Are we ready to talk about this yet? If you've seen it, let's do. If not, GO AWAY UNTIL YOU'VE SEEN THE MOVIE!

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I saw it last night (Thursday, April 26) and I'm still jazzed. Holy moley, guacamole, what a movie!

How can you pack so many characters into a movie and still give most of them something memorable to do or say? I guess it helps if you've got 10 years of movies behind you fleshing out these characters so that we "know" them as people and a line here or there is all you need. This felt so much like a comic book crossover that I suddenly felt sorry for MCU fans who didn't know they could have gotten these feels already from various comics over the years. Those guys have really missed out!

There is so much cool stuff to talk about, but I'm too jazzed to think coherently. I'll just start making lists, and hope you guys will add what I've forgotten:

COMICS HOMAGES

  • Cap punching Thanos in the face: Happened in "Infinity Gauntlet," and Thanos killed him for it. Also, reminiscent of Cap punching Hitler on the cover of Captain America Comics #1.
  • Nebula held in a living death: "Infinity Gauntlet" again, only in the comics it seemed mystical, whereas this seemed technological.
  • Hulk crashing through Dr. Strange's skylight to warn "Thanos is coming!": "Infinity Gauntlet" again, only it was the SIlver Surfer.
  • Thanos snapping his fingers to kill half the universe: Yep, "Infinity Gauntlet."
  • Thor floating through space and rescued: This might be a stretch, but something similar happened in the Galactus story by Lee/Kirby. I remember a frost-encrusted Thunder God floating around, and rescued by, I think, the Wanderers (previous victims of Galactus gathered in a fleet of refugee ships).
  • Thor being awakened and leaping off the table: Captain America in Avengers #4. Now that I've said it, I defy you to un-think it.
  • Giant triangle-shape troops ships crashing to Earth: Reminds me of something, but can't put my finger on it. The SkySpears in "Inhumanity"? No, no it's something else. Damn Inhumans are distracting me.
  • Heroes fight over misunderstanding: Iron Man & Spider-Man are attacked by the Guardians on Titan. Both groups think the other is working for Thanos. They fight, but come to an understanding before permanent damage is done, then team up. This is basically the Marvel formula for team-ups for 60 years! (Added 4/28)
  • Thanos becomes a farmer: Yep, this happened at the end of Infinity Gauntlet. After a sound defeat and rejection by Death, Thanos faked his death to the Avengers and retired to an uninhabited planet to re-consider his life choices and philosophies. (Added 4/28)

Agh! There are more, because I remember seeing more! Can't remember them at this mornent.

GREAT LINES

  • Proxima Midnight to Scarlet Witch: "You're going to die alone." Black Widow (with Okoye) "Problem is, she's not alone."
  • Thor, gravely: "Good luck, morons."
  • Weird baby Gamora vision: "What did it cost?" Thanos: "Everything."
  • Rocket: "And if you lose?" Thor: "What else have I to lose?"
  • Thor again: "More power, rabbit!"
  • Iron Man: "Next time you throw a moon at me, I'm gonna be really pissed!"
  • SedDef Ross: "You think you can just show up and all is forgiven?" Cap: "I'm not asking for forgiveness. And I'm long past asking for permission." (Maybe my favorite line. Of course, I love me some Captain America.)
  • Drax: "Ho, ho! Quill is mocking the man-god!" (The whole exchange is hilarious, and that's not even the best line. It's just the shortest.)
  • Spider-Man: "I'm sorry." (Only Peter Parker would apologize for dying.)
  • Ross: "I seem to remember your name on those accords." Rhodey: "And I paid for it."
  • Quill: "I'll ask you one time: Where is Gamora?" Iron Man: "I'll do you one better: Who is Gamora?" Drax: "I'll do YOU one better: WHY is Gamora?"
  • Rocket: "You speak Groot?" Thor: "I learned it in school on Asgard. It was an elective."
  • Spider-Man: "Hi, I'm Peter Parker." Dr. Strange: "I am Dr. Strange." Spider-Man: "Oh, we're using our made-up names? In that case, I'm Spider-Man."
  • Groot: "I am Groot." Cap: "I am Steve Rogers."
  • Black Panther: "... and get this man a shield!"
  • Okoye: "When you said you were going to open Wakanda to the world, this isn't what I expected." Black Panther: "What did you expect?" Okoye: "The Olympics. Maybe a Starbucks."'
  • Thor: "We're Earth's mightiest heroes." Mantis: "Like Kevin Bacon?"
  • Cap to Thor: "I see you got a haircut." Thor: "And you have copied my beard."
  • Shuri to Banner: "There are too many connections for that. Why didn't you (techno-babble)?" Banner: "Because ... we didn't think of that."
  • Eitri, about Thanos: "I thought if I did what he wanted, he'd leave them (the other dwarves) alone. He killed them anyway."
  • Star-Lord: "Is Footloose still the greatest movie in history?" Spider-Man: "Dude, it was never the greatest movie in history."
  • Banner, when Thor arrives: "You guys are so dead!"

