and sometimes react with anger to franchises that attempt it. When I saw Back to the Future Part 2 in theaters as a kid, I heard the groans when the “To Be Continued” came across the screen. Matrix Reloaded had numerous issues, its dark ending was one of them. The middle Hobbit movie, Desolation of Smaug, also ended on a bad note.
Usually early movies in a series have happy endings but are only short-term victories of some kind. A lesser evil is defeated but not the greater evil. The good guys win the battle but the war continues. Infinity War ends with the spectacular defeat of the Avengers. Yet, people still loved it! An impressive cinematic achievement.