A movie like Avengers: Infinity War was always going to be a difficult and ambitious project. The culmination of 10 years of different storylines, spanning 18 movies, multiple crossovers and a stellar cast comprising some of the most iconic characters in the superhero universe – the team of Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Dr. Strange, Black Panther, and Spider-man. The chances of being ‘bigger and better’ was also fraught with risks of becoming a mess up of epic proportions if not handled effectively.
So, Infinity Wars can be termed as a monumental achievement for the Russo brothers because it is a resounding success both critically and commercially, beating The Force Awakens for the biggest opening of all time. All the titular characters of the MCU have been used deftly in well-crafted sequences, with each getting impactful screen time and standout moments.
The large-scale action blitzkrieg is wondrous to behold (though they still need to work on the action scenes shot from close quarters) and is supported by the usual witty dialogues and humor that characterizes Marvel movies. But more than that, Infinity Wars has a lot of emotional stakes, and much of this, surprisingly, comes in the form of Marvel’s best villain of all time- the demi-god Thanos (played to perfection by Josh Brolin).
Thanos is not your proverbial cardboard antagonist who strives to conquer the universe through his Infinity Gauntlet but actually comes across as a flawed messianic figure who perceives himself as a savior of humanity, a figure who is strong-willed to supposedly do the ‘right’ thing in order to ensure a better future. More on the Thanos praise later. Let’s see what all made Avengers: Infinity Wars such a great watch:
Darkest Moment of Reckoning for MCU Superheroes
There is a brooding intensity to the movie right from the very beginning when two key figures from previous MCU movies are killed to extract the Space stone from the Tesseract. The rest of the movie is all about Thanos’ quest to fulfill his destiny and collect all the six stones to complete the Infinity Gauntlet. All the MCU superheroes, teamed up in different groups, need to protect the stones in order to avoid the inevitable from happening- the destruction of half the universe by Thanos.
However, there is a lot of comic relief also in the form of witty banter and amusing engagements, especially between the Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor, Dr. Strange, and Iron Man, in separate sequences. Throughout the movie, the narrative is well-structured and moves along at an ambling pace, with you never getting the feeling that it becomes all too confusing to follow. The visuals and action are spectacular as always and offer an unrequited visceral massage, especially if you watch it in IMAX 3D. But let’s talk about the main highlight of Infinity Wars now.
Thanos— Mad Titan or a Flawed Visionary?
‘Evil exists in the world not to create despair but activity’ ~ Thomas Robert Malthus
In case you are wondering whether wiping out half of the universe is merely a grand whim of the mad titan Thanos, then you are sorely mistaken. His philosophy and action are firmly entrenched in a real-world economic theory- the Malthusian theory put forward by Thomas Malthus way back in 1798. Thomas Malthus made a dire prediction of humanity that ‘short-term gains in living would be inevitably undermined as human population growth outstripped food production.’ Thanos has a similar view- ‘The Universe is finite and its resources also finite’.
Hark back to the scene of Gamora’s home planet where Thanos’ army kills half the population, which he justifies to an adult Gamora saying that no kid thereafter starved of hunger or had to face misery or impoverishment. His ideas of killing half the population stem directly from the Malthusian theory, which includes preventative checks to correct the imbalance. Obviously, no sane person could even imagine such an act, but Thanos is determined that this is his destiny to be fulfilled.
There are some scenes with heavy emotional weight involving Thanos during his quest to retrieve all the stones. This is the moment when we realize that he is not merely some video game style final boss villain, but a character with whom we might even sympathize with to a certain extent. Given that we only saw fleeting moments of Thanos in previous movies, mostly in mid-credit or post-credit scenes, his character evolving in a complex, nuanced manner to supreme perfection strongly tells how well-written he is as an antagonist.
Avengers: Infinity Wars is the most defining moment in the MCU, and the massive payoff, in the end, deserves all the hype and hoopla being made of the movie. As always, stay put for the end credits scenes. It heralds another huge leap in the MCU and for the untitled Avengers 4, which would be releasing in May 2019. Stay amped, Marvel fans!