Again, there are more, but that's what I remember right now.

THINGS I WANT TO MENTION

  • When starting the forge on Nidavellir, Thor swung Rocket's pod around, threw it and held on to be pulled along .... just like he used to do with Mjolnir.
  • Nidavellir is the actual home of the dwarves in Norse mythology. It's one of the nine worlds.
  • How cool is it that Peter Dinklage was the tallest character in the scenes he was in?
  • My first thought when I saw Dinklage was "Ulik?" But he was Eitri, who forged Mjolnir in both Norse myth and Marvel Comics.
  • I was certain from what I'd seen in the credits that Thor would be wielding Jarnbjorn, his axe. Color me surprised when they named it Stormbreaker, which was Beta-Ray Bill's weapon.
  • I really want to know the words T'Challa was call-and-responsing to his troops with. It sounded something like "In Bombay." But I'd like to know both the actual words, and the translation.
  • I also want to know how to say "Wakanda Forever" in Wakandan. THEY should be saying it in Wakandan.
  • I read somewhere that "Wakandan" is actually an IRL South African dialect whose name I just forgot. It's a real language. Some of the Black Panther cast members said it was hard work learning to pronounce it correctly.
  • Remember how some people would argue that Avengers was "really a Hulk movie" or "really an Iron Man movie" or whatever? They was because Avengers was just a great ensemble movie where everybody had some cool beats and everyone (except Thor) had a character arc of some kind. So if you were a Hulk fan, you thought it was a Hulk movie, and if you were an Iron Man fan, you could argue it was an Iron Man movie, and so forth. Infinity War is like that. A great ensemble movie where just about everybody had a moment, but they still took time to focus on a few characters:

          -- This was a Thanos movie. Origin, motivations, complete story arc, the works.

          -- This was an Iron Man movie. He was there start to finish, had a great many terrific lines, and demonstrated how this character has grown from a selfish jerk to a leader, father figure, mentor and selfless hero. And we got to see some really cool Iron Man fighting gadgets that the comics are lax in not having thought of first. OF COURSE he'd have all kinds of Transformer-like stuff he could swap around in combat. So should Cyborg, which is my complaint with that character, in that he always goes into a combat with a single weapon (the sound thingie).

         -- This was a Black Panther movie. A lot of it takes place in Wakanda, and most of the cast shows up, from Okoye to M'Baku. And no other place on Earth could have stood up to Thanos for five minutes.

  • I didn't think anyone but Thor could go toe-to-toe with Thanos for more than a minute or two. But Iron Man held his own for quite a while. Respect.
  • Those multi-armed, teeth-faced critters that are Thanos' shock troops are straight out of the comics. Ugly, frightening, nasty.
  • Black Widow didn't have a big emotional scene, but she still had a cool fight scene.
  • Shuri's fight scene was short -- she had no chance against Corvus Glaive -- but she did get to show that she was the smartest person in the MCU.
  • Captain America didn't have an arc and only a few good lines. But he got the biggest applause in my theater when he appeared (with Falcon and Black Widow) to save Vison and Scarlet Witch. (There were at least three times when the audience spontaneously broke into huge applause, and some minor ones.) He is the beating heart of the Avengers, and always has been.
  • Holy @#$%! The wraith-like guardian of the Soul Stone was the RED SKULL! That answers a question I didn't think needed answering from Captain America: The First Avenger. Did I already say holy @#$%?'
  • I thought as I watched the cool fight between Proxima Midnight, Black Widow and Okoye that this was the superhero movie equivalent of passing the Bechdel Test. I loved how Scarlet Witch ended it with a gesture, showing just how powerful she was.
  • When Proxima Midnight and Cull Obsidian showed up in Wakanda, my first thought was "Where is the third one?" That would be Corvus Glaive, and what do you know ... he was in play, at the capital, waiting for Scarlet Witch to leave -- and leave Vision undefended. The frontal attack was just a distraction. It was, of course, a plan that worked. The fourth general, Ebony Maw, was already dead at that point.
  • In reference to Ebony Maw, Proxima Midnight said "you will pay for his death." In the comics, they were husband and wife. I assume they are here, but it wasn't important enough to take time to mention. Except by implication, I guess.
  • In the comics, Thanos had six generals. I'm glad they left out Black Swan and whoever the other one was. I think they did a good job with the four we had; if you were paying attention they were distinctive enough in visuals and powers to grasp who each was, and if not, it was NBD. Two more would have been overwhelming. That is to say, ahem, overkill.
  • The Russos took time out of this movie, which raced forward at pell-mell speed, to give Thor an eye. I am so glad they did, because the eye patch makes him look like not-Thor and was distracting. And he's a god! Whoever heard of a god with a permanent injury? I hope they understand this in the comics, where they've got Thor running around with a fake arm. Come on, dudes, Winter Soldier, Yo-Yo and Misty Knight got there first. Thor doesn't have a prosthesis, period. Fix it.
  • My wife thought Proxima Midnight had the coolest look in the whole movie. She said it reminded her of Buffalo Woman.
  • Thanos saying "I hope they remember you" may mean things are grim for Stark in Avengers 4 -- this 10-year arc may begin and end with Iron Man.
  • "No resurrections this time." It's hard to believe they'd put those words in Thanos' mouth and then resurrect Loki. Is Tom Hiddleston history no matter what?
  • Is the Hulk afraid of Thanos? My wife compared it to performance anxiety.
  • Wasn't the Hulk seen charging into battle with the Wakandans in the trailer? If so, and I'm not misremembering, then we might see that scene a second time in Avengers 4 with Hulk instead of the Hulkbuster armor.
  • Wow, Thor cutting loose against Thanos' troops was AWESOME. And he almost took out the big man single-handedly. (If he had done a head shot, like Thanos suggested, we would have had a much different ending!)
  • Since I was little, and read Avengers #5 (where Thor basically tells everyone to go home, because only he can survive in the Lava Men's realm), I always knew the big guy was holding back -- or rather, that writers were writing him weaker than he was so the others could shine. Sometimes the Li'l Cap'n would wonder why the Thunderer even needed the other Avengers. So any time Thor really cuts loose, my inner 10-year-old does a dance.
  • It is mentioned that Thanos did a number on Xandar to get the power stone. They don't even bother to show it. No problem: We can imagine how long John C. Reilly would last against Thanos.
  • I thought the FX on Corvus Glaive were fantastic. Instead of looking like an actor with a rubber thing on his head -- you know, like ALL the aliens on Star Trek: The Next Generation -- it really looked like his face moving and talking.
  • It was kinda cool to have Banner through almost the whole movie, without the monosyllabic green guy. Mark Ruffalo is a welcome presence in any movie.

