Time flies when you’re watching Marvel films. It’s hard to believe, but it has been ten years since Robert Downey Jr. first donned the iron suit and became Iron Man.
In a short, after credit scene (which many missed in theaters) Marvel Studios revealed to comic book junkies and popcorn munching moviegoers alike that an ambitious Avengers initiative was ahead. This was not only a huge task for Tony Stark and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), but an untold front in new age cinema led by real-life leader of the Avengers, Kevin Feige, p.g.a. producer and president of Marvel Studios.
A lot has changed in the past ten years. Brush aside the fact that a lot of these characters have grown and new characters have popped up, and some have died along the way, but the film industry has changed. There have been A LOT of comic book films since 2008. A lot. And not all of them have been made my Marvel. I would like to add that most critically acclaimed comic book film, Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight, came out only a few months after Iron Man.
Comic book based content has spread across the industry like Westerns in the 1960s. Both Marvel/Disney and DC/Warner Brothers have several shows on TV and streaming and both studios had a slew of films and tried to create “universes” where the films somehow connect to each other. But with all these superhero choices out there, why should I still care about Iron Man?
Marvel creates characters who have a lot of heart. They are likable, often quick whipped superheroes, who you simply want to see succeed. Iron Man is a recovering Playboy who has found his calling in saving the world. Captain America is an underdog who has a chance to defeat the Nazis. Spider-Man is a nerdy kid who now has the ability to go toe-to-toe with the bullies of society.
DC and Warner Brothers don’t have superheroes with this level of heart, or least haven’t shown us heroes who do. They have a rich guy who uses his money to buy gear to fight crime and they have an alien who has God-like powers to squash any combatant who dares to trouble Earth. But do they have a trigger-happy, talking raccoon with underlying insecurities and self-doubt? No, but Marvel does.
Using this method of creating heartfelt, underdogs who span and interact with other like characters over the course of several films and a whole decade has led to Avengers: Infinity War. These likable and relatable characters have now become ingrained in our pop culture frameworks like Walt Disney did with his O.G. character Mickey Mouse, which is why we are all eager and anxious to see them face an enemy who is clearly more powerful than all of them combined, Thanos (Josh Brolin).
Avengers: Infinity War picks up right where Thor: Ragnorak left off. Thanos and his pals have boarded Thor’s ship and beat the crap out of Thor and his team in search of one of the six Infinity Stones that may or may not be on the ship. Thanos’ goal is to collect all six stones in order to become the most powerful being in the universe and essentially bring order to the cosmos.
The film plays out like a video game. Thanos, the protagonist, needs to collect all the items to get the ultimate item but must defeat the obstacles in the way. Those obstacles are the Avengers, the characters we have grown to love over the past decade.
Though the film is filled with too many side plots, flat jokes, and simply too many characters, it flies by despite being over two and half hours long. The action sequences are colorful yet predictable at times, but there are enough twists to keep me engaged in the film.
I found myself more than just engaged, but instead I was committed to watching the film. I have grown with these characters. I care about them and I constantly was worried who would be killed off when fighting a foe who was stronger than them. Coupled with beautiful cinematography and CGI and strong performances by many of the top actors and actresses in Hollywood who may have never shared the screen together lends itself to a triumph in cinema and a fun movie watching experience for the viewer.
What Avengers: Infinity War nails that many comic book films had failed at over the past decade is create a compassionate villain who creates a conflict where he or she just might win. When looking at the past few DC films, the villains were flat and powerful. Their only real trait was they had strength and wanted to use it for global or cosmic dominance. Thanos, like the Avengers, feel like he is doing the right thing. He believes under his rule, the universe will be a better place, similar to how the Avengers feel like under their tutelage the universe is better off. Thanos doesn’t want to rule the universe just to flex his muscles.
In terms of outcome, sure there will be more Marvel films, but what characters will be left to be in them? DC once again fails at this because they made it quite public they were planning to ultimately have a Justice League film in the future. Not much is in jeopardy when you know these core characters have to be around for a few more films. With Marvel, they have such a catalog of characters that they can easily afford to kill off a few.
Without diving more into the film and releasing potential spoilers, this is a must see film for any fan comics or blockbuster experiences. Is it a great summer movie? Yes. Is it a great comic book film? Yes. Is it a great Marvel film? Meh. Most of the standalone character films have better stories. But, is this a memorable cinematic experience? Absolutely.
All good stories have a beginning, middle, and end and all these films have added up to this big battle with Thanos. Despite being a huge Marvel fanboy, I’m sure there are many other readers out there who like me simply want to see what happens to these characters we have grown to love because like us they have some heart and have grown in the past ten years. I know I have.