The first part of this post is light spoilers only. Heavy spoilers below the picture.
The weirdest thing about Infinity War is that I can’t tell if it’s a good movie or not. I won’t know if it’s a good movie until the sequel comes out. So it’s going to be more than a year before I know if I like it or not. That’s a hell of a thing to do to a fan.
What I can say about it is that it’s bold. This is a movie that says, “To hell with backstory. If you want to know who these people are go watch the other movies we made.” It’s a film which, given the entire universe to play with, sets a fight between the two most OP Avengers and two of Thanos’ Black Order on a rainy Edinburgh street outside a chip shop. It’s a film that repeatedly tells you it’s going to do a thing and you sit in the dark eating your popcorn thinking “Yeah but you’re not really going to do the thing,” then it does the thing and your popcorn ends up all over the floor.
Whether all this makes for a good movie or not depends on how the things it did are undone, redone or confirmed by the sequel. A film like this stands or falls by it’s character arcs and none of those arcs will be complete until the as yet unnamed sequel arrives next year.
So let’s talk about specifics. I went into the cinema convinced that there were certain characters who were immune from the fingersnap that I knew was coming because they had sequels coming out. Boy, was I wrong.
My instinct is that it’s a smart move. Nobody can claim to be surprised when some of the deaths are undone in the sequel when Black Panther, Spider-man and Doctor Strange all died and yet are all in the process of shooting sequels. Well we assume that T’Challa, Peter Parker and Stephen Strange are coming back. In the comics Shuri is the queen of Wakanda and for a while was the sole Black Panther. Miles Morales, Spider-man from the Ultimates Universe, exists in the MCU and there’s always the possibility that either someone else will be the Sorcerer Supreme or that Doctor Strange 2 just isn’t happening.
I have a couple of specific worries about the the rest of the story. Loki’s behaviour at the beginning of Infinity War makes no sense unless he has a plan. He’s not suicidal, he’s not stupid and he has a clearer idea of how dangerous Thanos is than anyone else. If he hasn’t either faked his death or planned to actually die and come back as Lady Loki, or Kid Loki, or something then I shall be very disappointed.
Doctor Strange needs a really good reason to give up the Time stone. A lot of people have said that he must have done it because Tony was alive in the one possible future where they won. That’s not quite good enough for me. I feel that there’s something more going on or at least there should be. I think that he realised that you can’t beat Thanos by stopping him from doing what he wants. Thanos will just keep trying till he succeeds. You have to let him have it and then undo it once he realises why it was always a terrible idea. Also maybe they needed for him to get the Time stone before he got the Mind stone.
There’s a difficult balancing act for the rest of the story. Some of the deaths must be undone but that can’t happen without cost. If Marvel just hits the giant red reset button then it will be deeply unsatisfying and if they don’t bring back most of the dead then the fans will be up in arms.
And finally, I really hope that at some point someone is going to explain to Thanos why he’s wrong. Not just morally wrong but factually wrong. I might write another post about the massive problem with Thanos’ “solution”.