Marvel Studios has been cranking out superhero gold based on some of our favorite, iconic characters for several years now. And during this time they’ve created some classic pop culture masterpieces. But like anything else in this life, indulgence has its limits, and the human condition permits us to grow tired of just about anything, even super-human mutants with remarkable powers.
A few nights ago, after a delicious homestyle Italian dinner at a local restaurant, I decided to light my bad boy of a Movie Pass up and go check out Avengers: Infinity War. In the grand scheme of things, I enjoyed the film, but there are also a few things I want to discuss because pondering these facets of the Avengers films as well as Marvel movies in general, frankly, might make for better films. Or at least ease the effects of over exposure to caped crusaders.
What I’m talking about here isn’t just isolated to heroes and villains. We could argue the same point about any of the long-standing, science fiction/pop culture/fandom films that been around for many moons now such as the Transformers films or The Fast and The Furious franchise, for example.
What I’m getting at here is pretty simple—If you’re going to make a long-running series of films that are similar in nature, you really have to put in that extra effort to make sure that third, or fourth, or fifth, or sixth installment in the series is just fresh enough, just different enough, just cohesive enough, and just substantial enough, so that people walk out of the theatre feeling, “You know what? Yeah, that was more of the same, but it was new, fresh, and different too, and I liked it.”
I just didn’t leave the theatre feeling that way about Avengers: Infinity War. (It was close though.)
So through the course of this coffee-induced, Saturday morning blog post, I’m gonna try to touch upon some of the things that I admired about Infinity War, while also shedding some light on some of the things that I thought might be in need of analysis, review, or refinement.
Sometimes we discuss box office statistics, but I’ll be the first one to say that ticket sales are definitely something to consider when evaluating the entire landscape of a film or the film industry as a whole, but they are far from definitive.
I won’t go into too much detail about this because I feel like this horse has been beaten profusely enough, but it wouldn’t be too far of a stretch to say that sometimes great films under-perform at the box office, while in other instances, mediocre films over-perform at the box office. It wouldn’t be too psychotic to say that.
And we don’t even have to dig that far into the past to find examples of this. I.E. Blade Runner 2049. So let’s start with the things that I liked about Avengers: Infinity War.
When you have a run time of 2 hours and 40 minutes, you’re gonna run into some obstacles. It’s hard, to hold a person’s attention for between 2.5 and 3 hours. And there were definitely instances in which I found myself trying to push the film along in my head, saying, “Get On With It!” in my finest British accent.
All Images: Marvel Studios
But there were also a lot of things that I liked about the movie. One thing that I think is important to note or consider is external factors. As silly as this may sound, if you’re hella bloated because your dinner was rich, or if you’re dehydrated because you haven’t had enough water that day, or perhaps enough rest the night before, or, even more importantly, if you’re dealing with theatre trolls, these hurdles are going to impact your movie-going experience.
The person that sees Avengers at a local, indie theatre, is not gonna have the same experience as someone that sees the movie in a state-of-the-art IMAX theatre. So on and so forth, you get the idea.
There are a lot of little elements to take into consideration. Aspects of films themselves, as well as unrelated, third-party components, if you will. All of these impact how you feel about a movie when you leave the theatre.
So I have to acknowledge the fact that when viewing Infinity War, pretty much all of these “obstacles” were present. You can be a pop culture, comic book geek out the wazoo, but if you’ve got an entire row of angsty stoners seated in the row in front of you, punks that are speaking freely as if they’re chatting it up at their local coffee house, vaping in the theatre and acting like they’re on hallucinogens, it’s going to distract you.
Unless you’re a stone-cold sociopath, which I am not.
Typically, I’m able to remedy the theatre trolls, with either death stares, shushes, verbal onslaughts, or swift kicks to their seats. But sometimes, those occurrences take place during integral parts of the film, and without rambling on too intensely about theatre trolls, we all know they exist. And I’m sure the movie lovers out there wish they would all go away, too.
It is for this reason that I primarily only watch matinees on the weekends, because you have to be the purest form of theatre troll, to catch a 10:30AM showing on a Saturday morning, or an 11:30AM showing on a Sunday, just so you can obnoxiously crunch on your pop corn and stink the place up with your ill-timed biological outbursts.
So, based on my findings, anyway, those are my ideal times to watch movies. Either way, I digress, but what I’m trying to say here is that there were some external factors at play which negatively impacted my movie-going experience when I went to see Avengers: Infinity War.
But if we’re sticking to the film itself, there were definitely some admirable components to Infinity War.
First of all, it had to have been one of the most action-packed movies I’ve seen in a while. Even when compared to other Marvel movies or other Avengers films, I felt like Infinity War really dialed up the fight scenes, the battle scenes, the frequency of the battles as well as the scale of the battles.
Remember how toward the end of the film, in those huge battles where pretty much everyone was involved, and Thor came down like the demi-God that he is, and shit got real, real quick? I appreciated the frequency and the grandeur of the fight scenes, as well as the cinematic quality and the choreography of the fight scenes.
