Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Avenger's Infinity War part I



First off Cataline Recommends Infinity War.

Be advised unless you torrent it from somewhere, you will be paying money to the beast that is trying to kill us.  You will be giving money to Disney.  If that is a deal breaker for you, then skip it.

So why am I recommending it?  Simple, because it's good.  No, not merely good...it is easily the best Marvel film ever made.  It took them ten years to do it but Marvel has finally answered the challenge of The Dark Knight.

The truly amazing thing about this film is that it should have been a complete mess.

It was a film where there were twenty-something character that were all going to require some bit of fan service or their individual fanbase would be pissed.  But this movie pulled it off.

It was a film where audience expectations were completely subverted and I am not referring to Captain America's dumb ass beard and long hair (holy crap, he's going to wearing a man-bun next).  Star Wars: The Last Jedi attempted to do that and failed so completely Kathleen Kennedy may have killed the franchise for another twenty years.  But this movie pulled it off.

It was a film.  A superhero film where the villain is the star.  The Dark Knight came close to that but ultimately it was a Batman and not a Joker film.  This was a Thanos film.  That shouldn't have worked.  But this movie pulled it off.

I can't really go into the reasons as to why it's good without spoilers and so...


***SPOILER ALERT***



***SPOILER ALERT***



***SPOILER ALERT***



***SPOILER ALERT***



Thanos wins! Is that fucked or what?

He doesn't just win.  He wins big time.  Half the population of the universe literally dies at the snap of his fingers.  A huge chunk of the Marvel heroes pantheon turns to ash before your very eyes.  Every member of the Guardians of the Galaxy (except Rocket) dies.  Black Panther dies! (And that movie just made umpteen million so you know he ain't stay'n dead.)

Honestly... We know none of them are staying dead.  I admit that does lessen the emotional impact but they are super heroes they just don't stay dead all that long.  Thor even made a joke about Loki having been dead before.


 And that's okay.  I really don't mind.  What I am trying to take a real look at, as a storyteller, is how did this story work so freaking well? Since it damn well shouldn't have.

First of all, there was only one character that had a story arch in this movie. Thanos.  And that simplified things considerably.   All of the Avengers and hangers-on heroes were only in service of the advancement of Thanos' tale of struggle and eventual triumph.  Since it is only Thanos' story, there is no need to develop any other character.

There is a very interesting genre shift in this regard throughout the film.  At first the conflict is man against man.  Simply and brutally presented in the first five minutes with Thanos fight against the Hulk.  The Hulk is super strong but it quickly becomes clear that Thanos is only building a menu of his enemy's attacks and those attacks are completely limited to HULK SMASH!  Problem.  Thanos is just as strong and knows how to box. Hulk is dispatched with ridiculous ease and has a real self confidence problem for the rest of the film.  The Avengers' biggest gun is now broken.

Then the arch shifts to man versus himself.  This starts to build at Knowhere.  When Gamora is tricked into thinking that she has at last killed Thanos...AND she has a total breakdown because she believes she has killed her father.  She knew she had to kill Thanos and knew he was evil but ultimately she loved him as a daughter.  This builds to an eventual counterpoint when Thanos is told by The Keeper (Red Skull, (*yeah that was a pretty cool surprise*)) that Thanos must sacrifice what he loves most to gain the Soul Stone. Thanos breaks down at that point because the one thing he loves in the universe is Gamora.

Yeah he gets the Soul Stone and my youngest was in tears over it.  DO NOT TAKE ANY CHILD UNDER TEN TO THIS DAMN MOVIE.

Finally Thanos faces his greatest opponent.

Gear Shift!

When I first checked into Special Operations Training Group (Arctic)  I got a lecture that really stuck with me.  "There is only one real enemy you will every face.  The guy that is shooting at you isn't that.  Either your training is better than his or it isn't.  Either your equipment is better than his or it isn't.  Either your inter is better than his or it isn't.  The fight against that guy was won or lost before the first trigger got pulled.  Your real enemy is the environment."

And that was Thanos' final enemy.  Man versus Nature.

Thanos versus the human drive for survival itself.  And he almost lost that fight. However he didn't and half the universe died at the snap of his fingers.

This is a film that completely subverted all audience expectations.  The Last Jedi did that and was a complete disaster.  Yet, this film worked brilliantly for having done so.  As I've always said, a tale succeeds or fails in the style of telling.  Thanos sitting peacefully on his desolated world with a gentle smile on his face succeeds in every way available to his tale.

9 comments:

cbashcraft said...

Cataline,

I completely agree with your review. I spent $25 on,a luxury theater and I can say this movie was worth every penny.

You know what else I thought of. I can just picture the Disney suits seeing this and the wheels turning: "Thank God for Marvel's purchase because we've killed Star Wars."

