dir: Russo Brothers
What the hell?
Marvel is becoming that particular kind of arrogant boyfriend / girlfriend that takes you for granted so much that they feel like they can basically do anything to you and you’d put up with it forever. Infinitely. So confident are they that we’ll put up with anything, that you’ll eternally keep coming back for more they’re like a character from Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections, who is so sure of herself and her hold over her partner that she often walks away from the bedroom in the middle of sex after bringing them close to the ‘edge’, so to speak, but deciding to torture them by walking away with the job unfinished.
It’s a strained analogy, I’m the first to admit, but I am not sure this flick exists as a flick that makes any sense on its own, unlike the other 18 Marvel flicks which all have discrete beginnings and ends while teasing what’s going to come next. This just exists as whatever it is, but will completely not make sense BECAUSE of what will come next.
Again that’s not going to make sense. In a lot of ways I wish Marvel was even more arrogant and disinterested in anything other than making a point, and decided that this was going to be the last Marvel movie. It’s an impossibility, really, because the amount of money these movies have made is staggering. Put real simply they’ve spent 3 billion dollars over 10 years to make 15 billion dollars. That’s a ROI (Return on Investment) of 400%. Drug cartels don’t make that kind of money.
So obviously there are going to be an infinite amount of Marvel flicks, but eventually won’t we get sick of being brought to the edge and have it fade out to nothing every fucking time? Isn’t this becoming a masochistic exercise in frustrating futility?
I’m not sure there’s any way to talk about this film without mentioning spoilers, obviously, but also the more obvious point being that the villain wins and half of our heroes die, and we have to watch them either die violently or quietly fade out to nothingness. The villain wins. The villain achieves his objective, and then it ends. Several times it looks like our heroes are going to stop Thanos in his ambition to kill half of the beings in the universe, and every time bar one they fail. The one time they look like they’ve stopped him, with a wave of his hand, it’s undone, and he still succeeds.
So… It’s strange that we maybe are meant to revise our thinking, and think, well, maybe Thanos was right? Maybe he deserved to get his way because he just flat out wanted it more?
I mean, he is massive, and purple, but he's somehow soulful. He's not a rage monster; he doesn't personally hate anyone or anything, he's not overtly sadistic or cruel (other than, you know, the cruelty of ending billions of lives). Is he the absent father figure - Conservative daddy we secretly want to be genocided by?
Of course not, because that would be way too much of a head fuck, and Marvel aren’t in that business. David Lynch would end it there, and he’d be a hero for ever more for doing so. Imagine a Marvel franchise run into the ground by David Lynch, man, that would be so awesome.
The most depressing thing is that everything the villain achieves, or everything our heroes fail to achieve, has to, absolutely has to be undone by the next Avengers film. And since that’s the case, because half of the attractive and overpaid people who ‘die’ here will necessarily have to be resurrected in some way by the end of the 4th Avengers film because Mm-Mm-Mm-Mm-MONEY, then everything we endured by watching these adventures for two hours and forty fucking minutes not counting the goddamn extra ten minutes we wasted waiting for the post credits scene, will be for nought. It will have meant nothing; none of the characters who died will stay dead, none of the loss will be felt, and so nothing will have been achieved by the press of a reset button.
So, for the sake of clarity, the villain succeeds and half of the people in the universe are wiped out. A countless number, surely, but it’s a concept so huge that the mind doesn’t entirely grasp it, or really care for that matter. What I was wondering was, does this include dolphins? Puppies? Did Thanos kill half the puppies in the fucking universe? That’s… just, no, Thanos. Bad Thanos.
That cannot stand. That cannot be allowed to continue to have happened.
And I say this as someone who has no idea what they’re going to do in the next Avengers flick. All I know is that no matter how they do it, no matter who they choose to bring back with space – time – glove magic, it’s going to be very hard to make it seem anything other than cheap and unearned.
Let’s face it, just like in Orwell’s Animal Farm, while all the heroes are equally loved, some heroes are more ‘equal’ than others. Kill all the former S.H.I.E.L.D agents and talking trees you want, but nothing gives you the right to kill Loki. I joked months ago, when my family and I were discussing who was going to bite the big one in this movie (I had no idea at the time, honestly I remained completely unspoiled going in and had no idea what was actually going to happen) that there was no way they were going to off Loki, because if they did that no women would continue going to these stupid movies. And then Thanos kills him in the opening minutes.
Bad move, Marvel. It was hard enough to get women into cinemas for these flicks, audiences reeking of Twisties and sexless nerddom before, and it’ll be nigh on impossible now.
At least I should have said half the women came for Loki, maybe the other half came for Thor. Or should I say, half for Hiddleston, half for Hemsworth. Well, at least they’ll always have Hemsworth.
In Thor: Ragnarok, just to completely spoil a different film, all of Asgard is destroyed, and some stragglers end up on a space ship. At the beginning of this film, Thanos (a giant purple dude voiced by Josh Brolin) comes onto the ship the survivors were on, and kills pretty much everybody.
Thanos swans about the universe for the next two and a half hours killing various people when he feels like it, but he only has a nice conversation with his adopted Gamorah (Zoey Saldana) because she’s about the only person or thing in the whole universe that’s not very gaudy jewellery that he actually cares about.
