I sat down with TE Comic Wire Editor-in-Chief, B.K. Mullen, and TE Comic Wire writer, Ash, to discuss Marvel‘s 19th film Avengers: Infinity War. The MCU has been around for 10 years and it’s all built to this. It should go without saying that we SPOIL Infinity War.
If you have not seen Avengers: Infinity War yet, close the page and come back after seeing the film! We get into details of the story that many would say are SPOILERS.
FINAL CHANCE… IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN ‘AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR’ DO NOT READ FURTHER, UNLESS YOU DON’T CARE ABOUT SPOILERS.
Kev: At 33, there aren’t many movies that make me go to the theater at 11:30pm on a Thursday night. However, Marvel has been building to this moment for 10 years now. On May 2nd, 2018, Marvel changed the way we view movies by creating a cinematic universe like we’ve never seen before, and may never see again. At first, they were simply building to The Avengers; but Kevin Feige had his sights set much higher: Thanos. Everything we’ve seen from the Marvel Cinematic Universe—phases 1 through 3—has all led to Infinity War. I’m joined be That’s Entertainment writer/review, Ash, and TE editor-in-chief, B.K. Mullen for a small roundtable discussion about Infinity War, the MCU, and its future. Let’s start with what you guys liked about this monumental movie from Marvel.
Ash: The relationship between Scarlet Witch and Vision, those are three scenes that told a big story. Stormbreaker Thor was excellent! Bucky and Rocket are a new favorite team up of mine. Marvel should do a limited series starring those two.
BK: Agreed on all those relationships. Scarlett Witch and Vision’s relationship was masterfully done.
I’d also love to see more of Bucky in every-day Wakanda farmer life. Cap’s overall Nomad look and silent attitude; he seemed to only speak when necessary. All the settings and the overall cinematography, aside from the shaky camera fights. I thought the use of each character was good for their purpose.
“I loved the relationship with Wanda and Vision. They were two characters whom we’ve spent very little time with, that I truly could care less about and Infinity War made me care.” ~Kev
K: I do wish we had more screen time with their story—I’m not sure how you could pare down the rest of the movie, but I would have loved for that to be more of a focal point (to contrast Thanos).
As for the “goofy” relationship—I prefer more of Thor and Rocket. Their relationship, while mainly grounded in humor, is actually really sweet.
BK: The Gamora/Thanos relationship—perfectly done.
K: After my first viewing, I was in the same boat… loved it. After a second viewing, I feel like it was forced—how am I supposed to believe in that relationship with so little time spent on it? That relationship could have been sprinkled through to us either of The Avengers movies; even in the Guardians movies.
A: I had a feeling these were going to happen, and they were great—Red Skull cameo! That dude never dies.
K: I loved seeing Red Skull—I’ve been a fan since the original Civil War storyline in the comics. Though it’s highly unlikely, I’d love to see another meeting between Captain America and Red Skull.
BK: Red Skull cameo was dope, but maybe a flashback to him holding the tesseract would have been fitting for the average viewer. Oh, and the Nomad entrance was fucking perfect. It was classic spy-movie thriller style and I jumped up and down in my seat when it happened.
“Also, I knew we’d get a Sam Jackson cameo! Name me one other actor that has built his career off the word “motherfucker”?” ~Ash
K: While I’m not surprised we got a Fury cameo, I’m a little surprised it was in the post-credits scene. That being said, it was the perfect spot for it.
What were some of the things you guys didn’t like about the film?
BK: As mentioned earlier, the shaky camera fight scenes.
A: Agreed! Fast edit fighting/shaky camera shots made it hard to see the battles.
BK: I thought Doctor Strange was one toe over the “I’m a calculated asshole” line and I could have done without the Rocket/Thor emotional conversation.
K: That was one of my favorite scenes!
BK: I think it would have made more sense for it to be with Groot/Thor; they established Thor can speak Groot.
K: I think that would have made it more comedic; regardless of the emotion Hemsworth brought to that scene. Rocket has proven to be a great emotional character in Guardians 2. I don’t know… this scene solidified my need for more of those two!
BK: Also, we all know that while it was in his possession, Doctor Strange could have used the time stone to fix everything!
K: I feel like we could have an entire discussion on Doctor Strange, the time stone, and time travel within the MCU—both good and bad!
Ash, what about you? Any other dislikes?
A: Balance. Joss was great at giving all characters equal screen time, it was lost in this film.
K: Really? I actually thought they did a pretty good job; considering how many characters they had to play with.
A: I think some characters just got lost in the mix. Age of Ultron and Civil War were better balanced. Oh, and Cap’s doubles shields? Awful.
“That seems like a play at merchandising.” ~Kev
K: I’m definitely indifferent about those shields. My main issue with this film was how there weren’t any major deaths that mattered—the biggest being Gamora… maybe.
BK: Gamora isn’t really dead in my opinion and yeah, like Nerdist News points out: the only ones who died are characters that were introduced in Phase 2/3. We still have the core Avengers.
