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It can't be said that Marvel didn't try really freaking hard on this one; the cast was brilliant, the CGI effects were on point, the score was amazing, continuity was great, and the cinematography was exceptional. Except, it seems that, in all the excitement, Marvel forgot to tell a story.
The problems begin with the fact that Infinity War starts with the assumption that you've seen all the Marvel movies up to this point, and are deeply ingrained in the lore already. This is an issue because it means scenes that are ostensibly supposed to have depth and weight are robbed of it due to lack of context.
A second problem arises with the sheer size of the cast. Four Lines, All Waiting is in full effect here, which clashes with previous Marvel comics films' focus on their title characters (and maybe one or two other people). Individuals who were previously deep, well thought-out characters are now reduced to little more than bit parts, with maybe fifteen minutes of screentime each.
Related to the above is the sheer scope of what the film's MacGuffin, the Infinity Stones, are supposed to be able to do. Five of these six stones were each individually powerful enough to drive the plot of a whole movie (apiece, and at minimum; see also Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor, Thor: The Dark World, Dr. Strange, and Captain America). Individually, getting one of them into the hands of a villain has been enough to create a climax of action; in the first and second Avengers movies, this demanded a team-up of all the heroes who had shown up so far to thwart said Big Bad. Even in promotional material, it's guaranteed Thanos gets two; the stones have to be seriously nerfed before there's room for a believable/relevant plot.
Which brings up the issue of Thanos himself. In the wider comic-verse, the mad titan's had a lot of build-up and characterization, but in just this film, there's relatively little to him. Attempts are made at giving him a credible backstory and making him somewhat sympathetic, but given that his primary character trait is Omnicidal Maniac (or, in the movie's case, half-omnicidal), this effort was doomed to failure before it started. Through the use of his Mooks, sets the bar high, but he himself crosses into "absurdly overpowered" territory... emphasis on "absurdly". By the end of the film, we're at a point where actually beating him would require downplaying his built-up strength considerably... and letting him win would be a Foregone Conclusion. Either ending comes off as entirely cheap and results in a happy/sad ending seemingly for the sake of a happy/sad ending.
That being said, there is, indeed, a part 2 to this story. If you haven't seen the film already, I would recommend holding out just a bit longer and waiting for part 2, so you can see the complete story pulled together. In the meantime, it would be best to just pass on Infinity War.
Well, to be fair, if you're trying to start a franchise with the nineteenth entry without having any single idea of what all the previous movies were about, you already are shooting yourself an arrow in the foot. I don't think people who go see Return of the Jedi without having seen the previous two movies are gonna get much context either.
the stones have to be seriously nerfed before there's room for a believable/relevant plot.
... they have? I honestly didn't notice if they were. If anything, the Aether/Reality Stone was stronger than it used to be. You might want to give arguments here, because I don't see a single scene where they Stones appear to be nerfed.
The argument that the stones seem nerfed because they all appeared together vs 1 infinity stone alone being strong enough to drive the plot of a previous movie is a nonsensical argument when Infinity War is meant to be the new height in the Sorting Algorithm Of Evil. Thanos's threat is still treated with respect to the power each stone is established to hold imo. Also, just because a character is an Omnicidal Maniac does not make it impossible to have them fleshed out and made sympathetic despite understanding they're still wrong. Having Thanos take on the role of the film's protagonist allows us to actually get to know him rather well, and I would argue Thanos does succeed in garnering sympathy, as many people can sympathize with a desire to make the world a better place but with the understanding that doing so is very difficult without taking some kind of radical action.
Aren't your points conflicting with eachother? The movie assumes you saw enough of the others; characters that had dept before have less time to show it due to time and cast size.
Comicbook Thanos' trait is Omicidal Maniac, MCU Thanos' trait is more Well Intentioned Extremist, in his mind he's comiting the sin, the sacrifice, for the greater good of the universe. Also, none of this actually shows how the film failed to tail a story.
Finally, to further superdawge's point. The answer is pretty simple, you don't have to nerf the collection of Mc Guffins that individualy drove the previous movies by themselves, the stakes are simply highter. At most they were used to attempt to conquer or destroy a planet (Earth, Asgard, Xandar), Thanos' goal was to kill half the lives in the entire universe.
