As a lifelong comic book fan, I grew up assuming the hero was always going to win in the end. Then I read the Infinity Gauntlet and it changed the game. Here was one man, one Titan, facing off against the mightiest heroes that Marvel had to offer. Surely, he didn't stand a chance, right? Wrong. Not only did Thanos hold his own for the first five issues, he actually killed some of my favorite characters AND half of the universe's population with them. The miniseries still holds up as one of my favorite tales to this day because there were consequences. The heroes weren't infallible. In fact, they faced a challenge that was nearly insurmountable. So. Many. Deaths.
So when Marvel announced that their universe would build to Thanos and the Infinity Stones (Gems), one could imagine my excitement. The anticipation increased with each new installment. They weren't all perfect, some not even close, but they were good. They were entertaining, and they hadn't screwed up yet. There were no missteps in a rush to get to the endgame. (DC) Instead, Marvel allowed each character to become their own entity within a massive story that spanned an entire galaxy. No one cared about the Guardians of the Galaxy until James Gunn brought them to life. Doctor Strange has been a heavy hitter at times, but he's never been a widely popular character. (Aaron and Cates have changed that a bit as of late) The love between an android (The Vision) and a woman (Scarlett Witch) could've easily been tossed aside as useless filler, cut for runtime. But it wasn't, and you'll see why it paid off in Infinity War.
Marvel spent ten years building relationships between their characters because they had an endgame in mind. There was a light at the end of the tunnel. Not for the Marvel machine, but for each and every individual within its universe. Kevin Feige, Jon Favreau, James Gunn, Ryan Coogler, Robert Downey Jr, The Russo Brothers, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, and so countless others gave us ten years to build emotional attachments to these characters that some of us have had the immense pleasure of knowing for far longer in the pages of our favorite comics. We felt their commitment, and we committed to them in turn. It's that commitment and those connections that allow for the culmination of all of their work to pay off so absolutely in Infinity War.
It's why the audience applauded when Cap arrived, or when they saw who's guarding the Soul Stone, and when a certain hero returned to the fray. We know these men and women. We've fought Nazis, demons, aliens, psychos, and super-villains with them. Like Oatu, The Watcher (rumored to be Stan Lee's character all along), we even bore witness to an emotional Civil War that felt like watching our best friends tear each other apart.
From the second Samuel Jackson's Nick Fury stepped up to Downey Jr's Tony Stark after the credits for Edward Norton's Hulk film, we knew there was something special brewing. I never imagined Marvel could pull it off. Could stick the landing. I went into Infinity War with expectations that were far too high. I expected to be disappointed. Not because the film would be bad in any way, but rather because my vision was unrealistic. No pun intended. The endgame in my head was unattainable. After ten years of build up, there was absolutely no way this film could do the build-up justice.
I WAS DEAD WRONG.
See THIS movie. See it before it's spoiled. Stay off social media until you do. See it with friends, loved ones, or alone. I don't care how you see it. JUST GO. To all of my fellow comic book nerds, we've waited our entire lives for this. To the people that only know these characters from the films -- that's fine too --it was worth your commitment.
Tom Holland was great as Spider-Man in Civil War and Homecoming. He IS Peter Parker in my mind after this film. I don't care if he goes completely off the rails after this. Spidey was on screen in all of his brave, awkward, adolescent, quick-witted glory. The back and forth between Downey's Stark and Cumberbatch's Strange is flawless. I'll admit several of the recent films have relied too much on comedy, but it doesn't overwhelm this film. If anything, it adds even more adoration for these characters. Especially the ones that interact for the first time. Cap is the hero everyone should try to live up to. Thor and Star-Lord are great together. Gamora has an excellent emotional arc. Drax steals every scene he's in yet again. Groot gets you right in the gut again. Rocket is dynamic. Ruffalo makes us give a crap about Bruce Banner. Vision and Scarlett Witch are heartwarming and heartbreaking, and Black Panther...
There's a reason that film has made 1.19 BILLION worldwide and is still going strong. When you first hear the African drums -- Goosebumps! It is an absolute treat to see T'Challa, Okoye, and Shuri again so soon. We wouldn't have that if Marvel didn't stick to the gameplan. God damn, this movie was good.
The battles are intense and breathtaking throughout. For two directors that came from half-hour television comedies, the Russo's know how the hell to make a vivid adrenaline-inducing action film. I don't need to go into this too much other than to say... everything you were hoping to see, it's in there. With all of that said, I haven't even mentioned the best part.
Thanos lives up to the hype! There are times when the CGI is a little much, but that was an unavoidable expectation. (Banner at the end smh... you'll see what I mean) But let's set the CGI aside and focus on the character. Brolin gave a great performance. With the motion capture tech they have now, it's still his face, his expressions. The greatest part of Thanos is his story though. I won't go into his reasoning. It's a good reveal to experience organically as you watch the film. In the original comic book series, Thanos's entire drive is simply to impress Death, his mistress. He loves her. She may be all that he loves, and he believes that if he gives her millions of souls, she'll finally love him back. Let's just say his goal is far less selfish in this movie. Much like Killmonger in Black Panther, Thanos's reasoning is sound. One could almost agree with him, and the method in which he intends to achieve his goal IS humane when you come right down to it. There have been some missteps in regards to villains along the way, but Marvel figured it out in time to make Thanos all that he was meant to be and more.
I hope at some point you stopped reading this, hopped in the car, and sped to see this film. Like me, you've committed ten years or more to this universe. Go. You deserve your reward, and it's a damn good one.
A quick two cents about the actual movie-going experience. A friend and I went and saw this in an IMAX theater. While I highly recommend seeing this on that screen, and with that sound system, the seating is ATROCIOUS! We could barely get to our reserved middle seats because there's literally no leg room. Especially if the people in front of you are leaning back. The seat barely reclines so you're basically watching it at a 90-degree angle the entire time. It's a difficult and highly uncomfortable position to sit in for three hours. There's NO WAY you're getting up to pee, so I recommend you go beforehand and lay off the soda. I can't wait to see this again in the infinitely more comfortable reclining seats.