THAT ENDING

  • I bet every single person reading this has already figured out how they're going to get out of that ending. Dr. Strange looked into the future for a way to beat Thanos. He found one way. When he offered up the Time Stone, he told Stark "This is the only way." And it required Iron Man to live. And Strange was looking mighty intent when Thanos put the Time Gem on his glove. So put that all together and you can piece together the plan yourself.
  • They almost had me when they killed Loki and Heimdall. I could believe they might kill those guys. But killing Gamora gave the game away. No way they're doing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (which they are) without Gamora. Then they started offing headliners with upcoming movies like Dr. Strange and Spider-Man, and there's no way this ending stands beyond Avengers 4.
  • Ant-Man and Wasp is coming up in fall. It's probably already finished filming. Did they film it with these events in mind? That ending sure would be hard to keep secret on TWO movie sets. Possibly they'll just set the movie slightly before or during the events of this movie and avoid the problem. Maybe one or both of the title heroes will turn to dust in an end-credits scene.
  • The only other Marvel movie before Avengers 4 is Captain Marvel, and it's set in the '90s.
  • Speaking of Captain Marvel, that's whose symbol it was on Nick Fury's communicator in the credits scene. OF COURSE Nick Fury had an end-of-the-world, Avengers-fail plan. His Plan B, evidently, was Captain Marvel. Kevin Feige is on record that she's the most powerful hero they've introduced. Mightier than Thor? That's pretty damn mighty!
  • Some have noted that Fury's communicator looks like a beeper. Well, if Captain Marvel has been off-Earth since the '90s, that's how you'd call her.
  • Just for grins, let's list who is (temporarily) dead: Nick Fury, Maria Hill, Loki, Heimdall, Star-Lord, Drax, Mantis, Gamora, Groot, Scarlet Witch, Dr. Strange, Spider-Man, White Wolf, Black Panther, Falcon, Vision. Did I leave anyone out?
  • Who isn't dead: The original six Avengers (well, we don't know about Hawkeye, under house arrest, but I'm betting the original six set things to right). Rocket. M'Baku, Shuri and Okoye. Valkyrie. Wong and Mordo (probably). Ant-Man (although he could turn to dust at the end of Ant-Man and Wasp) and Wasp (ditto). Nebula. War Machine. We don't see the fates of Korg and Miek, who were on the Asgardian ship. Who'd I miss?
  • One question: Did Thanos just kill half the universe, or did he make the dead NEVER EXIST? If the former, Avengers 4 will see our remaining heroes frantically filling in missing spots (who is in charge of Wakanda?) and trying to figure out what Strange's plan is. If the latter, we're in Flashpoint territory, where history is altered, and nobody remembers the missing heroes since they never existed. Setting up that world, and then presumably upending it and returning the status quo would be some ambitious filmmaking. Can they go that big in 2.5 hours? Feige likes to go big, and it would give him the option of returning some dead characters (at least temporarily), since an altered history might mean that Kaecilius, Killmonger, Ronan, Ego, etc. were never defeated and killed. Would Cap's World War II adventures have ended differently without Bucky? It might be a pretty terrible cosmos. But it might make for an incomprehensible movie.