There is a vast gulf between picking up the last movie in a trilogy on its own and not having seen every film in a 19-movie long series. While I understand the point you\'re trying to make, that there\'s no context for most series if you\'re just dropping in near the end, it\'s a bit ludicrous to have a story that requires that much homework to truly appreciate. Some of us just don\'t have that kind of money.
As far as the stones are concerned... recall that, in Guardians of the Galaxy, the Power Stone was explicitly stated to have the power to wipe out whole planets. Thanos never uses it in any way more impressive than cracking apart a small moon and hurling the pieces at his opponents... instead of the Finger Poke of Doom that should logically follow from having such a potent object attached to your finger. I guess what I\'m getting at here is that it\'s difficult to buy into the narrative of the power of these stones being realized when even their most basic functions are hardly ever used (except, of course, when it would inconvenience the heroes... no, not kill, just inconvenience).
The basic gripe is that plot, as opposed to any amount of production quality, is what falls short in Infinity War. Marvel managed to not make Thanos look cheesy, they built in an incredible score, the actors were awesome, et cetera. Basically, if there's someone to point to and say "ya dun goofed", it's the writers.
Anyway, the stones might not have been nerfed exactly, but the potential of them is mostly left untapped, and in the case of the Soul Stone, nobody even bothers to explain what the hell it's supposed to do. The Mac Guffin Thanos is chasing throughout the whole film just feels undersold compared to what they were back when Red Skull, Loki, and Ronan were chasing them, which reflects badly on Thanos, as he's supposed to be a step up. Instead of coming off as a badass conqueror of worlds, he seems like big, purple muscle for the sake of big, purple muscle. One of the few times a Marvel villain has come off as actually cartoony, in my opinion.
@ Marcell X
I see no contradiction. If you\'ve seen their respective movies, the characters are phenomenally deep... but in just Infinity War, they show up, do a thing, and then get jobbed. That\'s about it; no development whatsoever. Thanos gets a lot of screentime, but even he doesn\'t develop; we just get to see a lot of him. He never stops being the archetypal Big Bad, which is disappointing coming from a franchise that\'s managed to humanize otherwise fantastic figures.
And along those lines, Thanos\'s motivations and backstory didn\'t really earn much sympathy from me. He might not be quite an Omnicidal Maniac (since he only wants to destroy half of everything), but in my honest opinion, everything that could make him more sympathetic only makes him more damned. Even Evil Has Loved Ones? Doesn\'t stop him from treating them like shit, or killing them if they\'re between him and his goals. Not to mention, it felt like something of an Ass Pull due to how little focus it got before this movie.
That argument would be a valid point if they expected you buy multiple comics tie-in, watch tie-in series, look for supplement on the internet and so on, yes. Essentially, having to watch or read all the stuff that\'s essential to the plot but was inexplicably left out of the movie despite the fact it could have easily been included in it. This is different; we\'re talking about, well, a sequel. This is Avengers 3, and the first Avenger movie already was a crossover movie involving no less than four different movies. If you think there\'s a huge different between a trilogy and a 19-long movie series, then I can probably find you movies series that are, if not just as long, at least pretty close. I mean, what were you expecting them to do, put a ridiculously long summary of all 18 previous movies at the beginning? It can be helped. As for not everyone having all that money, well... you don\'t need to see all of them in theater; most movies are available in DVD or on streaming by now, that\'s how I caught up. Also homework implies it\'s a core to do; each of these movies is enjoyable of his own right (well, some less than others), so watching them all isn\'t necessarily a core. Don\'t go watch a series\' finale and then complain you need to see the rest of the series to enjoy it.