I can see them looking at there upcoming Star Wars movies and really sweating bullets and there are probably serious discussions of getting rid of Kathleen Kennedy very soon.

To tie into your review, there are some very good articles on CBR and Bleeding Cool (I know: liberal SJW) two sites I have grown reluctant to promote in anyway, but they have some interesting interviews with Actors and especially the writers of the films that talk about the construction of the movie.

Cataline Sergius said...

I strongly suspect the only reason Kathleen Kennedy still has a job is because that they can't find anyone who is willing to take her job.

Everybody at Disney is expecting Solo to fail. Nobody there knows how to repair the damage that Abrams/Johnson has done to the franchise. Abrams claims to having a script are clearly BS, there is no way to plot the "third movie in this trilogy," because continuity is impossible.

What needs to be done is something the SJWs at Disney can not do, which is admit that Woke Wars is a fail and that somebody will need to stand up in front of the entertainment press and say, "we have heard the fans, all current projects are scrapped and the last two movies are now struck from canon. We're starting from scratch with a new cast."

Becoming the head of Lucasfilm at this point in time would be accepting a 'crown of thorns.'

Mr. Bee said...

According to EVS, Thanos is Trump. How did the movie work as lefty agit prop?

Johnny said...

If you don't like Disney and you do want to see the movie, wait until the money to see it is a lot less.

Cataline Sergius said...

Killing most of the heroes also does one other thing. It simplifies the plot for the next movie.

The survivors at this point are (if I remember right) just the original Avengers. Plus Rocket and Nebula who are needed if they are going to get to Thanos. After all the Avengers don't leave Earth all that often except for Thor.

A smaller cast makes story archs for the heroes possible.

Emmett Fitz-Hume said...

Finally saw it. And I took your advice and kept my two 9 year old kids away. I'm glad you warned me, so thanks for that.

I have to say, though, that I was disappointed by the movie overall, though I did like quite a bit of it..

I get that its the "Empire Strikes Back" of the series, at least in theme/cliffhangeryness. 90% of the movie felt right, especially the scenes with Thor and the Guardians. There was a great deal of emotional payoff and whatnot going on there.

But the ending was just too abrupt. It was not even emotionally jarring. Just WTF-numb. In my opinion, it lacked the emotional shock because we know (or at least should know...), those deaths (at the end, not those Thanos actually murders one on one) are most likely not "For-Realsies". Most viewers and fans know Spiderman has another movie coming out. The Guardians have another movie (not a Rocket movie).

When the first hero is disintegrated that was a shock. When the second went, that was an Oh My God moment. But when we realize that, indeed, half of everyone is disintegrating (and its most likely a cheap plot shock that will be reversed by the individual who gets a hold of the gauntlet in part 2), it robs it of all its weight.

If they had stopped the movie before that happened, with Thanos completing the gauntlet, after casually murdering a few more heroes, I think it was have been a far more powerful, punch to the gut.

TL/DR: Having Thanos kill 50% of everyone 'magically' makes the deaths cheap and robs them of weight because we know they can be reversed the same way they happened.

Now, bear in mind, I'm not saying that Thanos' 50% Solution shouldn't have happened. I just think it should have been saved for Part 2. So pacing-wise, the audience would be seeing that at the beginning of part 2 and they get the punch to the gut: they don't get a year between movies to theorize how they are all coming back or to read about the cast of Spiderman 2, etc.

And yes, I understand I am in the minority opinion.



Chris Lutz said...

I disagree that the deaths are cheap or that some of them aren't permanent. My theory is that they will reverse some of what happened but not completely. Some of the heroes will remain dead and I predict some will die in the final movie. They can set the other films before Infinity War. I figure this allows Marvel to close out some of the characters and bring in new actors if needed.

Wife and I thought the end sequence with Fury should have had Stan Lee disappearing while driving the bus.

I enjoyed the film. Subverting expectations works when you do it without destroying the characters or the world in which they exist. It did that while giving you a movie where the bad guy wins. And it's a bad guy that actually has some depth with a competing moral system.

Chris Lutz said...

@Mr. Bee - It doesn't work as Lefty agitprop and only an idiot would think Thanos is Trump. Thanos is really a tree hugging eco-warrior. He's willing to sacrifice half the universe and the only person he loves to achieve his goal of a balanced universe. His goal of a universe where people aren't starving and you can enjoy the sunrise isn't the problem. It's his moral system of how he wants to achieve it that is the problem. Thanos is the embodiment of every Utopian vision devised by man.

The Overgrown Hobbit said...

Legal way to deny Disney revenue: Have patience.

Wait until the local library gets the DVD. Then wait a bit longer until the number of people in line for it starts to drop (Some Libraries base their purchasing decisions on number of holds on an item). Then order the DVD.

I am just now watching MarySuewalker Wars. Lord it's dumb.