Avengers Infinity War
It is not uncommon for the marketing department of a movie studio to state that the latest film has been years in development. Considering the development and pre-production efforts required to bring any movie to the screen, this statement is quite true of every major film. In the case of the penultimate installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s third phase, dedicated fans have been hotly anticipating the release of this movie for a full decade. Ever since ‘Iron Man’ in 2008 the MCU has been the overwhelmingly dominant film franchise, a juggernaut rolling over their perennial rival, DC, smashing box office records and topping lists for critics and audience approval. The ultimate villain, Thanos, initially made his first appearance in the end credit scene of ‘The Avengers,’ but those few frames set the course of the dozens of movies that would follow. For ten years fan sites, discussion boards and conference panels have conjectured and debated the minutia of this movie. All that waiting was not disappointed, the movie would continue the streak of breaking records and ultimately end with one of the most talked about endings in the history of entertainment. This film would have made a fitting end of the third MCU phase. Although in keeping with their extraordinary narrative panache, some more tantalizing clues to the resolution of the suspenseful dénouement of ‘Infinity War’ would wait for disclosure in ‘Ant-Man and the. Wasp’ the ending of this third Avenger’s film is hardly subject to spoilers, but in, this consideration, every effort will be made to minimize overt references to one of the most heartbreaking ng final scenes in any comic book based movie. This attempt is made from consideration for any recently revived coma patients, castaways recover from remote Pacific islands or the stray fan recently confined to an underground bunker.
The use of the term ‘Universe’ is commonly bandied about in a mostly hyperbolic fashion. With ‘Infinity War,’ the MCU makes good on the use of that term. For a decade Marvel constructed an elaborate tapestry of heroes and villains. Films featuring individuals coalesced, enriching the primary team, the Avengers. All the individual backstories entwined almost seamlessly in one of the best examples of continuity infused over an incredible number of films and television series. Billed as ‘Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.’ Thor (Chris Hemsworth), expanded the scope beyond humanity’s homeworld to the concept of other realms. i.e., worlds, and that what is routinely referred to as magic is technology far beyond our current level of understanding, a nod to a rule established by the Master of Science Fiction, Arthur C. Clarke. From there the Guardians of the Galaxy opened the setting for the action to the Milky Way. This was expounded upon with the inclusion of the Sorcerer Supreme, Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). Marvel has become the best by being thorough as Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), allows for the use of the quantum realm and ‘time vortices’. Finally, for now, at least, battling Thanos the stakes are half of the life in the entire universe. Each thread of this tapestry firmly established, ideally placed and contributing significantly to the whole saga.
Of the myriad of stylistic techniques available to a filmmaker, one that presents a greater of difficulty, the plot coupon. The basis of this technique requires the protagonist to engage on a quest encountering an increasingly arduous obstacle to obtain another member of a special collection of items. The most mundane analogy would be the scavenger hunt. Over the preceding decade encompassing nineteen films divided into three distinct phases, the MCU has established the existence of the six most powerful artifacts in the universe, the Infinity Stones. Each one had a specific color and provided the bearer unlimited power and control over a fundament component of reality. In the MCU they are Mind (yellow), Space (Blue), Reality Stone (Red), Power Stone (Purple), Time Stone (Green), and finally, Soul Stone (Orange). Most stories contained in the MCU rely upon an Infinity stone. Each stone is featured in its film providing a means to move the story a tiny bit further and allow the audience an introduction to a few of the notable abilities imbued in the stone. There is a substantial act of misdirection applied to the ending of each of these items. Whether it’s the Mind Stone concealed in the in Loki’s staff of the supreme temporal control that powers the Time Stone hidden in the Eye of Agamotto, each of the six crossed pats with one or more of our heroes. That is with the notable exception of the elusive Soul Stone. It would not make an appearance until this movie. When Thanos finally set about to actively collect the stones, assembling them in the Infinity Gauntlet, was the audience finally witness to the final coupon. It was not necessary to be familiar with the comic book telling of the Infinity war, but it helps. The MCU has never been obliged to use the comics as the blueprints for how the narrative ultimately unfolds. Many of the broad-brush strokes are presently providing a general narrative path, but ultimately, it falls of the filmmakers to craft the details and fine points of the journey. There is brilliance to spread of the Infinity Stones so widely in the MCU. It does provide a strong and consistent backstory infusing the entire universe with a commonality.
With so many super-powered heroes fighting to save the world against the most formidable enemies they ever faced, the natural progression would lead to chaos. In large ensemble casts the danger inherent in the format comes down to a few common outcomes. The most frequently encountered is an unsettling lack of balance and screen time. Some battles are afforded considerably greater emphasis. In this film, it was akin to watching a three-ring circus. In that format, the audience was constantly shifting between three or more acts. Each performance is permitted adequate time to fulfill it entertaining objectives allowing the viewers to be immersed in a complete experience, coming close but never quite over the point of sensory overload. Shifting the venue between New York City, Various locales in outer space and Wakanda, not only the location are constantly in flux but so are the combatants and their combat styles. As you sit there in awe of the incredible effects, dramatic intensity, and emotional roller coaster, you never forget that this is still the undercard to the main event, the opening act to the performance that drew you to the theater. The Avengers must still face Thanos to prevent him from adding all six Infinity stones to his Gauntlet, snap his fingers and annihilate half of the sentient life in the universe. With each stone he adds, his power increased exponentially diminishing the chance for success.
After such a protracted buildup the final assembly of the stone might have seemed to be relatively quick. Thanos steals the Power Stone, retrieved by the Guardians of the Galaxy and entrusted to the Nova Corp; the story was streamlined by judiciously by passing another group of protectors and yet another battle that would only serve to bloat the already lengthy run time. The prologue elaborated on the fallout of ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ showing Thanos obtaining the stones ones held in Asgard, including the death of some major characters, the humiliating defeat of the Hulk and Thor was bested in his first major challenge as the new King of Asgard. In a display of exceptionally efficient writing as this initial scene of carnage, loss, and foreshadowing, the Hulk is cast down to earth landing in Bleecker Street crashing through the Sanctum Sanctorum of Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Stephen Strange. This initial scene was pivotal to coalescing the various diverse components of the MCU into a single, somewhat cohesive team. While Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), is introducing Dr. Strange to Tony ‘Ironman; Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor smashes into the windshield of the Milano, encountering its motley crew, the Guardians. Many fans wondered as to how such diverse groups of heroes together without compromising the individuality that took so long to establish. The result was something incredible to experience.
The large majority were aware of the general details of the ending. Thanos had always believed that the universe could not support a continually expanding number of life forms, each requiring an unabated amount of crucial resources. His mission to address this problem was to invade one world after another and arbitrarily extinguish 50% of its population. Further his goal one world at a time was taking too long and ultimately prove impossible. By completing the Gauntlet with all six stones, a smoke snap of his fingers would accomplish the reduction by half in an instant. Between an obligatory end credit scene here, one included in the last film of the third phase, ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp,’ the fans were given ample material for theories, conjecture and rationalizing events past. Clues were provided not just in these two final movies of the phase, but the avid fan has pieced together hits and foreshadowing extending back to the very beginning of the MCU. We may have to wait until next year for some answers, but Marvel certainly does not need to be concerned with maintaining interest and anticipation. Thankfully, unlike some other films released in 3D, this one will provide sets in standard Blu-ray, 4k UHD, and Real 3D. The illusion of depth is fully integrated as a part of the narrative, infused in the core of the storytelling.