Infinity War was undoubtedly one of the most anticipated Marvel films of all time. Fans signed off Facebook running up to the release to avoid spoilers, and even The Russo Brothers implored Marvel fans to keep quiet on the plot (#ThanosDemandsYourSilence).
Unless you’re one for avoiding Disney films and their partners, you will probably have had some friends tell you it was amazing, and like nothing they’ve seen Marvel do before. This response goes unchallenged by critics who gave it 9/10 on IMDB and 84% on Rotten Tomatoes. Variety even called it, “…a sleekly witty action opera that’s at once overstuffed and bedazzling.” It has to be said that for new fans or slightly less ‘hardcore’ followers, the film can come off as a little overwhelmingly. There are at 22 superheroes in the film going by the poster and over 76 characters – and each superhero obviously has a contractually agreed amount of screen time. For the rest of us, it’s a thrill ride of non-stop action where we can geek out 24/7 and revel in the banter between our favorites. For others, they may find themselves struggling to keep up and missing out on the ‘in jokes’.
So well done Marvel, you smashed it. But what was it we so loved about this two and a half hour epic? For me, and I think for many of the life-long fans, it was the depiction of the heroes’ humanity. Thanos is a threat like no other and it seems up until now, the villains have been tough, sure, but nothing the Avengers couldn’t handle when they teamed up.
And now, heroes are dropping left, right and centre, with Thanos back handing away their feeble attacks. Not only that, but our beloved heroes have settled down now. Pepper doesn’t want Tony to go to space, any more than Vision wants to leave Wander. Being a superhero comes as a price, as we’ve all seen in countless movies, and throughout Infinity War, we see a team torn apart. It’s not just the physical damage Thanos dishes out by the emotional and mental too. No wonder the cinema chairs have been filled with silence long after the movie ends. It’s ironic that a film expected to be the biggest show case of superhero action all year, ends up portraying a more vulnerable side.
Over the last decade the films have been fairly light-hearted. There’s a threat, some origin stories and a team put together but we all know how it’s going to go down. Of course the good guys win! But then we get to Infinity War and it’s as though we’ve gotten serious. It’s not as funny anymore, and either they save the Galaxy or it’s game over.
I felt similarly towards the end of the Harry Potter movies where Voldemort was suddenly around a lot more and people started dying. We knew he’d be a threat, just like Thanos, but it wasn’t imminent, until suddenly it was.
It think the reason Infinity War did so well, was that they’ve given it more depth. Marvel films were a light-hearted, easy watch franchise before, now we don’t know where the series is going, or even how our beloved superheroes are going to come back from this one. The Russo Brothers shocked their audience and reminded us that DC isn’t the only universe capable of getting dark.