A: Death of Scarlet Witch was a major player off the board. They still haven’t shown her reality warping powers.
K: That’s my issue—save for Loki, Heimdall, and Gamora (who, in my opinion should stay dead), we didn’t have any real deaths. They all died because of the finger snap. In a world with announced sequels to heroes who “died”, it’s hard to believe that the snap won’t be undone. This film should have ended with a MAJOR death—Cap or Stark.
BK: I totally saw either Cap or Stark dying because they are the two heavy hitters and it needed to be done.
K: I feel like Tony should have died—it makes sense that he didn’t… he started all of this, so he should go out in 4; but there was an opening for it. There was also a great opportunity for THANOS to BEAT Cap to death at the end. A better writer than me could have made that happen; but we definitely would need to have those boys reconcile beforehand.
BK: I’m slightly underwhelmed by the end, but I totally understand it from a writing and cliffhanger perspective.
K: Oh, I actually LOVED the ending. It was very Empire Strikes Back.
A: You know shit is real when Thanos smiles!
K: The only thing that would have made it better is a death that mattered.
“Well hold on—Spidey is a BIG DEAL death to Stark.” ~B.K.
K: That is the only emotional death, despite it not having any real stakes—he fades away. Everyone knows he’s coming back. I would imagine even Tony thinks this can be fixed.
BK: We all know as the audience, but what we don’t know is how hardcore Stark will go because he doesn’t know that it can be fixed. Revenge is going to be a huge aspect of how Tony thinks and acts.
A: Oh yeah. “Revenge of the Avengers” is going to be a big plot point. “Revengers”!
K: I think it’s just hard to buy into it, even from Stark’s POV, when we know he’ll be back. I’m not sure I have a better way, and like I said, Spidey’s “death” was the only post finger snap death that held any emotion. That’s all on Tom Holland though. I do think Tony will be more driven to find a way to bring him back vs exact revenge.
BK: Maybe a little of both, since all he’s acting on is hope.
A: PS—Aunt May is going to be PISSED! What are your thoughts/expectations for Avengers 4?
BK: I think in 4 we’re going to see a big play on the parenting and life choices conversation between Thanos and Hawkeye. Both have been heavily touted with the isolation and family aspect. Also, I think Hawkeye will get some Stark Tech to even the odds a bit.
“Who doesn’t have Stark tech these days?” ~Kev
K: What I would want to see in 4 is that the Avengers somehow bring in the Fantastic Four and/or the X-Men to help restore everything. With filming complete and the deal not in place, it’s doubtful we’ll see this—we’ll likely get Cap and Stark (maybe Thor?) sacrifice themselves to save those who were lost due to Thanos.
A: Speaking of Stark tech; Stark gets impaled, yet magic shaving cream on the belly makes it all better? In the next movie I see less Hawkeye more Captain Marvel. We are about to open a cosmic can of whoop-ass!
BK: As much as I’m excited for the Captain Marvel origin movie, I’m way more excited for the 20+ years of experience Captain Marvel vs Thanos.
K: YO. Theory about Captain Marvel… what if it takes place in the 90s, but with a Captain Marvel from 2018? I assume time travel is going to play a factor to restore the universe in 4.
A: Time Gem is going to bring all of this full circle, so I wouldn’t be surprised.
BK: If 4 is going to bring in more of the Universe, I want it to be Time Gem related. So for instance, Cable, Original X-Men, Michael Douglass era Ant-Man and a few other throwbacks.
K: How do you think Ant Man and The Wasp will address Infinity War?
BK: I think Wasp will watch Ant-Man mysteriously fade into dust in the post-credits scene.
K: SHIT SON. That’s so good. I didn’t even think that movie would take place before Infinity War! Let’s talk about phase 4.
BK: I think we’ll see a completely different Guardians lineup in Guardians 3. Maybe Bucky joins them for a stint and a few others—after losing Gamora and possibly Drax/Groot.
“I think Bucky will take over for Cap.” ~Kev
K: But I would love for Thor to hop on Guardians. I hope Hulk gets to stick around too; he’d also be good fit on the Guardians team.
BK: I think if Bucky takes over for Cap, that it will be middle/late Phase 4. And yes Thor with guardians would be sick!
A: I’d prefer it to be light on the Hulk this time around, but Bucky with the classic Cap shield would be great.
K: I could also see Shuri taking up the Iron Woman mantle.
BK: I think we’ll see her for sure in an Iron Woman type role, but I don’t know if we’ll see it anytime soon. There’s no relationship between her and Stark… how does she get in?
K: We have to see them together in 4! I need to see her school him in tech!
BK: I think now that her little lab is a bit destroyed, she’ll pull out a suit of her own at some point.
K: I’m taking a step back to Avengers 4: let’s assume all the heroes who disappeared (so still no Loki, Heimdall, and Gamora) come back—do any of them die for real?
