May 11, 2018

Avengers Infinity War

I wasn't going to see Infinity War. I was bitter that Marvel was going to squeeze us for two admissions by spreading the culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe over two movies released a year apart.
The success of the two-part finales of the Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and Hobbit franchises has made the two-part finale a mandatory business decision.
By the middle of May, I was leaning towards going to the movie despite its half-done cliffhanger. I hadn't been to the movies in awhile, and I had a Friday free, and my favored neighborhood Belmont Studio Cinema was showing it.
I had really enjoyed the action in Captain America: Civil War two years ago, and this movie's ubiquity had left me feeling out of the cultural loop, so I talked myself into going to the movie. How was it?
  • There are a few terrific action sequences.
  • The CGI Thanos is gorgeous.
  • Near the end of the movie, Thor makes the best superhero entrance of all time.
But I don't remember the last time I regretted going to a movie as much as this.

In every other way the movie was either a disappointment or actively un-entertaining:
My Stub Hubby grade: C.

SPOILERS After the Break...

Thanos plan for universal destruction doesn't make much sense. Even if overpopulation is the cause of the universe's ultimate doom, even if you delete half the population of the universe, won't these populations just grow out of scale again?
If the Infinity Gauntlet gives you infinite power, why not pick a non-genocidal solution:

  • Slow birth rates of all species universe-wide?
  • Double the number of inhabitable worlds?

Doctor Strange giving up the green stone for Tony Stark's life makes zero sense. Why did he flip-flop after explicitly saying he would let Stark die if necessary?
The rationale for not killing Vision die by destroying the yellow stone also makes zero sense. The writers make it complicated to remove the yellow stone from his forehead to give the heroes the opportunity to make a huge mistake and delay destroying the yellow stone until it's far too late.

NOTE: I didn't see Age of Ultron, so I have zero emotional investment in Paul Bettany's 2nd-rate Data clone. Some critics have complained that this movie doesn't introduce any characters, but I feel like they have a point with Vision: I skipped his introductory movie, and now I don't give two craps about him.

The superheroes are two steps behind Thanos throughout the movie. Near the end half the heroes come up with a plan that nearly works - it's the most satisfying sequence of the film - but they fail there too.
The movie is 17 minutes longer than the first Avengers movie six years ago, and no wonder- there's about a million additional characters to service, even with the absence of Hawkeye, Nick Fury, and Agent Coulson. To make their jobs slightly easier, they've also left out Ant-Man; Black Widow and Falcon have almost no lines.
The movie ends with half the cast (and half the universe) being wiped from existence in a massive genocidal downer, with the most disturbing Holocaust-evoking imagery I've seen outside Schindler's List. Marvel has officially made the stakes too high for a comic book movie.
NOTE: I remember watching the 2000 Fox X-Men movie with the Rifftrax commentary track, and they refused to "riff" on the Magneto concentration camp prologue. Too serious to make entertainment about, right?
The art of the cliffhanger has been lost. In a true cliffhanger, the hero is hanging from the cliff, the villain is standing above him, about to step on his fingers. All hope seems lost, but the hero is still alive. At the end of Infinity War, the hero isn't even just dead on the ground at the foot of the cliff, he's also disappeared from existence. The villain is taking a camping weekend to celebrate his accomplishment. I can only assume there's a way to use the Infinity Gauntlet to press 'rewind' on the universe to 'undo' the death of trillions. But what's the point in the drama if it can be undone, damnit!