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The language the Wakandans speak is Xhosa, a South African language with 'clicks' in it.

It is the language of Nelson Mandela and of Desmond Tutu's group. One of the "hardest languages in the world" to learn, apparently...

Cap's resurrection in Avengers #4 was totally at the top of my mind when I saw the Thor scene.

I didn't realise the film followed the Infinity Gauntlet series so closely.  I had completely written off that storyline in the comics as overblown hyper-marketed 90s crapola, without ever reading it.  Is it worth a look at all?  I presume the film is done better in any case?

Captain America didn't have an arc and only a few good lines. But he got the biggest applause in my theater when he appeared (with Falcon and Black Widow) to save Vison and Scarlet Witch. (There were at least three times when the audience spontaneously broke into huge applause, and some minor ones.) He is the beating heart of the Avengers, and always has been.

For just a second, I sooooo hoped that dark figure in the shadows was Daredevil, even though it was highly improbable.  That would have made me cheer!

Captain America was a slight bad note for me.  This was the movie where the MCU finally totally embraced its 'comicbookness'.  Brightly coloured heroes from many types of stories teaming up in a giant hyper-marketed crossover to face an unimaginable threat to ALL REALITY! (Sometimes done badly in the comics, but Feige and co did it really well here!)  But Cap, or should I say Chris Evans, was the only one pulling against this.  Instead of being a brightly coloured hero from the comicbooks with blond hair and a blue outfit, if not an actual mask and shield, we got a dark-haired chap with a dark beard and a very dark combat outfit.  It looks like Evans is embarrassed to be playing a comicbook character in a comicbook movie.  And as such that's an intrusion from the world outside the movies. (Having said that, though, I can see why this character would identify himself to Groot as "Steve Rogers" rather than Captain America.  That's part of his journey, maybe.)

Cap is an inherently troubling character anyway.  Yes, he's a good man who has realised that his ideas of morality and responsibility are above that of the representatives of 'we the people', but that leads down a dangerous path when you think about it. There's a moral civic conundrum at Cap's heart! Before the MCU it was a common argument that Captain America was too simplistic a character for a modern movie, but this is where they have located his complexity, even if Cap himself claims here to be 'beyond worrying about it' or somesuch.

Good call on Hulk's performance anxiety.  Watching the movie I just thought it just another wrinkle in the Banner/Hulk relationship, but yes, Thanos beat Hulk pretty comprehensively in the opening scene.  In any case, it is clever of the movie-makers to tap into the ever-evolving aspect of Hulk's relationship to Banner and how he manifests himself.

As I say, I shied away from anything with Thanos in it in the 90s, perceiving Spider-Clone era marketing over storytelling hallowness to the whole thing (rightly or wrongly on my part.) And I have my reservations about the implications of the final scene.  Many deaths of 'important characters - not a dream! etc - played for maximum pathos, but which as you point out, have to be reversed in the follow-up movie.  The whole idea of reality itself being manipulated.  This often signifies much that I don't like in superhero stories and such stories can suffer when the stakes are raised so high that they collapse altogether.

But the MCU has rarely put a foot wrong in my estimation, and I'll reserve my judgement until I see what they do with this.  Unlike in the comicbooks, these actors are subject to time and aging and don't have to endure 100s of stories all being told about them, so this is just one story in their lives radically unlike anything else they've experienced.  Also some of them are perhaps getting a little old for this superheroing business...

Good observations as usual, Figs!

The language the Wakandans speak is Xhosa, a South African language with 'clicks' in it.

Thanks! I knew I'd read that somewhere -- probably more than once in the lead-up to Black Panther.

The only nitpick I have is that Xhosa comes from South Africa, whereas Wakanda is situated on the north side of Lake Tanganyika (Lake Victoria). That's a pretty fur piece from South Africa. It's like a bunch of Chickasaw speaking Mohawk. Well, what the heck, maybe some Xhosa people migrated north at some point. Whatever.

Cap's resurrection in Avengers #4 was totally at the top of my mind when I saw the Thor scene.

Glad to see it wasn't just me!

I didn't realise the film followed the Infinity Gauntlet series so closely.  I had completely written off that storyline in the comics as overblown hyper-marketed '90s crapola, without ever reading it.  Is it worth a look at all?  I presume the film is done better in any case?

