Avengers: Infinity War ★★★★

Yo, I forgot how on fire Alan Silvestri was in this. Really, really great score. Also, there are a couple sequences in this that exhibit genuinely perfect blockbuster filmmaking (the slow build to disaster in Doctor Strange’s temple, the way the camera tracks behind Tony to the outside toward the screams of terror, the subsequent battle that ensues, all 100% prime-A visual storytelling). Once the movie starts to revert to its old Marvel ways, à la giant CG army of thingies in Wakanda that are easily defeated when we all just come and fight together, it starts to lose me — but then the snap heard round the universe happens and I’m all in again. This really is a Thanos movie and I really hope Endgame tills that field even more. What makes Thanos so interesting, so intimidating, so intriguing isn’t his plan — his plan is pretty backwards and counterintuitive when you start to pick it apart — rather, it’s his attachment to the ideas behind said plan. He has forced himself to be the martyr of this story, the good guy of the grand scheme. When Gamora first laughs in his face about the universe finally snapping back at him (due to the proposition of his having to sacrifice something he loves for an infinity stone), her belief that he can’t love actually snaps back at her. He’s so warped by his own protagonist-complex that he truly believes that this is love — his fatherhood, or dominance, over Gamora, and so forth. And I kind of believe him! In the same way, he truly believes he’s doing a greater good for everyone. The Avengers are just a pesky group that stands in the way of the universe finding peace. So, we have a villain here who is fighting for galactic peace and a group of heroes who are fighting against reaching that peace for the sake of half the lives of the galaxy. 10 some odd years of multidimensional character arcs and narrative strands led to this and, hoo boy, does it pay off emotionally. These Marvel movies are so autopilot when it comes to writing sometimes, but this is really one of the good ones.

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