The humor was okay. I do recall a few comedic golden nuggets here and there. It was far from the cheesiest humor I had ever seen, but I wasn’t captivated by the wit either. But Tony Stark is typically pretty dependable as far his witty banter is concerned. So those were some of my notable pros with Infinity War.
Another thing I found admirable about this particular Avengers movie was the sheer star power and nostalgic weight of the film. We’ve all seen articles floating around on the internet about how difficult it was to coordinate all those actors into one movie. Surely far from an easy feat. Having a film with one to several stars is one thing, but this movie literally has to combine dozens of noteworthy characters, and in turn, human beings to portray them, and that, I would imagine, takes some serious logistical feats to accomplish.
To further touch upon the nostalgic weight of Infinity War, it’s not everyday you get to see a couple dozen of your favorite characters in one movie, so just the sheer scope or magnitude of the character count in this film was pretty epic.
And before I forget, I wanna talk about Thanos real quick. I’ve heard it from other people so surely I’m not the only one that feels this way, but I felt as though his character was one of Infinity War's highlights. I’m not too familiar with the Thanos from the comic book world, but as far as this film portrayal of him is concerned, they really did a good job of creating a layered villain that actually has some pseudo-righteous philosophical drivers behind his evil, versus just being a flying demon with horns while spewing fire and farting lava.
Anybody can make a villain like that, and we’ve seen it time and time again, even within the Marvel cinematic universe, but I felt that what they were able to accomplish with the multi-faceted nature of Thanos’ character was pretty damn rad.
That’s more or less where the pros end. If I want to highlight and touch upon some of my cons real quick, as I mentioned previously, there were several instances in which I was “screen-zoning” but it’s simultaneously difficult for me to pinpoint how much of that was due to Avengers: Infinity War itself, and how much of it was the result of external variables.
I also felt that they focused a little too intently on the physical confrontations, and not enough on the development of persons, places, or things. Whether it was the Vision’s and Scarlet Witch’s relationship, or another scene, I felt like Infinity War could have used a few more valleys in between its peaks, and some more emotional-richness to go along with the magnitude of hand-to-hand combat and warfare that’s in the movie.
I suppose that if the name of the film is Infinity War, you have to have a good amount of war in the movie, I get that, I just would have liked to see a little bit more set-up during the first half of the movie, to make the events that transpired during the second half of the film payoff a bit more.
It’s really tough to pull that off in a film that’s supposed to be the third installment of a series because a lot of those types of foundational occurrences are supposed to have taken place in the previous episodes, but those things are not going to be anywhere as fresh in your mind because you’d seen them years ago versus just minutes ago.
So, you know, it’s tough. It’s sort of like a Catch 22 and it’s not an easy thing to balance, but, it can be done, because we’ve all seen remarkable films in our day, and every film out there regardless of critical reviews or ticket sales has the potential to be better, so all we’re doing here is taking a good finished product and analyzing ways in which it could have potentially been better.
Additionally, I felt there were a few scenes that could have either been cut or shortened. I don’t think there was a need to have that 2 hour and 40 minute run time. I think we easily could have capped it at 2.5 hours, and that extra ten minutes of weaker content that bogged down the pacing would have been the perfect amount to cut. Less is definitely sometimes more, and more is not always better.
That said, I still left the theatre relatively satisfied after seeing the latest installment of The Avengers, even though there were a lot of factors at play which negatively impacted my experiences with Infinity War.
It’s going to be interesting to see how the second half plays out, when some other franchises have cut their plans to split installments into two halves. A lot of people will argue that it’s a money motivated move, and I’m sure that we could also argue the scope of the film calls for additional screen time in order for the story to be able to be told properly. Maybe we’ll never know which is more true, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to make this movie two halves, when you’ve got dozens of superheroes and villains running around.
As opposed to a film like Hunger Games, for example, which by no means needs an installment that’s a five hour film broken down into two halves.
Now that I’ve got all that off my chest, there’s still a slew of awesome films that will be debuting in 2018. We’ve already had a couple of treats so far this year in Black Panther and Ready Player One, and if we’re looking forward, there’s a lot of cinematic pop culture awesomeness that’s right around the corner in Deadpool 2 and Solo: A Star Wars Story, for example.
Still very much excited and nervous for the Venom film, and I’ll be sure to keep you guys posted on my thoughts regarding some of this year's remaining films that are a part of my 10 Must See Sci-Fi Films of 2018 list.
On a final note, I’d just like to say that yes, the Nanofleche blog is an opportunity for me to share my thoughts and feelings on the good, the bad, and the ugly within the science fiction, pop culture, fandom film niche, but it’s also an opportunity for all of us to engage in discussion about the genre we hold so close to our hearts.
So please feel free to comment on my Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Google+ posts, if you want to strike up a conversation about any of the films I review, or just science fiction chat in general covering all mediums and all sub-genres.
I’m very active on social media platforms, I’m very responsive to messages and comments, and ultimately, the whole point of the Nanofleche blog is to connect with people that enjoy sci-fi fandom, as much as I do.