Hey everyone! I can’t imagine people are going to come to this article without having first seen Infinity War, but if you want a non-spoiler summation of my thoughts on the film, here goes: It lives up to the hype, Thanos especially. I hope people will enjoy it as much as I did. Go see.

The rest of this review contains spoilers.

“There was an idea…”

No matter how the original Avengers film from 2012 is viewed in the long term, in the moment it was something I will remember for the rest of my life. On paper the idea of bringing together six superheroes into one film was rather ambitious. Even after seeing all the films that lead up to it; I questioned if one film could balance a man lost in time, a guy in a flying suit, and literal god all in one film without breaking. On May 4th, 2012, I was proven wrong. What would go down as one of my most euphoric entertainment experiences was capped off by a mid-credits scene that I and I alone understood at my screening. Not only had Marvel successfully brought together the Avengers; but with one turn of his head, Marvel promised that this was all going to end with Thanos, the Mad Titan.

Witnesses in my theater that night will probably remember a weird purple face showing up on screen and one guy in the middle of all the seats standing up and yelling, “Oh. My. God. They’re doing it. YES!” before falling back into his seat, rocking back and forth with glee.

This is all to say, I have been counting down to this day. Earth’s Mightiest Heroes would come face to face with alien nihilist Thanos, in a cinematic retelling of one of the high points of 1990’s Marvel Comics, The Infinity Gauntlet. Even typing that makes me take pause. I questioned whether six superheroes would be too much for one movie, and now millions of people have watched a live action version of Thanos in big budget film. Even if the franchise sputters out—hard to imagine, as Marvel Studios is making some incredible films recently—what this film promised was going to be a milestone for comics regardless.

The road leading here has been long, and yet only six years have passed. The fans that attended every film in that time watched as pieces of the puzzle finally came together. Not only the Infinity Stones, but characters set up to play a role—Gamora, Nebula, Captain America, and Vision to name a few—all had to fall into place for this. I was excited. I took a deep breath as the movie started.

The Full Gauntlet

Infinity War draws inspiration mainly from 1991’s The Infinity Gauntlet comic, as well as the more recent comic event Infinity in 2013. The film unifies the Marvel Cinematic Universe heroes against the oncoming threat of Thanos, the Mad Titan, as he attempts to bring a balance to the universe. He does this by collecting the Infinity Stones, six powerful artifacts capable of manipulating things such as Time, Space, and Reality.

Keeping it simple, Thanos’s end goal is blinking out half of the life in the universe. Needless to say, the stakes are pretty high here. Regardless of how hard the heroes try, in the end Thanos does collect all of the Stones. In the closing moments of the film, he does wipe out half of the life within the universe. Many beloved heroes die. Thanos retreats to a serene resting place and watches the sunset, smiling.

Grappling with the Ending

I was nearly speechless from the last shot of the film until I reached the car. Coming out of the theater, I realized this wasn’t the film we were sold in the trailers—a welcome relief as I think many trailers give too much away—and I had to wonder how the greater audience would react to the fact that this was really Thanos’s heroic journey. I wouldn’t be able to pin my own feelings until the next morning, when I truly processed what had just occurred on screen. Simply put, I loved this film.

Yet, I think there will be a large section of the audience that will come out the film not liking it. The overwhelming mood at the ending is defeat. This ending is a very hard pill to swallow; and for once, the heroes don’t come close to winning. Thanos wipes out half the population of the universe in the comics, but I never expected he’d actually pull it off on film. Even as a comic book fan, I’m not sure how they get out of this. But if defeat is what you felt coming out of the film; recognize that a film making you feel sad, hopeless, or defeated means that it struck a chord somewhere along the way. Which is more to say than some films that are instantly forgettable.

Thanos lived up to the hype and exceeded my expectations. Josh Brolin plays him as a rather subdued villain for a character with such presence on screen. In fact, calling him a villain is probably a disservice to the character, as I genuinely feel he is the hero of his own story. There is a sense that even though the goal he is chasing is horrible, he sees himself as the only person with enough drive and courage to do it. We see him sacrifice literally the one person in the universe he loves. In a slice of dramatic irony, his act of cleansing the universe causes our heroes to watch their most treasured companions turn to dust as well.

Pure Joy

While the cliffhanger certainly leaves everyone is a defeated mood, let’s chat about some of the moments I enjoyed the most. In the opening scene, watching The Hulk go toe-to-toe with Thanos made the little kid inside of me so excited. The same can be said when Thor makes his dramatic entrance on Wakanda and starts lighting up the army of CGI aliens. Kudos to the writers for addressing that Thor lost all of his friends and family, along with half of the survivors of Thor Ragnarok, all within about a day. That moment was really cathartic and I’m worried not enough people will praise it.

I love the surprise cameo from Red Skull. I will even gloss over how he knew so much about the Soul Stone on a seemingly empty planet. Drax’s “stealth” moment had me laughing uncontrollably. Speaking of Drax, I appreciate that writers chose not to let him control his emotions when he finally had Thanos in sight. I love that Starlord is not in control of his emotions enough to kill Gamora when he has the chance, nor allow Thanos to be disarmed before attacking him for killing Gamora to get the Soul Stone. It’s awesome that Tony Stark and Stephen Strange seem like they should be the same character based off their histories, but it reality Stange has overcome his ego and Stark is still clings to it as a defense mechanism.

I love that Thanos has displays of big emotions in this film, going so far as to really mourn that he must sacrifice Gamora to achieve his goal. He doesn’t want to rule the universe—in fact, he seems to disappear to find peace once he’s done what he believes is right. I love that Thor does get to confront Thanos again. I hate that Captain America and Tony never get to mend their bridges. And of course, watching Peter Parker apologize to Tony as he’s dying, leaving Tony with survivor’s guilt was heartbreaking and a full circle on his fears of being the only one left as seen in Age of Ultron.

But I love that the avenging is about to begin.

No movie is perfect, and lord knows that was probably not going to live up to the unrealistic expectations I had for it. But this is somewhere in my top five Marvel films—the exact number will have to wait until I have seen Black Panther and this again. My hope is that this film will have a legacy of being the high point I believe it to be. It leaves me with questions I must wait a year to answer; and with uncertainty, which is uncommon for me with these films.

Ryan Sainio is a Graphic Designer who writes about EDH, the story of Magic and the EDH community in his down time. He has been playing Magic: The Gathering since 7th Edition in 2002 and values flavorful and fun gameplay over competitively optimized decks.
Pet Deck – Shattergang Eldrazi

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