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...
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.
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.