Marvel’s latest gargantuan, Avengers: Infinity War, has already earned a whopping $1 billion within its first 11 days of release (the fastest film ever to do so), surpassing the biggest opening weekend set by Star Wars: The Force Awakens (for US release) and The Fate of the Furious (for worldwide). Most impressively, Infinity War has nabbed this record (and all sorts of box office records) without the help of the world’s second biggest movie market, China. (The film opens there on May 11). Kudos to the whole crew and cast! It’s safe to say that a huge demographic of moviegoers has already seen this and we can finally go in depth with everything that happened in this epic installment.
WARNING: This is a spoiler discussion. If you want to have an untainted viewing experience, I suggest to check our spoiler-free reviews instead.
‘INFINITY WAR’ STARTS WITH A BANG
The purple mad titan Thanos makes an impression right of the bat by killing off two major characters from the Thor franchise – Heimdall and Loki. The Guardian of the Bifrost’s death makes sense with the destruction of Asgard and the uncertainty of future Thor sequels. Fan theorists, on the other hand, are not entirely sold on Loki’s death considering the “God of Mischief” surely has better plans than deliberately attempting to stab Thanos right in his face. Still, we can’t ignore if Thanos’ line, “No resurrections this time” is a meta-reference that seals his fate.
We are also introduced to the short-lived, one-dimensional but nevertheless formidable Thanos’ henchmen a.k.a. The Black Order – Proxima Midnight, Corvus Glaive, Cull Obsidian (Hulk’s counterpart) and Ebony Maw. If I have to pick a favorite, it has to be Maw and his dope telekinesis powers that allows him to effortlessly split cars in half. “Squidward” can easily obliterate most of our heroes but his skills apparently won’t stand a chance against someone like Peter Parker who “has seen more movies.” Taking up on the kid’s suggestion, Tony Stark blasts a portion of his spaceship and Maw is flushed into the vacuum of space, a reference to the film Aliens. Indeed, being a film geek has its own advantages too, especially when it comes to extinguishing intergalactic creatures.
HOW THANOS IMPROVED THE MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE
Now, I partly discussed on my previous review why Thanos is arguably the best MCU villain to date – how his spiritual journey of collecting the infinity gems is tied up to addressing real-world problems. Let’s add a few more reasons to that.
First, Thanos and his children forced our heroes to step up their A-game. Iron Man’s nanotechnology increases his fighting chance to a whole new level and Spider-Man gets a free upgrade as well with his spider-legs (something that Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield can be jealous of). Thor earns his title of a Norse god as he forges a new warhammer, Captain America equips himself with two shields this time and even Black Widow manages to hold her own with two electric batons. Doctor Strange, however, bags the MVP award for bringing up most of the new tricks in his sleeve which I will inaccurately call as the “crimson bands of imprisonment”, “the butterfly effect” and some form of “Naruto’s Kage Bunshin no Jutsu technique” (You get what I mean). The battle in planet Titan stands out the most as the whole showdown turned into a Dragon Ball-Z affair (albeit one that doesn’t suck). Yep, Thanos just lasso-ed a moon and threw it on our heroes. Still a great effort #TeamIronMan, #TeamCap will get him on planet Earth (no they won’t).
Next, instead of Banner having a basic storyline of playing catch-up on Earth’s events, Thanos improved his arc by giving him a performance anxiety issue. Fear is usually not a part of the Hulk’s vocabulary, even in Thor: Ragnarok when he has shown willingness to go head-to-head against the overpowered fire demon Surtur. In this film however, Thanos puts an end to his child-play, lifts him up in the air like a professional wrestler and gives him a taste of his classic “Hulk smash!” (Now he knows what Loki felt like in Avengers 1). Down goes his esteem and Banner fails to unleash the Hulk for the rest of the film. It works as a comic relief plus we get more of Banner, so it’s a win-win. Hulk’s shattered ego will surely be explored in Avengers 4.
Most importantly, Thanos teaches Star-Lord a valuable life lesson of putting your head above your emotions so you won’t act like a reckless kid. Peter Quill’s rage essentially costs the Avenger’s win and he indirectly condemns half of the universe in the process. To his defense, his reactions are very human (for a half-human, half-celestial being) and I’m not sure if any of his human haters won’t do the same if they find out that their significant other is killed by their demented father-in-law. Anyway, since Tony Stark went into a profound maturation after inadvertently creating Ultron in Avengers 2, we can hopefully expect some growth from this lovable man-child in the future. Oh wait, he disintegrates into ashes in the end right? Well, more of that later.