Avengers: Infinity War is the greatest superhero film of all time – there is no doubt about it. And if you think that it isn’t then adolescent Groot has something to say about that – “I am Groot!” Sorry for that foul language but Groot has a point.
Take a superhero film that combines everything that is great about the genre and then multiply it, and that is Infinity War. It is action-packed, it is emotional, it is funny and it has something for everyone.
It is a pinnacle of filmmaking and cinema going in so many ways – it is the climax of a decade of films and the crowning moment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But it is also impressive in that it takes CGI effects to another level, it has encouraged millions to see it on the big screen and it has an ensemble cast that any Hollywood studio would kill for.
There are many, many reasons why Infinity War is the greatest superhero film of all time (imagine the scene where Doctor Strange creates dozens of multiple versions of himself – that’s the kind of number we’re talking about). This list looks at just a few of those reasons. And as with any appearance by Thor, you can expect lightning to appear – please expect spoilers to appear throughout this article.
1. A complex and interesting villain
In spite of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s many lauded aspects, it is no secret that it has suffered from a bit of a villain problem (and when we say ‘bit,’ we’re being polite). Previous villains have had a mix of issues, from being pretty forgettable to having a complete lack of backstory. But most of all Marvel has made its villains somewhat disposable – and everyone knows you want your villains to be well…non-disposable.
Thanos was different from the start. Firstly the audience was introduced to him and teased with his appearance throughout a number of films, which allowed an arc and backstory to be built up. By the time Infinity War rolled around, Thanos was already a fully formed character who the audience was eagerly awaiting to see in action. But what is it about Thanos that makes him so compelling?
Thanos is a three dimensional villain. On the one hand there is no doubt that he has all the necessary characteristics to merit being called evil – he is sociopathic, unrelenting and violent. But on the other hand, he is deeply wise, reflective and intelligent. He may even at times have the audience’s sympathy.
When he has to make a personal sacrifice, he is soulful, introspective and melancholy. And even though he has the chance to kill the Avengers multiple times, he doesn’t. This may be down to simple arrogance – he doesn’t believe that anyone has the power to stop him. Yet it adds to his complexity and intrigue, Thanos doesn’t just like destruction for destruction’s sake.
In fact Thanos may even believe that he is not the villain of the piece .After all he has absolute belief in his convictions. He honestly feels that killing half of a planet is for the greater good. There ain’t nothing like a villain with his own deep rooted philosophy.
On Thanos, the Russos have said,
“When villains have a code that you can respect because they are wise and determined to adhere to their philosophical principle, it makes them more interesting. His means for achieving it are psychotic. He wants to save the universe. The plan that he has is insane. But it makes for complicated viewing.”
Thanos is not only the greatest threat that the Avengers have ever faced, but possibly the greatest Marvel villain of all time.
2. It lived up to its hype
Many films are eagerly awaited, especially big blockbusters, and film studios make the most of this anticipation with a carefully planned campaign of teasers, trailers and marketing. With Infinity War, this hype reached fever pitch and the expectations surrounding it were sky high.
Audiences had been waiting for Infinity War for years and with Marvel putting out a couple of real crowd pleasers in the prior months in the form of Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther, there were high hopes that Marvel was about to knock it out of the park with its biggest film yet.
In many cases, an overhyped film becomes just that – overhyped. And then it is ultimately disappointing. But as the press and review embargos were lifted, word started to filter through – Infinity War was really, really good and audiences were going to love it.
And then as many flocked to midnight screenings and release weekend, it was confirmed – Infinity War lived up to its hype. An impressive feat for any film but with the immense pressure and scrutiny that Infinity War was under, it is all the more admirable.
3. Epic set pieces and action
When you go to see a superhero film, you pretty much expect action as a prerequisite. And in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, action and set pieces are something that you can guarantee – you could happily wager your entire savings on there being an epic showdown at some point. But not all action scenes are created equal and set pieces can often feel overly frenzied or disjointed. However, this is certainly not the case in Infinity War.
Critics of Infinity War have argued that predominantly the film is only a series of elaborate set pieces. But the truth is, when they look this good who cares?! Action is where Infinity War outshines all other superhero films. For a start, the CGI is possibly the best CGI ever seen. Characters made entirely of CGI, for example Thanos, look incredibly realistic and seeing them complete complicated fight sequences is awesome.
Aside from that, each set piece is brilliant – from Hulk battling Thanos on a spaceship, to the armies gathering together in Wakanda, to the epic Battle of Titan. They all bring amazing visuals and draws for the audience.
Audiences may have thought that Civil War’s airport battle was the best and biggest that the Marvel Cinematic Universe could bring to life but Infinity War blows that out of the water.
4. It is a film for the fans
When Thor and Captain America meet on the battlefield in Wakanda, they compare facial hair, “New haircut?” Notice you’ve copied my beard.” This is just one example of an interaction between characters that fans asked for and got. Not only that, but there are in jokes, nods to the comic books and Easter eggs aplenty – Infinity War is not only the ultimate superhero film but it is also the ultimate fan film – bringing together fans’ favourite characters, fan theories and overall giving fans a film that they can thoroughly enjoy and champion.
Infinity War has been called a love letter to the fans. Even after its release, directors Joe and Anthony Russo have continued to interact with fans, answering their questions, offering hints and giving fascinating insights into the film. The Russos also made sure to make the overall experience of Infinity War, from the beginning of the marketing campaign to the day of release, an experience that catered to the fans.
They filmed separate scenes for the trailers in order not to give away too much of the film, they have refused to reveal the title of Avengers 4 because it would ruin aspects of Infinity War and they wrote a public letter asking for everyone to keep spoilers to themselves coming up with the hashtag #thanosdemandsyoursilence.
Films can often miss the mark with diehard fans because they try to meet the needs of a mass audience, forgetting fundamental characteristics of characters or changing canon. Infinity War refuses to do this and the result is an epic fan experience.
And on a quick side note, can we take a moment please to appreciate this brilliant one liner from Thanos, which was specifically included for the fans. In the scene where Gamora and Thanos are in the throne room, Gamora tells Thanos that she always hated the throne to which Thanos replies “So I’ve been told.” Fans frequently complained about Thanos’ many appearances where he is simply sat on his throne and this line is a nod to the fans.