Avengers: Infinity War is the culmination of a decade of work.
The film and this review write itself from the trailer. Bring them all together, this is what you have. Without the hindsight of the Black Panther success and perhaps the uber acceptance of Ragnarok, Infinity War is the pinnacle of Marvel phase 2, 3, hell, the first ten years, you know?
Let’s look at the pieces on the comic book movie-so-good-it-is-a-film game board. You have Superman I and II, Keaton/Burton Batman and then really everything else until Chris Nolan hits a pinnacle with The Dark Knight, and the first Iron Man introduces a freshness unseen beyond snippets in a handful of the flicks lo the years. Even Ang Lee had his moments in the Marvel universe. Well, seconds.
Take Nolan's Dark Knight. Shakespearean actors believing in and delivering the most ridiculous of lines. It utterly works. Projects like Logan, Spider-Man Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok and the essence of the Guardians of the Galaxy’s ideals and story telling that are high bars. Of all time.
From a craft point of view, ALL of these films have reached crescendo. I appreciate the fact Michael Keaton while Batman, also bruises the territory with Birdman and Vulture roles, love him as an actor but come on. The idea of a real story that just happens to have these mutant or (lower case) supreme characters is the way to go; but even now we are seeing a pinnacle and to be honest - limit to the story telling.
Your Avengers: Infinity War trailer has everything you need to know. The earth’s mightiest of superheroes in Marvel land have been assembling over years and many films as well as a phase or two for this; a showdown with Mad Titan Thanos.
What more do you need to know? This is like the GI Joe: The MASS Device, split the heroes up and away we go. Much like Transformers: The Movie: You Got the Touch! Optimus Prime Dies! or the Joe’s Serpentor movie, expect the death of some (at least originally, but Duke returns. Spoiler, expect that here) leads.
See The Dark Knight Rises. A great movie. A film. Perhaps not the very best, but certainly in a cream of the crop. The end plot with Batman and the bomb with the helicopter reeks of Adam West in the 60s running around the pier with the bowling-ball candle bomb.
And let me tell you. Avengers: Infinity War reeks of Superman: The Movie.
Infinity War the movie has done it dead right for the decade culmination - have actors and writers who have worked on the characters in films inform the work in this mega job. Great move, honestly. Paint the picture. A Russo film, yes, but a Russo production if only from the plot and script POV. Huge effort.
The lead here is Thanos; as every other Marvel first flick introduced a hero - this is Thanos’ sweet sixteen to the mix and lore. It is his movie. Beautiful.
But I wonder if writers initially went for their brief; "what if we had a 'superman-like' character roll up on Earth and have to deal with these Avenger fools from a story-telling arc POV? When we write ourselves into a corner - turn to Dick Donner and Puzo. What did they do?"
Thanos makes choices that work for him; others are Clark Kent eating dog food when he thinks it’s pâté, and yet others bring more consequence than anything any Avenger has faced in a decade of Marvel celluloid.
Double Sherlock Holmes foils Cumberbatch and Downey Jr. shine, as does Thor with limited screen time and ‘Why is Gomorra?’ Dave Batista; who as far as I’m concerned, hits a huge character work credit with this and Blade Runner from last year. Obvious answers as credits roll – Spider-Man and Black Panther have other movies - so do those Guardians. Ant Man, Wasp and Captain Marvel are literally announcing relate dates as this movie rolls so expect this to play in slight ways.
I’ve seen the movie a handful of times - does Spider-Man say to Stark at one point he is “from the future?” There could be something there, I dunno. Seems Chris Pratt is talking timelines just today.
Regrets? Not much with this film. I hope this segues into the Beyonder/Secret Wars arc for a run, but likely not.
Storytellers have to continue boil these suckers down to what Stan, Kirby and a handful of others wanted and first started with. Essences. Example; Hulk is a Jekyll/Hyde deal, while Venom is more complex. Spider-Man is a turn on pulp’s The Spider. Across the pond in DC land, see The Bat long before Batman.
Infinity War plays this week in Dawson Creek. Put on the gauntlet.