Avengers: Infinity War
So it is highly unlikely that you are reading or listening to this review in order to decide if you will see the movie or not. As of today, May 17, Avengers: Infinity War has raked in $1,665,125,380 globally. If you take its domestic haul and divide if by the average cost of a movie ticket here in America--$9.16 by the way--it means that over 61 million people, myself included, have packed the theaters to see easily the most anticipated blockbuster of 2018. Well, wait a minute. You got to take into consideration all the die-hards who saw it two (or more) times and let's just estimate the total at 50 million. Still, that means that somewhere between on in six to one in seven people who live here in the old U.S. of A. have undergone the shared experience of watching Thanos wreak havoc on 'the world's mightiest heroes'. So here are a couple of quick impressions before I render my buttery finger judgment. Oh, and if for some strange reason you haven't seen it, let me give the obligatory 'spoiler alert'.
gone are the days...
One thought I had was that gone are the days when villains were either bumbling bufoons or amusingly evil caricatures. Maybe my memory was jogged by the recent passing of actress Margot Kidder, who played Lois Lane in the late 70's and early 80's Superman films. That reminded me of Gene Hackman's take on Lex Luthor. Or consider Jack Nicholson's swing at The Joker in Tim Burton's Batman (1989). They were sure fun to watch, but no way in hell were you ever going to see them cry, or digitally cry in Thanos' case.
Don't get me wrong. Thanos is bad. He's very bad! But for a guy who, in a proposed compassionate act of population control, sacrifices his adopted daughter, Gamora, in order to gain the power to commit galactic genocide by wiping out half of all sentient life with the iconic snap of his fingers, he kinda gets to you! I don't know, perhaps we can blame this move away from the mostly flat 'bad guys' of the past to today's more complex, emotionally brooding types on the late Heath Ledger. After all, he was "just ahead of the curve."
Let's not dig too deep
Beyond this, let's resist the temptation to dig too deep and read into Infinity War some larger social commentary. What draws most people to see films like this are two things: 1) some endearing characters, who strike just the right balance between being relatably human while also possessing super-human abilities and 2) the prospect of watching said characters face a formidable foe at the risk of great loss. And that is something Disney's Marvel movie franchise--a.k.a. the M.C.U, the Marvel Cinematic Universe--has done quite well under the steady leadership of the President of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige. Actually I take that back. They had done good on the endearing characters side of the equation but not so great on the formidable foes, who seemed to be routinely discarded at the end of all the previous Marvel installments. But boy did they make up for that with Infinity War, as evidenced by each gasp of the audience as they watched Black Panther, Spider-man, Star-lord and a host of other beloved characters fade away to ashes. Throw in some epic fight scenes, solid special effects, and an effective score from composer Alan Silvestri, and voila, you have 1.6 billion dollars in ticket sales...and counting.
and the verdict is...
So what's my Buttery Fingers review of Avengers: Infinity War? I'm going to give it Two Buckets. I had a good time, was surprisingly emotional during a few scenes, and dammit I've woke up in the middle of the night at least twice trying to figure out how Tony Stark, Captain America, and company are going to fix this mess! Congrats Disney. You've guaranteed I'm going to continue to contribute to Bob Iger's retirement.