How We Reached the Endgame: Infinity War - the Movie That Redefined the Genre.

By Rohon Nag | 1.1k |
18 films led upto the start of Infinity war. That itself is some sort of cinematic miracle. Franchises typically don’t last beyond 3 to 6 films, the ones that do often lose quality or momentum. The Bond series has 22+ films but over the course of 50 years. Marvel has 18 hit (or semi hitd in some cases) over 10 years and it all comes down to Infinity War.

The Russos had already made two excellent Marvel films and their Civil war was like an Avengers film more or less. Therefore, I had full faith on them. However, my jaded and cynical mind had never imagined how much more they would deliver. Credit Of course also goes to the writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely for delivering a rather tight and script, which had a simple concept, great hero moments and a gut-wrenching ending.

The War Begins and the gods get their arse kicked:

Avengers: Infinity War should have been more accurately titled as Thanos: A Villain’s Journey.

This film is all about Thanos. This film is a mixture of a smash and grab heist film and the hero’s journey. However, this journey is from the point of view of Thanos. The film opens with him and ends with him.

This is the film, which addresses one of marvel’s longest lasting issues. Weak Villains without any properly articulated motivation or resolve. Villains who are evil just because the writers said so.

Not Thanos. A good villain doesn’t see himself as evil, a GREAT villain convinces the audience that he is not evil.

Right at the beginning, we see Thor’s ship from Ragnarok, now smashed into two pieces. Asgaurdians are lying dead everywhere. The opening is brutal for fans of Thor and his cast of characters. As if Ragnarok was NOT enough, they went even further with the deathof fan favourites Loki and Heimdall!

That scene for me created a sense of urgency for the Avengers to rally and be afraid that Thanos is someone they might not overcome. It’s difficult to describe how it felt to see the Hulk beaten to a pulp in a few seconds by Thanos. Hulk was the strongest avenger… Thanos takes him down as if he is a misbehaved child. Cut to Tony on earth and the film already feels like all hope is lost for our heroes. In the two previous Avengers films, we always knew that the good guys would win in the end. There was no feeling of doom and devastation.

But in this film, from scene to scene, Thanos’s black order are able to go toe to toe with the Avengers and mostly win. Dr. Strange and Vision both are incapacitated quickly and not in a way which made them seem like weak characters but their opponents as formidable.

Strange Alchemy, Random Team ups are such fun:

Thor’s introduction to the Guardians adds an extra dimension to the film. This something new to an Avengers film, which have majorly been always based on Earth. There is exotic space locales and the finale takes place partly on Titan, Thanos’s home planet. This was also something I had not expected. When Iron man, Dr. Strange and Spider-man end up on the space ship, I had fully expected them to turn around and come back to earth. But the film keeps twisting the story and surpassing audience expectations.

The best part of this film is unlikely teamups between various heroes. Aforementioned Thor interacting with the Guardians is priceless. Star Lord is jealous and Drax fawns over Thor. Then we have Dr. Strange and Iron man arguing and Spiderman steps in… a clash of huge Egos and finally the best comedic team meetup of this film, when the Guardians run into the previously mentioned team. The dialog is hilarious... ‘Who is Gamora…’ Asks Iron man. ‘Why is Gamora’ Drax throws back.

Such strange teamups can only happen or work in a film like this. It needs 18 previous films to setup this sort of narrative. If someone tried to narrate a film about a magician, a billionaire playboy in a suit of armour along with a teenager dressed in a spider costume, trying to defeat a purple faced villain with a metal glove… anyone in his or her right mind would laugh at the absurdity of such a notion.

However, we DO take this film seriously and that is testament to how well the MCU has done with their films and setting them up as something plausible.

The writers of the film have a name for such random never before seen team ups.

Strange alchemy.

They try to do this as much as possible to give the viewers something new which the solo films cannot deliver (Source : The Infinity War Movie commentary Track).

Lastly we see Thanos with Gamora and they run into the Red skull. The one-dimensional villain from Captain America’s first solo outing. He is now a shadow of his former self and I always knew he had not died. He had just been teleported. I was glad to see the filmmakers used him for the soul stone scene and gave sort of a closing to his character. This scene establishes how much Thanos is willing to sacrifice for his ideals and beliefs. This sequence and the one that follows with Dr. Strange sort of convinces the audience that Thanos has a legitimate point and he is willing to do whatever it takes (wink wink) to get the infinity stones and fulfill his goal.

The Third act is killer. Literally:

All superhero films depend on their third act to be full of explosions, punches and kicks. Infinity War doesn’t disappoint. The action is intercut between three locations. Wakanda, the Star Forge (Nidavellir) and Titan. It hurts my brain just thinking how many heroes are fighting in this sequence and what all happens. I do not envy the editor of this film, trying to keep these three story lines coherent, exciting and engaging.

The best moment in the third act is without any doubt the entrance of THOR with his new Thanos killing weapon the Strombreaker. Theaters erupted in chaos on his entrance. The response in India was so epic that word even reached the directors of the film who have seen clips of the theater audience going mad during this scene. (Last time I saw such a thing it was for Baahubali 2)

On Titan, Thanos vanquishes all the heroes before him and he almost kills Iron man. I genuinely felt that this was the end for Tony and his Iron Man. Again, this is a misdirect and the film’s most puzzling thing happens. Dr. Strange just hands over the time stone for Tony’s life. The answer to why he does this is, has not yet been revealed and we will have to wait until Endgame to see why.

With the Time stone on him, Thanos comes to Earth and right into Wakanda. At this point, we see Vision die twice. The first time Wanda kills him while fending off Thanos. Then he is resurrected with the time stone and killed again when Thanos removes the mind stone from his head.

This is the time when audiences expect a last moment save. Somehow the heroes WILL win. Thor comes in, throws Strombreaker and doesn’t go for the head. His moment of vanity costs the Avengers everything.

In the now iconic moment, Thanos snaps his gauntlet.

I could hear the entire theater hold their breath the first time I saw the film. On repeat viewing, this scene provokes such a profound sense of sadness on what is to come… the dusting of half the universe’s population.

This sequence is beyond tragic. Audiences were sobbing at this one. This sequence is when we the audience realize that this is no ordinary film. No commercial film ends with the villain winning big time and half of all known heroes and people are wiped out. There is no last hurrah, no victory.

One by one, the heroes disappear. Major ones like Black Panther, Spiderman…. We KNOW this will not be permanent; the next chapter WILL fix this. However, at that moment, we cannot even believe what we are seeing.

It takes courage from a film studio to make the costliest film till date and for the finale show the heroes losing to the villain. No happy ending. Just an onslaught of dying heroes.

There are NO mid credits scene in this film contrary to what we have gotten used to in MCU films. Like the Original Iron man, there is a Nick fury appearance at the end of the film. Giving us hope in the form of Captain Marvel.

In retrospect, having seen Captain Marvel… I hope she is not the one to solve endgame. I hope it up to the original Avengers to solve this issue.

(NO SPOILERS)

I predict that in Endgame, they will find and defeat Thanos fairly early with the help of Captain Marvel but that still won’t solve their problem of the population who have disappeared.

How they solve that issue with time travel / quantum realm time vortex etc. is up for guesswork until we see Endgame.

Next up… Avengers Endgame Review… Coming soon.

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