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“Avengers: Infinity War” Was Well Worth the Wait

Photo credited to Marvel franchise.

Photo credited to Marvel franchise.

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If you’ve been a living, breathing human being at Dublin High for the past few weeks, you’ve probably noticed the insane hype for Avengers: Infinity War. Regardless of your own preferences in movies or lack thereof, it’s been nearly impossible to go two days in a row without hearing people theorizing and discussing which beloved characters will die or clapping their hands over their ears and screaming at the slightest possibility of spoilers.

 

We were two of those people—and we’re here to tell you that the hype was absolutely worth it.

 

For those of you less familiar with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Infinity War was a comic-book movie like no other, ambitiously combining the old Avengers, the new Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and a few more stragglers into one intergalactic showdown. Directed by the Russo brothers, who have previously directed two Captain America movies, The Winter Soldier and Civil War, Infinity War starred a long list of actors, including but not limited to Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Chris Pratt (Star-Lord), Tom Holland (Spider-Man), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Benedict Cumberbatch (Dr. Strange), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Chris Evans (Captain America), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther), Bradley Cooper (Rocket), Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Josh Brolin (Thanos), and many, many, more.

 

Avengers: Infinity War instantly broke records in the box office, making $300 million dollars on opening weekend in the United States alone. At $641 million globally in its opening weekend, Infinity War holds the title of highest-grossing international opening weekend ever, beating out the previous holder The Fate of the Furious by nearly $100 million.

 

As for the actual movie, many people (including ourselves) were left puzzled, delighted, and devastated. A unique mix of emotions was provoked by a movie equal parts comedy, tragedy, and action blockbuster. It had no shortage of complex plot twists and continuations, expecting audience members to remember details about MCU movies reaching as far back as 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger. One thing was abundantly clear: for Marvel newbies, this was not the place to start.

 

This movie has been called “the most ambitious crossover of all time,” and it lived up to that expectation, with plenty of hilarious character interactions between people from all over the universe meeting for the first time. But for every light-hearted joke was a heart-wrenching twist of fate. While much of the movie was unapologetically loud, the quiet moments here and there were what really stood out – the fantastic writing and acting (especially on the part of Josh Brolin as Thanos himself) made emotional scenes all the more emotional and jokes all the funnier.

 

All right, we’ve done what we can without spoilers. This is a movie begging to be analyzed but scroll no further if you haven’t seen it yet.

 

Seriously.

 

SPOILERS.

 

Infinity War was not an Avengers movie. That much was clear with the surprising lack of screen time allotted to fan favorites such as Captain America and Black Widow. While calling it a Guardians of the Galaxy movie may be more accurate, as these characters played a much greater role, Infinity War was, above all, a movie about Thanos. The MCU has long had a problem with villains lacking in intimidation or even common sense, and Thanos is a refreshing change from that status quo. The movie focused more on him than any other character, and the character development, flashbacks, and interactions with his adopted daughter, Gamora, portrayed him in an almost sympathetic light. While we may not agree with him murdering half of the population of the universe, it was hard to disagree with his purposes for doing so.

 

A common criticism of Infinity War was the noticeable lack of actual conversation between characters, as the majority of interactions were either fight scenes, jokes, or both simultaneously. For instance, many fans were expecting Captain America and Iron Man to have a long-due conversation after their falling-out with each other three years ago in Captain America: Civil War. As it turned out, they never even met during Infinity War. However, due to the ending, we can only imagine that there will be a lot more opportunity for talking in the sequel.

A common theme running throughout the movie was that humanity is weakened by their emotional attachments, exemplified as multiple characters were faced with the option of sacrificing a loved one in order to save half of the universe – and nearly all of them made the wrong choice. Gamora, Peter Quill, and (initially) Wanda Maximoff all found it difficult to kill the ones they loved despite the consequences of not doing so. While Dr. Strange seemingly made the same decision, his parting words – “this was the only way” – seem to imply that he gave Thanos the Time Stone because it was necessary in the grand scheme of things, and not to save Stark’s life. This uncomfortable realization about the weakness of the Avengers served to preserve their humanity while presenting the stark contrast between them and Thanos, who sacrificed a daughter that he loved in order to do what he thought was right. How’s that for a compelling villain?

 

But really, we all know what we need to talk about. Because we all saw that ending.

 

After years of buildup to this moment, 18 movies, dozens of characters, and some (very) emotional deaths including those of Loki and Gamora, Thanos won. He collected all six Infinity Stones, chuckled a little, snapped his fingers, and watched as half of the population of the universe turned to dust. What followed was what can only be described as a death montage, a scene lasting about two minutes but feeling like an eternity, in which the audience could only gape in silence as half of the heroes ceased to exist with varying levels of heart-wrenching emotion. Bucky stumbling and disintegrating with Steve’s name on his lips, Sam Wilson disintegrating as Rhodey calls his name from a few feet away, Wanda and Vision disintegrating in each other’s arms, and all the Guardians of the Galaxy (excluding Rocket) ceasing to exist were certainly heartbreaking and shocking. But perhaps worst of all, and most unexpected, were the deaths of T’Challa, better known as Black Panther, who was not only a fantastic character but a cultural icon, and Peter Parker, our beloved Spider-Man, who at the young age of sixteen disintegrated in Tony Stark’s arms as he begged his mentor to help him and said that he “didn’t wanna go.” Even the post-credit scene featured, along with the MCU’s first nod to Captain Marvel, the disintegration of former high-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. officials Maria Hill and Nick Fury.

While people were left understandably shocked and devastated by the ending, we can’t help but feel that it was a long time coming. After ten years of Marvel movies, it was pretty necessary for the Avengers to lose something at some point, and as Infinity War is a two-part endeavor with the as-yet-untitled Avengers 4 set for release in exactly a year, this was a cliffhanger ending that set up the sequel perfectly. We now have a powerful and compelling villain, a cast that has been whittled down to a manageable size (notably, all six original Avengers survived Thanos’ purge), and a hell of a lot of stakes. While we don’t know how we’ll get our heroes back, whether we will get them back, or what will happen in the meantime, one thing is for sure; we’ll be right there in the audience waiting to find out.

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