Avengers: Too Nice to be Good



The wait is over and Avengers: Infinity War has hit cinemas. No one is claiming that it is not a good film. But there is no hiding the fact that the movie is predictable. Christian Tesfaye awards 7 out of 10 stars.


Avengers: Infinity War has finally dropped into cinemas across the world. One of the, if not the most, hotly anticipated movies of the year, it has garnered warm acclaim from critics and has passed the coveted one billion dollar mark in under two weeks.

The anticipation is not unprecedented. Marvel Studios has been building the excitement ever since the release of the first Iron Man movie a decade, or 19 movies, ago. After that, a slew of superheroes have been introduced into what has been dubbed the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Captain America, the Hulk, Thor, Doctor Strange, Black Panther and the Guardians of the Galaxy entered the MCU. Spider-man was introduced to us in two different formats.

There has been a worry with the Avengers movie from the start. In the first one, many wondered how the filmmakers would integrate so many colourful and egoistic characters into one movie. While the first Avengers movie was never a great one, I was impressed at how they were able to juggle multiple protagonists at once.

But the star of the show has always been Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), a.k.a Iron Man. After the announcement of the release date for Infinity War, and the first trailer for the movie, which currently has close to 200 million views on YouTube, the theory has been that this film would mean the death of him.

There is also Thanos (Josh Brolin). He has appeared behind the scenes in the first two Avengers movies and the Guardians of the Galaxy. He has been hinted as the ultimate villain; one whom the Avengers have to face together, or else.

The film begins just after the events of Thor: Ragnarok, when the thunder god, Hulk and company encounter Thanos’ ship. Thor has come for one of the six infinity stones that he needs to carry out what he believes is his ultimate mission.

His twisted theory notes that overpopulation will destroy the universe (someone forgot to mention that the universe is indeed infinite). He cannot do this alone though. He needs the six infinity stones, which are powerful enough to control essential elements of life. He collects one as the movie begins from Thor’s ship, and the rest of the film is his journey as he attempts to get the rest.

Infinity War is like a video game in that the protagonists’ role is to stop Thanos from getting the stones and wielding them using his gauntlet. If he does, he can snap his fingers, and half the inhabitants of the universe will disappear.

The best description of how I felt about this film is described in the headline of a Time review.

It read, “Avengers: Infinity War checks all the boxes. That’s exactly what’s wrong with it.”

That is true. Infinity War is most of what we have expected. It is like the Russo Brothers – Anthony and Joe – went through ever fan theory they could find before ever sitting down to co-write the film.

After the trailers dropped, it was expected that there would be galactic battles, funny moments, dead superheroes, and the fulfilment of at least half of Thanos’ plans. The last one is not a spoiler as it should have been obvious from the studio’s decision to cut the film into two; obviously, the Avengers were going to lose and then win.

All of this happens in Infinity War. It is nice to watch but there is no wow moment anywhere in the film. It is one wish fulfilment after another. At the end of the film, what is evident is that despite all the rhetoric of giving audiences a superhero film that diverges from the norm, Marvel was never able to gamble on its number one asset, the Avengers franchise.

I was surprised though in that Thanos was a surprisingly touching character. He keeps his promises, has close people he loves, and is principled. Clearly, attempting to wipe out half the beings in the universe is a psychotic plan. But this is a being who believes that for the universe to survive, great sacrifices must be paid. That sacrifice must not fall on anyone deemed inferior by race, gender, or economic class, but carried out randomly.

This is one of those rare superhero movies that gives us an interesting villain. Thanos is not bad; he is only flawed. It will fall on the shoulders of the next, as of yet untitled, sequel a year later to find out whether or not he will remain a memorable character.

 

 



By Christian Tesfaye
Exclusive to Fortune

Published on May 12,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 941]


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