Okay, one: if you seriously thinks throwing a moon at the heroes isn\'t that impressive or couldn\'t kill the heroes, I don\'t know what that says about your standards. Two: have you considered the possibility that maybe Thanos didn\'t care about obliterating the heroes with a Finger Poke Of Doom at this point? Just because you have that much powers on your finger doesn\'t mean you should use it all at once. As we later see during his arrival on Wakanda, the heroes barely are a threat to him; he moves through them without even bothering to kill them, because they are that insignificant to him. Plus, throwing too much power at the same time on Strange and his allies when his goal is to grab the Time Stone (which is around Strange\'s neck) would have the risk of destroying the very thing he needs. Soooo yeah, no nerf as far as I am concerned.
If I do have a complain about these stones, though, it\'s that we never learn what the heck the Soul Stone does. He never uses it and goes after it for no other reason than to have the complete set. Kinda wish we had seen him use it.
@twoeyesshort It is conflicting, you complain that the movie assumes you saw some earlier movies, but that characters that were developed in those movies weren\'t as much in this one. The movie can\'t do both at the same time. It can\'t give the whole history and character dept of every primary, secondary and maybe even terciary character in the span of one film.
You\'re also falling into the belief that a developing character is the only way to go. Yes, as the story goes we find out more about Thanos. His personality, motivations, plans, etc. Like or dislike them, there isn\'t really a need for more. A good example is the diference between Vito and Michael Corleone in The Godfather movie. With Michael going from a good nature boyscout to a ruthless mafia boss, while we just see the layers and brake down of Vito\'s unchanging character as a seasoned Don of the family. In fact, the Villain Protagonist examples can be divided into those two types. But hey, maybe is as Wisecrack theorises and his change comes in the next Avengers\' movie.
The total runtime of all the movies up to this point is around 45 hours. Maybe that doesn\'t sound like a lot, being \"only\" about two straight days, but that\'s still different from a 5-hour chunk of an afternoon/evening. A huge summary wouldn\'t be necessary, but some token explanation of, say, why Thor no longer resembles his Dark World self or why Stark and Cap are no longer on speaking terms (yes, I saw Civil War, but anyone who didn\'t would be totally lost by that plot point) would certainly be warranted. Many of Marvel\'s \"lesser\" films managed to pull this off without too much trouble, which makes it all the more glaring when Infinity War doesn\'t.
Re: the stones... I\'m not saying it\'s not impressive to be able to crack up a small moon. I\'d like to see one of us try that. But it takes some weight off the plot... Thanos might be a big, strong dude, but his ability to use the stones and any Hero Killer traits he might have are completely separate (barring one major exception). Realistically, turning each of the heroes (Strange included) into a red smear should be trivial for him; at the very least, subduing them could have been done more creatively than just punches and beams. The fact that essentially throws a lot of rocks at them, instead of using any of the stones\' other, more-likely-to-kill-a-hero-dead abilities, might not be a nerf, but it\'s such an understatement that it makes them and Thanos look smaller.
Specifically, in regards to the Soul Stone...yeah, I have that issue, too. What\'s it supposed to mean, other than making the Mad Titan bleary-eyed (over something that, again, seems like it came from nowhere)?
Developing character isn\'t the only way to go, but it\'s what Marvel\'s done up to this point, and generally makes for a better story. Infinity War refusing to do so is then such a glaring difference that it\'s hard not to notice... not to mention, it\'s a bit of a misstep to make every person in the film a Static Character, including Thanos. Nothing changes from the beginning until the very tip of the end, which makes the entire film, for lack of a better term, pointless. Which is much less than I\'ve come to expect from Marvel films.
I agree on the point regarding that some of the stones like the Power and Reality being underused, but then again, if Thanos just turned heroes into jelly using the Reality stone at the beginning we wouldn't have the whole battle sequence on Titan, so they'd have no choice but to have Thanos not using it in that way and using it in other ways instead, like turning the explosion into a powerful flamethrower. I get the impression that the explanation in-universe is that the more creative a power is, the more concentration Thanos is required to use, so that's why when Thanos gets ambushed by the Titan team, he resorts to simple uses of the stones' power instead of annihilating them from the get-go because he can't focus (not to mention that the heroes make the point of stopping Thanos from using the Gauntlet at every opportunity until Quill screws up).
