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Thoughts on Avengers: Infinity Wars

Thoughts on Avengers: Infinity Wars

I’m usually not too big on superhero movies in the sense that while I really like the action and the sheer artistic talent involved in rendering those complex special visual effects, I don’t find the characters too relatable nor the storyline interesting. Regardless, with the arrival of the new blockbuster Infinity Wars and its record-breaking opening debut, I felt that I definitely couldn’t miss this new film. So, I called up a friend and we hit the local theaters.

What Really Stood Out

Even going in with the expectations one would have for any Marvel movie, I was blown away by the scale and magnitude of the movie in itself. I’m not someone who really spends a lot of time looking into the movies of any particular actors or studying their quirks and their history, but I definitely appreciated how the Russo brothers along with the rest of the members involved in the direction of the film were able to orchestrate such a grand spectacle for everyone.

As far as achieving the goal of unifying the backstories of multiple characters who are protagonists and heroes in their own right into one integrated universe and environment and then setting a cohesive narrative around it, Infinity Wars did a brilliant job. The pacing of the movie was excellent too. It was one of those movies where you watch it and feel as if you’ve been transported three hours into the future afterwards.

The visual effects were seamless and convincing. There’s not really much to say on that end. The movie starts in medias res by thrusting the viewer into the action and wastes no time creating the necessary context, backdrop, and motivations across its diverse cast of characters. The comedic breaks were appropriate and well-timed too, stemming from the cultural differences between the characters of the Guardians of the Galaxy and essentially everyone else.

What Bothered Me

Now, I’m all for suspension of disbelief and enjoying the film by allowing enough creative liberties to the directors, but several moments and themes really detracted from the consistency of the narrative. A lot of these moments have to deal with how the emotional baggage and reactions of many characters are reconciled.

If we take a closer look and really think about the what’s at stake and then think about the reactions of some individual characters, the narrative really starts to unravel. For instance, one character that really didn’t make sense for me was Gamora. Given the ultimate goal of preventing Thanos from achieving his genocidal aims and given that she knew the location of the Soul Stone, the most logical choice would have been not confronting Thanos and putting herself in a position where she would not be captured.

Thanos and Gamora’s antagonistic father-daughter relationship also created a confusing narrative point when Thanos sacrifices Gamora to attain the Soul Stone. She is framed as possibly the only person that Thanos ever has opened his heart towards after his genocidal ambitions, but she also exists as someone that Thanos does not show concern towards when it comes to exacting severe emotional pain. In other words, it doesn’t make sense that Thanos values Gamora so much but also does not hesitate to hold his own daughter hostage as a bargaining chip to get Gamora to divulge the location of the Soul Stone.

Arguably, if Gamora committed suicide with the intent of destroying the knowledge of the location of the Soul Stone, it would have tipped the chances of victory in the favor of the Avengers immediately. In fact, Vision’s offer to sacrifice himself by allowing Maximoff to destroy his Infinity stone essentially captures this spirit and lucidity about the actual consequences of Thanos winning and is a running theme throughout the film. I would want to also argue that Loki should have kept the Tesseract hidden at the cost of letting Thor die, but it is not outside the realm of Loki’s character to act in contradictory or dishonorable ways and the choice isn’t as questionable since they were caught off-guard and unprepared.

Perhaps the most nonsensical part of the film was Star-Lord’s overreaction at the news that Gamora had died. There are several things that don’t make sense with this scene. The first thing is why Mantis decides to announce Thanos’ emotions. She should have just not revealed any more details about Thanos’ mental state over his sacrifice of Gamora to Star-Lord. Even then, Star-Lord decides to take the action of endangering all of his friends by disrupting Mantis’ interference with Thanos.

To add insult to injury, Dr. Strange is supposed to have gleaned over some 14 million possibilities regarding their encounter with Thanos. Why didn’t he have foresight about Star-Lord’s major blunder?

Concluding Thoughts

When looking at the film as a whole, I feel deeply conflicted. While the film manages to execute brilliantly on visuals, actions, and the motivations for why all of these characters come together, it also has a number of moments where it feels contrived. The aim towards Thanos achieving his goal seems too constructed. The major problem for me was that it feels like the movie created a set of unrealistic circumstances and stretches in order to have the villain succeed in the end.

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