Well, there are some homages (I just added two more). But the reason I'm pointing them out is because the movie doesn't follow the comic book closely. There are some big differences such as:

  • Thanos' motivation in Infinity Gauntlet (1991) is to impress his would-be girlfriend, Death. This is the personification of Death, generally depicted as an unspeaking skeleton in a purple robe, a robe which somehow displays womanly curves. His motivation in the movie is different -- and more accessible.
  • Death, as a major character, is absent from the movie. Since a great deal of the action in the comics takes place on a temple dedicated to Death floating in space, and Death's actions (or non-actions) affect Thanos' decisions, we are diverging mightily here.
  • The Guardians of the Galaxy aren't in Infinity Gauntlet, because they hadn't been invented yet. (At that time, the only GotG were the ones in the future fighting the Badoon.) Of the present-day Guardians, only Drax was a player in Infinity Gauntlet, and this was before he was a moron (and he was immensely powerful).
  • In addition to Drax, other major players included Silver Surfer and Adam Warlock. Neither of those two are in the movie.

It's also worth noting that Thanos snaps his fingers at the end of Infinity War, whereas in Infinity Gauntlet, a six-issue miniseries, he does so in the first issue. So the next movie will likely have some elements of Infinity Gauntlet #2-6. The movie can only follow the comics VERY loosely, for the reasons outlined above.

There's more, but I think we can still say it's the same story, only one that was told in a parallel universe or something. I think it's worth reading, but then, I would, wouldn't I? Infinity Gauntlet was written by Starlin and drawn by George Perez and a young Ron Lim, if that helps.

I think it's also safe to say that Starlin wasn't influenced by "overblown hyper-marketed '90s crapola," as you put it. I hated that stuff, too, but I don't think it applies here. Image wasn't much of a factor yet in '91, and besides, Starlin always walked his own path. If anything, I would criticize Infinity Gauntlet for being too similar to the two previous Thanos stories Starlin told.

The first -- which introduced Thanos -- began in Iron Man #55 (1973) but mostly took place in the Starlin written-and-drawn Captain Marvel (starring Mar-Vell of the Kree). In that one, Thanos rolls over a bunch of Avengers to steal the Cosmic Cube and become a god. Spoiler: He is stopped by Captain Marvel, who destroys the Cube.

The second took place in Warlock #9-15, Avengers Annual #7 and Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2 (1975-77). In that one, Thanos stole the six "Soul Gems," as they were called then, to gain godlike power. Adam Warlock led the Avengers, Thing and Spider-Man against him, and left the Mad Titan transformed into stone.

The stories are similar enough that the first two could almost be called rough drafts of Infinity Gauntlet.

Oh, and a word of warning: Starlin followed Infinity Gauntlet with a story called Infinity War. That story has nothing to do with the movie of the same name.

Captain America was a slight bad note for me.  This was the movie where the MCU finally totally embraced its 'comicbookness'.  Brightly coloured heroes from many types of stories teaming up in a giant hyper-marketed crossover to face an unimaginable threat to ALL REALITY! (Sometimes done badly in the comics, but Feige and co did it really well here!)  But Cap, or should I say Chris Evans, was the only one pulling against this.  Instead of being a brightly coloured hero from the comicbooks with blond hair and a blue outfit, if not an actual mask and shield, we got a dark-haired chap with a dark beard and a very dark combat outfit.  It looks like Evans is embarrassed to be playing a comicbook character in a comicbook movie.  And as such that's an intrusion from the world outside the movies. (Having said that, though, I can see why this character would identify himself to Groot as "Steve Rogers" rather than Captain America.  That's part of his journey, maybe.)

There's an in-story reason for this.

I don't know if this will mitigate your reaction any, but the movie's creators have mentioned in a number of interviews that Steve isn't Captain America in this movie. While it was never said outright -- which surprised me, given all the interviews -- he is Nomad, the Man WIthout a Country.

This reflects a 1970s storyline where -- in a parallel to Watergate -- Cap follows a secret conspiracy all the way to the White House, where the ringleader (presumably President Nixon, but it's never shown or said) commits suicide. Disillusioned, Cap tosses away shield and uniform to become Nomad. He eventually has to take up both again, mainly because of all the people dressing up as Cap and getting themselves killed.

There's presumably more to learn about this business in Avengers: Infinity War Prelude #1-2. I didn't read them, but I've read about them, and learned that they showed what Cap was doing between Civil War and Infinity War. It's alluded to in the movie if you're looking for it: Cap was leading Black Widow and Falcon in clandestine missions around the world -- Avengering without the Avengers. So naturally he wasn't wearing a flag, and looked more suited to espionage. Because that's what he was doing when the movie started.