Of course he kills her too, because getting what he wants is way more important than cheap sentiment, and he needs to kill the one person he cares about because that’s the only way to get one of the Infinity gems.
I wonder if he’s going to have buyer’s remorse because of getting his way so completely. The rest of us go through life with our petty wants and desires, and, generally, when they’re petty or modest enough, we achieve them. A job that gives enough booze money; raising kids that don’t hate us and that survive to adulthood; a car with four wheels and working windows: we can get these things without sacrificing too much.
Bigger picture things, like getting celebrities to notice us or achieving political power, winning the Tour de France with only one testicle, or paying off a mortgage, require us to give up a lot. Sometimes it comes at the cost of our families, or giving up other dreams, or often it costs us what we call a soul.
If you had to kill the one person you cared about in order to get enough power to be more powerful than God, whichever idea of God you can think of, then surely the price would be steep? And deep within your purple soul, wouldn’t there a pain so sharp that even your complete omnipotence couldn’t salve it?
I dunno. This metaphysical stuff is way too bigheaded for me to wrap my head around. This is a movie in which an angry purple guy dropped a moon on Iron Man, and that was before he even had all the Infinity stones.
A moon. He dropped a moon on the guy.
All twenty two Marvel heroes, excluding Ant-Man and Hawkeye, working together, from across all the franchises within the franchise, all working in teams, can’t beat him.
In the words of the Great Prophet Kenny Rogers, "you gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to punch a purple guy, know when to just shut up and disintegrate." Nothing good will come from trying to save the universe, not for anyone.
I mean, and this is the weirdest set of sentences I’ll write this year, this is the kind of flick where Thor convinces a giant dwarf (the always great Peter Dinklage) to forge a weapon with which to kill Thanos for which he has to restart the heart of a dead star. And then when this new mighty weapon is finished and needs a handle, Groot generously supplies some of his woody goodness? Not 'how is any of this remotely possible", but, 'what bunch of stoners thought of all this in the first place?"
And speaking of the aforementioned Groot, did you know that Groot, as in the language Groot, was taught at Asgard University, where Thor presumably studied it as an elective? When I heard that absurd line, I laughed so goddamn loud, but alas I was the only one in the entirety of the theatre laughing. Mostly because I thought the idea of Thor studying anything other than Advanced Abs was too ludicrous for words.
There are a specific number of laughs in this flick deployed in an almost mathematical fashion, a surprising amount since really, from a genocidal perspective, there’s never been a bigger mass slaughter in anything you’ve ever seen before, but without those attempts at humour, like the continued belief of most of the Guardians of the Galaxy that Kevin Bacon is still somehow one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes because of his actions in the movie Footloose, or that Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) feels intimidated by Thor’s masculine beauty such that he even has to deepen his voice to compensate, it would be a ludicrous slog.
Let’s all be honest, the stakes are so high that it’s hard to care, and a guy who turns other people’s weapons into bubbles or who can beat up the Hulk without even needing the gauntlet is so powerful that it’s hard to conceive of anything meaningful coming out of whatever they come up with as an either inevitable or a very evitable solution. Alternatively, we maybe could accept that Thanos, happily sitting on the veranda of a hut overlooking a natural paradise, content in his labours done, is all the happy ending we deserve.
Almost every Marvel Cinematic Universe hero that we’ve seen so far gets screen time or a token line of dialogue, but most of them don’t do or saying anything that matters. Black Panther and the Wakandans don’t really supply much beyond a venue for a battle to occur, in a way that could have been lifted straight from one of the Lord of the Rings films, except instead of orcs and such, it was thousands of some kinds of things with four arms that I could not even describe to you who or what they were or why they were there. There is no reason really given for why Thanos would even need anyone else to do anything when he can go anywhere and do anything at will by that stage of the film.
And then… half of the cast start fading away. It was really quite mesmerising to watch. Almost soothing, yet gently sad. I really didn’t know what I was feeling when this was happening.
After watching this I felt exhausted, like I’d watched four movies simultaneously, and none of them had a satisfying ending, but loyally, like all the other cinema-going morons, I’ll be there in a year’s time to see how they finish it all up. Mostly, at the end, while I was sitting through the endless credits for a truly unsatisfying post credits scene that is nothing other than a teaser for the Captain Marvel movie coming next year, I sat there feeling perplexed, and a little bit hungry, but mostly perplexed. And there are worse ways to feel after a movie has had its way with you.
Still, it's impossible to score, which is a similar problem I faced with the first part of the last installment of the Hunger Games saga, or Part 1 of Deathly Hallows, and any other flick utterly dependent on its second part. Infinity War could be the first half of a great two-part story, or it could be shown up as the remarkable waste of our time that I secretly suspect it could be with a second installment that renders the first moot, mute or Groot. Time will tell, but it certainly doesn't improve my mood to have paid a ticket to only see half of a film. That'd be like reading all the A Song of Ice and Fire books and never getting to read the last two books because... reasons.
So for now let's admit all scores are irrelevant and it doesn't matter anyway. After all, Thanos can now edit the universe at will, so maybe he'll revise my review to be more to his liking.
7 times this movie is like if a pirate had a baby with an angel out of 10
"In time, you will know what it's like to lose. To feel so desperately that you're right. Yet to fail all the same. Dread it. Run from it. Destiny still arrives." - it's like he's saying we've already lost just by walking into the cinema - Avengers: Infinity War