I have to disagree about Thanos being a static character, though. I personally see him as the main character of the film, and that's why he gets more focus than every other character combined. He gets the hero's journey story instead of our usual heroes (and that's perhaps why some heroes like Quill did stupid mistakes so that Thanos could turn the tide, not different from the usual villains in such stories). And he actually has a personality beyond just being a Galactic Conquerer Omnicidal Maniac. He sees himself, in his own twisted view, as a Well Intentioned Extremist, not unlike Ultron. He has to give up pretty much everything to achieve his goals, and in the end, he did it, but also implied to wonder if the cost was too high. To me, that makes him better than most Marvel villains than, say, Ronan or Malekith.
Perhaps that's why it gives the feeling that the film is kinda pointless. We all know Thanos had to win this film in order for our heroes to 'avenge' their defeat in the final film, and that we're so used to seeing the heroes win in previous films that it comes off as jarring when nothing they do in this film seem to go anywhere, and maybe that's exactly the point of it. Thanos gets the hero treatment and he has to win, no matter how convoluted it is, while our heroes we come to care about for years have no choice but to accept defeat. You could say it's Darkness Induced Audience Apathy. Why bother rooting for our heroes if we know they can't win?
To all of that, I say, fair enough. Unfortunately, that still leaves the story so un-grounded and convoluted that it\'s difficult to buy into, regardless of what factors are ultimately in play. Maybe some people in the audience enjoyed it. I hold that it\'s a sub-par story, though... deeply unsatisfying and nihilistic. Marvel can do better.
But again, structurally, this is the halfway point... so what I\'m hoping for is that part 2 comes out better.
Iím pretty sure Avengers 4 will eventually result in a triumph for our heroes anyway, at the very least a Bittersweet Ending that is heavy on the sweet side, but I think some heroes will get a better sendoff than what happened here. Like you said, itís a two-part story, and I think this filmís main purpose is to give you a big reason to watch the next one, because yeah, it definitely Ďícanítíí end like this for our heroes.
but some token explanation of, say, why Thor no longer resembles his Dark World self
it\'s present; He summarizes the entire events of Thor Ragnarok to the Guardians in one line.
why Stark and Cap are no longer on speaking terms
The movie pretty much establishes they no longer are on speaking terms with two lines of dialogues, and why they are in this situation isn\'t exactly needed to understand the plot. Not when they don\'t even interact for most of the film.
So yeah, I fear you\'re nitpicking on that one.
Realistically, turning each of the heroes (Strange included) into a red smear should be trivial for him; at the very least, subduing them could have been done more creatively than just punches and beams. The fact that essentially throws a lot of rocks at them, instead of using any of the stones\' other, more-likely-to-kill-a-hero-dead abilities, might not be a nerf, but it\'s such an understatement that it makes them and Thanos look smaller.
Because the Aether totally was used this way in Thor the Dark World - Oh, wait. Look, I won\'t pretend Thanos not doing that isn\'t weird, but regarding making the Stones nerfed... yeah.
I don't remember Thor's explanation (about the most I recall in that regard was that "his best friend was stabbed through the chest", which happened at the beginning of Infinity War), and the most Stark says about himself and Cap are that they aren't on speaking terms... and the "why" is kind of important if a key plot point is splitting the Avengers down the middle.
As for the Aether... circumstances are a bit different. Malekith clearly wasn't in control there (he had no idea what to do in regards to the portals) and it's not out of the question that he didn't know he was even dealing with an Infinity Stone. Him underusing it makes sense, because he never Read The Freaking Manual. Thanos, who is explicitly hunting down the stones, on the other hand...
I agree that maybe nerfed isn't quite the right word, but they were used so far below their potential that the heroes actually overcoming them would have been a cop-out (and them not overcoming the stones would be depressing as hell). They were nerfed more in effect than in actual in-universe power level. The moon scene is a clear representation of that. Thanos has a genocide bomb strapped to his pinky (or whichever finger it is), control of reality such that he can casually pull a Baleful Polymorph or a gigantic illusion, the ability to create controlled rifts in space (Teleport Spam, anyone?), and whatever the hell the Soul Stone is supposed to do (I would assume it has something to do with.. well, souls, so that could very easily be a One Hit Kill on its own), and he goes with... dropping rocks everywhere. And because he's downplayed to this extent, the heroes are almost able to beat him... and that would have been one hell of a cheap ending, especially after Dr. Strange's "we have one way to beat him" scene.