That also sounds a lot like something that happened in 2010, with the first Secret Avengers series. In that one, Steve Rogers was commanding an operation that ran clandestine Avengers missions around the world, and he wore much the same suit as was in the movies. This series sounds more like what's in the movies than the Nomad bit, but that's what some producers were saying. They probably just didn't know what they were talking about. Anyway, here's what Cap was wearing in Secret Avengers in 2010:

Look familiar?

As a side note, I thought First Avenger did a great job of explaining why Cap's uniform looks the way it does. I can believe it started out as propaganda, before the man made it his own.

And I also prefer the maskless look in this movie. It has been a convention since the first Spider-Man movie for moviemakers to find a lot of reasons for masked heroes to lose their masks so we can see the actors (and the actors can, you know, act). So by ditching the mask, the moviemakers don't have to invent reasons to take it off. (There was a clumsy scene in Avengers where a Chitauri attacks Cap's mask instead of Cap, so that he can emerge from the melee maskless. Now they don't have to do that any more)

Further, of all the masks that we've seen in the Fox and MCU movies, the absolute worst one to my eyes was Captain America's modern one. It looked like molded plastic (which it probably was) that wouldn't protect him at all, and looked a little childish, like a Halloween costume you'd buy at Walgreens. I thought the blue Army helmet in First Avenger was a great look, and I think if they'd just retains that look -- some sort of modern helmet, with a chin strap -- it would have been boffo. Anyway, I'm not sorry at all to lose the plastic mask, even if it means losing most of the rest of the uniform for a little while.

 

Cap is an inherently troubling character anyway.  Yes, he's a good man who has realised that his ideas of morality and responsibility are above that of the representatives of 'we the people', but that leads down a dangerous path when you think about it. There's a moral civic conundrum at Cap's heart! Before the MCU it was a common argument that Captain America was too simplistic a character for a modern movie, but this is where they have located his complexity, even if Cap himself claims here to be 'beyond worrying about it' or somesuch.

Agreed absolutely. Even though my favorite line of the movie is Cap saying "I didn't come asking for forgiveness. And I'm long past asking for permission." It's always thrilling to this child of the '60s when someone gets the last word against a pompous authority figure, as was done there.

But I'm not a child any more, and I find it troubling that Cap is essentially saying the law doesn't apply to him or his fellows. That is, indeed, a dangerous path.

Which is why Civil War worked so much better in the movies than in the comics. In the comics, Iron Man and company were clearly the black hats, rounding up superheroes or just super-powered people and putting them in an extra-dimensional prison without due process because they wouldn't reveal their identities -- which is not only an invasion of privacy, but a violation of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, and further, would very likely get their relatives and friends killed. They also wouldn't sign up to be government agents against their will, another basket of violations against Constitution, statue, common sense and just plain decency. It's slavery, flat and simple. Cap and his friends, being on the other side of that argument, are inherently the white hats no matter where that goes. Fighting fascism is a virtue unto itself.

In the movies, though, both Tony Stark and Steve Rogers were right, and both were wrong.

Stark's position could and would very likely lead to the Avengers being government -- and therefore political -- operatives for whoever happened to be in charge of the U.S. government, and that's a horror to be avoided. OTOH, after Sokovia, the Avengers clearly needed some kind of oversight. I resist the idea of that oversight body being the U.S. government, but then who? The U.N.? They'd be no better, since three of their major power players are the U.S., China and Russia. 'Tis a conundrum.

So, yeah, I'm with Cap that the Sokovia Accords were a very bad, no-good, terrible thing. OTOH, that position means putting certain people above the law. We might trust Steve Rogers, but nobody's perfect. And what about the next leader of the Avengers? Why set that precedent? It leads to lawlessness, vigilantism and anarchy. People can't be expected to act altruistically all the time, even if they're infused with New Deal-era idealism.

So, yeah, I'm troubled by Cap's position. OTOH, as written, this is the character I most admire in the franchise. Ooh! Shades of gray! Moral complexity! How cool is that?

Good call on Hulk's performance anxiety.  Watching the movie I just thought it just another wrinkle in the Banner/Hulk relationship, but yes, Thanos beat Hulk pretty comprehensively in the opening scene.  In any case, it is clever of the movie-makers to tap into the ever-evolving aspect of Hulk's relationship to Banner and how he manifests himself.

Mark Ruffalo is on record as saying that Hulk is enjoying a movie within a movie(s). Marvel Films doesn't have the distribution rights to the Hulk, so it's unlikely a solo Hulk movie will happen until that changes. (Same with Sub-Mariner.) So a Hulk arc has been written into a string of movies. I guess those movies are Age of Ultron, Thor: Ragnarok, Infinity War and Avengers 4. I'm quite enjoying it.

As I say, I shied away from anything with Thanos in it in the 90s, perceiving Spider-Clone era marketing over storytelling hollowness to the whole thing (rightly or wrongly on my part.)

