So, to get started, I should probably issue the standard boilerplate: spoilers abound below, so proceed at your own risk.
Second, I’m going to avoid discussing whether or not the movie was “good.” I don’t find that discussion particularly interesting for many movies/books/music, etc. If you’re curious, watch yourself and form your own opinion. Art is too subjective, and what I like, you may really not.
Third, this is a pretty random collection of thoughts in my head – if you’re looking for an organized, coherent argument, this probably isn’t for you. 🙂
- Marketing: I really hate that Kevin Feige believes that Infinity War stands on its own as a movie. I really don’t think it does, and because I’m not spending every day scavenging the internet for the latest Marvel rumors, I didn’t even know that Infinity War was filmed as two movies at the same time and was originally a Part 1/Part 2. Frankly, I left the theater bewildered and confused, and it was only after researching the internet back at home that I found out it’s just the first half of the story. I think my experience would have been a lot better if they simply would have put “Part 1” in the title.
- Confusion: related to above, but still an interesting phenomenon which I think is fairly unique to comics universes. As the movie ends, we see a lot of our heroes die. If you’re a storyteller, you want this to have some punch, right? Spiderman dying right in Iron Man’s arms (If I believed it), should have sent me into tears (I’ll admit it, I can cry at a solid superhero death). Instead, I’m just like, “huh? Isn’t the next spiderman movie coming out in 2019?” Same with Black Panther. After the amazing performance at the box office, there’s no way there’s not going to be another Black Panther movie. As a viewer, I understand that. But instead of giving Panther’s death any weight, it just leaves me confused. I think this is unique to comics (particularly Marvel and DC, where death is generally nothing more inconvenient than hitting the pause button). I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of how death is treated in comics, but I think it really fails when brought to the big screen. Worse, when the characters are restored to life (as I assume – I suppose there are other paths forward, but that seems most likely to me), how are we as an audience supposed to react when characters die in future movies? Death is supposed to be one of the highest stakes we have as storytellers, and this practice of bringing characters back to life undermines those stakes.
- Plot line balancing: I’ve written before how I think that it general it is much harder to pull off an ensemble movie than one focused on a single character. My greatest concern was that Infinity War would be buried under the weight of the number of stars and plot lines in the film. Here, I have to give both credit and caution. First, the credit – I think Marvel handled the enormity of their task as well as humanly possible. I was very impressed by how they handled the interactions, pacing, and complex story. I think it was brilliant to make Thanos the protagonist (some may disagree, but I’d argue he has the most complete story arc). The caution, and the downside, of course, is that we don’t see much in the way of character development in the film. Being as I’m considering this film to be part 1, that may change as the story finishes. However, as it stands, I would say this: while this movie is an incredible achievement in terms of bringing an ensemble cast together and tying up a decade of storytelling, I don’t think this movie, considered on its own, will be considered a classic. (regardless of how many billions it collects)
- Movies approaching comics: I’ve actually been thinking this for the last few Marvel movies, but it seems to me that the MCU is becoming more and more like its comic origins. Infinity War felt like a double length issue, rather than a trade paperback the others more closely resemble. I’m curious to see how the next phase develops.
As you can clearly see above, my feelings on the movie are mixed. Nevertheless, I think everybody can acknowledge what an achievement Marvel has put together over the past decade.