Avengers: Infinity War ★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Yeah, I don't know what a good movie is anymore. 86% at RT? Sheesh.

This is the second Marvel movie in recent memory (also GotG 2) where I knew I was in trouble in the first five minutes and felt my heart drop at the prospect of another dreary 2 1/2 hours. I almost walked out, but at this point, there is so much time invested giving up on any one movie feels like swearing off movies for the next 5 years.

I'll limit myself to two...not realizations, exactly, because I realized this a while ago, but confirmations that I really feel this way.

1) The density of the MCU, once its biggest asset, is now a creaking weight of having to shoehorn in all the characters to keep momentum for their movies. Sometimes, as in Ant-Man, these interrupt the flow of the movie. Here they become the movie. There is no story momentum or arc. The villain is the glue, and the various heroes are only in enough of the movie to remind viewers of their last movie or tease their next. Which leads me to...

2) Marvel doesn't make movies any more. They just make 2 1/2 hour trailers/previews for the next movie. The essence of a Marvel movie is deferring resolution. Once upon a time, this would built up over several movies (in the easter egg) to make the Avengers feel like a big deal because they weren't just movies in and of themselves but also the resolution of threads opened in other movies. But Infinity War is, like most of the worst Marvel movies, just a prequel/set up for the next movie. At a certain point, you stop caring. Or at least I do.

I felt emotion once in the film, via a nifty delivery by Tom Holland of a fairly rote scene.

Also, and getting into spoiler-ish territory here, but the tonal shifts are an increasing problem. The Thor/Guardians pairing in particular doesn't work and whatever emotion was built between Spiderkid and Tony in Homecoming is reduced to trope dialogue.

I get the feling like maybe Marvel thinks the end was more daring than it really was. It might have been, had I actually believed it, but, you know, "so and so will return...." and an easter egg teasing next movie or something.

By the way, speaking of the ending, is Ant-Man and Wasp just going to be a prequel to all this, or will it take place in a universe where this has already happened? Because another big issue with catacylismic story arcs is that once you have them, it's hard to believe (as in Slactivist taking down Left Behind) that the world would not be fundamentally changes or have any normalcy or room for small(er) stories.

I was more excited about this than I anticipated, mostly because I thought Black Panther did a good job of telling a more-or-less complete story and introducing some ideas rather than just having a different guy in a different costume going through the same stunts (how many different scenes of heroes being tortured to extract info or capitulation from other heroes do we need in each movie)?

I suppose Thor's speech about fate was interesting, if the movie knew how to build on it, but even that becomes just a cool speech that maybe gives a small insight into what motivates him to...fight like everyone else.

Oh, and, really Starlord? Really? He does something in this movie that is necessitated by the plot but is so unbelievable that I couldn't believe the script was a final product and not a draft. (And no, I am not talking about him shooting a gun and having bubbles come out, either....)

Anyway, I try not to begrudge anyone their pleasures. (I really liked Ready Player One and I hear some people didn't.) So I won't bother you all any more. You all enjoy the next three or five or seven or however many MCU movies it takes to get us to what we know is inevitably going to happen. In the meantime, I'll be over in a corner, mourning the fact that I've appeared to lose my ability to enjoy stupid movies.

Postscript: Given Marvel's increasing tendency to streeeeeetch material pointlessly and needlessly over multiple movies, it's inevitable that Peter Jackson end up directing one or more of these, right?