I'll reiterate that I don't think Starlin has been much influenced by anything after Ditko left Marvel (except maybe peyote, but I'm just guessing). But I will opine that I didn't much enjoy and do not recommend two of the '90s-era Thanos hullabaloos. Those wouild be Infinity War and Infinity Crusade. For me, the novelty of Starlin's approach had worn off, he was turning many of his themes into ruts, and the pseudo-intellectual metaphysical claptrap was beginning to seem pretty juvenile to me. Both were drawn by Ron Lim, who it seemed to me was rapidly transitioning from an experimental artist I enjoyed to one who was rapidly becoming workaday and repetitive.

And I have my reservations about the implications of the final scene.  Many deaths of 'important characters - not a dream! etc - played for maximum pathos, but which as you point out, have to be reversed in the follow-up movie.  The whole idea of reality itself being manipulated.  This often signifies much that I don't like in superhero stories and such stories can suffer when the stakes are raised so high that they collapse altogether.

'Tis troubling, to be sure. Certainly all the dust people will return, likely through some sabotage of the Time Stone by Dr. Strange. I think that's fine, and what most movie audiences expect anyway. But when Thanos says of Loki "there will be no resurrections this time," I want that death to stick, even though I love the character and what Tom Hiddleston has done with him. And if Loki stays dead, then Heimdall should, too. And if they stay dead, then Gamora should, too. But that jeopardizes Guardians 3, which I don't think they will do. If the inevitable victory brings Gamora back, I think that might a resurrection too far.

OTOH, it's pretty obvious the original Avengers were all saved on purpose. Which means there is some huge event to come involving them. Which might involve a few permanent deaths that would make us all forget Gamora entirely. I'm looking at the Big Three, especially Captain America. Darn it.

But the MCU has rarely put a foot wrong in my estimation, and I'll reserve my judgement until I see what they do with this.  Unlike in the comic books, these actors are subject to time and aging and don't have to endure 100s of stories all being told about them, so this is just one story in their lives radically unlike anything else they've experienced.  Also some of them are perhaps getting a little old for this superheroing business...

Agreed. There's only so long Chris Hemsworth can maintain those arms, and Chris Evans those abs. And RDJ is no spring chicken. They're probably all dying their hair already. Even Scarlett Johansson is starting to age out of the superhero gig -- her promised solo film might be a swan song.

Sebastian Stan is signed for nine films, and he's got two or three to go. He might very well be the next Captain America.

The Lovely and Talented scored Saturday matinee tickets for me and the Lad, so the two of us actually saw an MCU movie on opening weekend for the first time ever.  I don't have much to say other than that it was a big sprawling enjoyable mess of a movie that was more about throwing characters into the mixing bowl and watching them play together than anything else.  Which was fine by me and led to a lot of fun moments. 

  • Holy @#$%! The wraith-like guardian of the Soul Stone was the RED SKULL! That answers a question I didn't think needed answering from Captain America: The First Avenger. Did I already say holy @#$%?'

The Lad actually caught this before I did, which was a Father Geek pride moment.  He didn't actually say "Holy @#$%!", but I probably would have let it pass if he had.  

I saw it today (4/30) and liked it a lot. The character beats rang true, the humor was actually funny and everyone had their moment to shine. The ending was a downer but I knew it had to be.

Off the top of my head:

  • The Hulk/Banner crashing into the Sactum Satorum made the Defenders fan in me smile.
  • The chemistry between Robert Downey Jr. and Benedict Cumberbatch was amazing. Team-Up movie, anyone?
  • Plus we had dueling Sherlock Holmeses!
  • Too bad Everett Ross didn't get a scene with Doctor Strange!
  • Spider-Man was a little annoying but had some incredible action moves!
  • "Is he your ward?" Great line!
  • The Hulk not wanting to come out was because he was afraid for perhaps the first time in his existence. The Hulk does not get beaten that badly. And yes it was because Thanos had the Power Stone. 
  • Thor was really cosmic here and it's a good fit. He does some nearly Superman-ish stunts.
  • But to kill off that many Asgardians in the last two movies? Makes you wonder what a Thor IV would actually be?
  • Amazingly, Iron Man has no scenes with either Thor or Captain America with War Machine as his stand-in.
  • I liked the Vision's "human" look as his android visage is a bit too "comic-booky" for a movie. But you felt the emotions in every scene he had with Wanda. Nicely done.
  • Vision kept calling Steve "Captain".
  • They kept the tone of the Guardians without forgetting the tragedies of their pasts.
  • Plus Quill and Rocket acting like Groot's frustrated parents was hilarious!
  • Neat that Drax and Mantis were paired with Peter as, in the comics, they were from Earth, too!
  • Nebula being there at the end with Stark was an odd choice but it may be an important one.
  • Sorry, as much as the ending was supposed to get you emotionally, I couldn't "buy" it. Everyone will be back. Nice that the first six Avengers are still on the field (we think) but if Thanos wanted no opposition, why not eliminate ALL the heroes? Yes, he said that it would be random but he can nudge the odds.
  • The beeper was a nice touch but I would have been more excited if it was flashing a big, blue "4"!