I don\'t remember Thor\'s explanation (about the most I recall in that regard was that \"his best friend was stabbed through the chest\", which happened at the beginning of Infinity War)
When he learns Gamora is Thanos\' daughter and hates him. He gives a small speech saying he understand, and said backstory pretty much covers the entirety of what you need to know about the plot of Thor Ragnarok to understand that movie. I distinctly remember him mentioning Odin\'s death, Hela stabbing him in the eye, his world being destroyed, and a few more details.
the most Stark says about himself and Cap are that they aren\'t on speaking terms... and the \"why\" is kind of important if a key plot point is splitting the Avengers down the middle.
It really isn\'t. The reason they split up is completely irrelevant to the plot of the movie; they could have split up for completely different reasons, and the story wouldn\'t have remotely changed. Had Civil War not been there and this movie just done a time skip, you\'d still understand the plot of the movie, even if you\'d wonder why they split up.
As for the Aether... circumstances are a bit different. Malekith clearly wasn\'t in control there (he had no idea what to do in regards to the portals) and it\'s not out of the question that he didn\'t know he was even dealing with an Infinity Stone. Him underusing it makes sense, because he never Read The Freaking Manual. Thanos, who is explicitly hunting down the stones, on the other hand...
Aside from the fact we are entering into pure speculation here, that doesn\'t change anything to the fact the Aether is actually used in a more impressive way here than it is in Thor the Dark World. And we do not have a clear idea of the restrictions of the Reality stone; I doubt it\'d allow Thanos to instantly make people pop out of existence even in the comic, because let\'s face it, why would he need the other stones to wipe out half the universe if it was the case?
Re: continuity... Okay, fair enough. Maybe I am being a bit nitpicky there.
Re: The Stones... That still doesn\'t change the fact that Thanos barely uses the other stones, or that all of the stones are used well below their hitherto shown potential (except maybe the Time Stone, but even then, that\'s because it\'s only used once and in the exact same way Strange uses it). About the only logical reason Thanos can bubble guns and other objects, but not people, though, is author fiat; people are made of matter, just like everything else. Even if that didn\'t kill them (for some reason), there\'s no reason why they couldn\'t be targeted.
He clearly can do it to people, considering what he did to Drax and Mantis when they tried to interfere on Knowhere; my guess is he didn't do it for Starlord because he wanted to have fun and decided to see if he would dare shoot Gamora, knowing he could stop it anyway (which is exactly what he does). Again, the only reason I can think of for him not incapaciting Spidey, Strange and the others are: either he respected enough to not do it right away, or he didn't think they were a threat. Alternatively, it's possible that he needed a clear view on who they were, and since they got him by surprise and were constantly moving, it was harder for him to concentrate for more complex move. But I fully admit none of these theories really are solid answers.
So you get my point, then? The stones, if not nerfed per se, were downplayed such that they didn\'t present as formidable an obstacle, which makes Thanos look bad...?
... Not really. Again, I don\'t feel like they were that downplayed, because I am not even sure they could do that much in the comics in the first place. I do admit, though, that I wish the Soul Stone had been shown doing something rather than being just another collectible.
I definitely agree on that issue with there being 18 other movies you are assumed to have watched prior. Unless you are a big Marvel movies buff, most people probably have missed at least a couple of those movies. My wife happened to have missed two Thors, two Captain Americas, a Spiderman etc. and was left scratching her head at who the hell the long haired, one armed guy is supposed to be, or why Thor's missing a hammer and an eye.
@maniahat: again, what did your wife expect from going to see the 19th movie after missing most of them in-between? You'd be equally confused if you went to see Return of the Jedi without watching Empire Strikes Back first. When my own girlfriend and my brother wanted to see Infinity War, I took time to make them a summary of all they had missed so they wouldn't be lost. That's not an issue or a flaw, that's how sequels work!
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