A: Vision may stay gone. Cap & Stark will exit.
K: I think Drax, as much as I love him, is a good candidate to die for real in the next one.
BK: Vision is definitely gone in the current incarnation. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a modified Iron Man suit that can download all his personalities into one. Drax will definitely die in 4.
K: I would love for RDJ to stay on board as AI for the suit!
A: Awww Stark sacrifices himself for Spidey, then becomes the AI for Spidey’s suit.
“Better idea for Drax: he accomplishes killing Thanos…” ~B.K.
BK: … via a fastball special from Hulk in the final moments. Then the final scene of 4 is him in a similarly peaceful situation with a smile on his face ala Thanos at the end of Infinity War.
K: I like it! Assuming the Fox properties will be part of Phase 4. How? Reboot? Or merged over?
BK: Reboots for sure. Reboot X-Men, Fantastic 4, Ghost Rider, all of them.
A: Fox properties will double down on Spidey solo flick, while X-Men will make a cameo appearance in the final battle of 4.
K: Remember, there’s already a Ghost Rider in the MCU! He was on Agents of Shield! They got him back with Punisher. I agree about the rest; as much as I would love to see MY X-Men merged into the MCU (X-Men reignited my love of super heroes), it would be too hard to manage those timelines. They’ll reboot those properties in very organic ways. I would swap out X-Men cameo in Avengers 4 with the Fantastic Four though.
Is there anything you would have done differently in Infinity War?
BK: I think I would have toned down Doctor Strange’s attitude and seen a little more drama from Starlord. Also, a much more meaningful death at the end. I hope to see more Bucky/Thor/Rocket in the next one as well.
K: I was fine with Strange—liked him more in this flick than his solo; but I agree on the other two points. Where does this rank amongst the rest of the MCU?
A: I’d place Infinity War in the Top 3 MCU films.
BK: I think it ranks in the top 5, but I need to watch it a few more times to really work it out.
“That’s very high praise! I still need to work it out and rewatch some of the Phase 2 and 3 movies,” ~Kev
K: But if I’m talking strictly Avengers movies (which I’m including Civil War in), I’d put it in my number 2 slot. I was not very fond of Age of Ultron and Civil War, while good, didn’t have a chance against its comic book counterpart.
A: Who wants to field a guess on the title of 4? “Avengers Strike Back”
BK: “Avengers: Age of Heroes”
K: “Avengers: Rise of Hawkeye”
BK: Or they’ll go with the totally phoned in: “Avengers Assemble”
A: “Avengers 4: the Search for More Money”
K: “Avengers: Infinity Gauntlet” seems too on the nose. “The New Avengers” could be an option, but that’s more than likely a POST Avengers 4 title. Hmm… what about “Avengers: Disassembled”?
Alright; thanks for hanging out and talking Infinity Wars with me!
And now, a word from Garrett…
Fellow podcaster and frequent That’s Entertainment film reviewer, Garrett Smith, also had some things to say about Infinity War. You can also listen to Garrett discuss the movie on his podcast, I Like to Movie Movie.
I remain unconvinced that movies are the right format for long-form, interconnected storytelling.
Certainly enjoyable, but has a variety of storytelling problems and a general sense of “I’m looking at nothing right now” throughout. Mostly unremarkable fight scenes, very few emotional arcs that work within the context of this movie itself, and a severe lack of stakes. It’s difficult to really get into any of these issues (which are of course my issues with the film, not trying to be salty here) without delving into spoilers, and I’d rather save that for a larger discussion down the road.
MVP’s are Thor and Starlord here. Starlord has the only emotional arc in the movie that made sense to me, and thus he ended up grounding a lot of the movie in my opinion. Whenever it revolved around him and his portion of the story, the movie was generally working for me. And while Thor’s portion of the movie is sort of unnecessary, it’s so Thor-y it’s just a blast. With the rest of it feeling a little shallow and muddled to me, I was grateful for all the joyously bizarre, heavy metal Thor moments throughout.
Regardless of my issues with the movie itself, it represents a larger problem to me, that of movies and TV coming closer and closer to being the same format. I don’t think they are the same format, capable of delivering a different kind of emotional impact based on their length and therefor their focus of story, and I’m afraid that as they get closer together, the prospect of theatrical exhibition lasting on into the future gets dimmer.
I sincerely don’t hate these movies, I just am growing both weary and wary of them.
Avengers: Infinity War rating: ★★★☆☆
Kev is the host of the podcast, Everything is Awesome and is the co-host of The Zombcast. He is the former host of the podcasts Happy Hour with Steel Tip, Creepcast, Happy Hour, 30 Minute Outsider, The Muff Squad, That's Entertainment, 215th Entertainment Presents: Sounds of Philly, Academic Nerds, and OuaT: The Unofficial Once Upon a Time Podcast.
Kev also writes for Dark Knight News and is working on a science fiction series.
Most of all, Kev is a dad to two wonderful children.