My theory for the end: Thanos feels guilty about Gamora's death, something he didn't in the comics. Doctor Strange said in fourteen million timelines, the Avengers only win in one. Thanos has the Reality Stone. Somehow he's manipulated into making that reality the real one or subconsciously sabotages himself because he wants to lose. Because at the end, he doesn't look triumphant. He looks shattered.

Philip Portelli Johnson is right!

I hadn't thought about the Sherlock Holmes connection between Stark and Strange. That does add some fun meta-text, doesn't it? As it is, the two battling for Most Arrogant Superhero Award was funny enough.

According to the Internet -- so it must be true, right? -- there was a deleted scene where half the Asgardians escaped Thanos in another ship, including Valkyrie, Korg and Miek. If true, then the race isn't extinct (which the movie certainly left you with) and is probably viable to continue. Plus, that explains Valkyrie's troubling absence.

Nebula is a weird choice. But she was kept in a state of living death in Infinity Gauntlet, which she was here, which means the rest of her role may come true -- and she was instrumental in defeating Thanos. So there's that.

Two more things:

I found out what T'Challa and his troops were chanting in the movie. It's "Yibambe," Xhosa for "Hold fast."

I did not find the scene I remember clearly in my head of a frost-covered Thunder God floating in space and being found by space-farers. I looked up the scene with the Wanderers in the Thor story by Lee/Kirby, but he was not covered in frost, and he was found by Ego, the Living Planet. So the scene I remember happened somewhere else.

Thor Annual #6 1977Image result for thor annual 6 frozen in space

I have seen almost every Marvel and DC movie in the theater going back to Superman I. The response to this movie was laughing during the “GA GA” moments and the silence at the the end of it. On the way out I heard comments “ I just wasted $8.00 on everyone dying” and “We should have seen Rampage.” I enjoyed the hell out the movie(comic book geek) but the negative response proves that 90% of the movie going crowd has no idea what makes a super hero movie great.

That's it! Thank you!

Con Sarolas said:

Thor Annual #6 1977Image result for thor annual 6 frozen in space

Saw it last night (May 1).  There was a lot to juggle, but most of the characters received some focus.  I suspect that all of the deaths at the end will be "reversed," but the earlier ones maybe not (with the exception of Gamora).

I did enjoy Tony's "Squidward" comment, and the Peter and Tony interactions were fun, although "fun" may be the wrong word to describe Peter's death.  

There was so much going on that it is difficult to remember specifics.  

So, Thanos is now a Malthusian who thinks he is saving the universe from the horrors of overpopulation.  It takes the character out of the realm of pure evil.  But, quite honestly, if someone had given him a copy of some of Julian Simon's work, all of this could have been avoided. Simon was an economist who refuted the doomsayers of the 1960s and 1970s who said Earth was doomed (that makes sense since they were "doomsayers") by overpopulation and resource depletion.  I teach this stuff every semester, so it was interesting to see it as a major subtext of the movie, and as Thanos' motivation.  

As I left the theater some of the overheard comments were interesting. I get the feeling that for the average moviegoer, one not steeped in comic book cliches, the ending was a real downer.  Will people come back for #4?  This wasn't necessarily a feelgood escapist experience.

Philip's idea of a "4" on the signalling device would have been so cool--but, alas, it isn't to be.  A reference to Avengers movie #4 and you know who.  What would happen in a contest between Thanos' gauntlet and the Ultimate Nullifier (or has that already been addressed in the comic books)?

I’m not a big fan of superhero movies in general and I haven’t seen any of the movies leading into it (not directly into it, anyway), but I went to see Infinity War over the weekend. [There's not a single (mainstream) comic book movie I can think of that's better than the source it's based on.] The Black Panther is the closest I have come to seeing a Marvel movie without actually having seen it, but there was enough Wakanda in Infinity War that I no longer feel I have to. I get the gist; I can extrapolate from there. Same with Doctor Strange. I never even wanted to see that one, but Benedict Cumberbatch did a better job than I ever would have expected. Plus, the magical effects were almost as good as Ditko’s. But again, I don’t need to see a whole movie of it. Ant-Man, too. That fact that Ant-Man wasn’t even in Infinity War tells me all about that movie I need to know.

The ending surprised me a bit (and the beginning as well; I didn’t realize this was the middle part of a trilogy), but I think I can safe say this is the “ultimate” Marvel movie (in the true, not the popular, sense of the term)… at least for me. I have no need to ever see another Marvel movie again. As for the ending, well… you win some, you lose some.

Just wanted to say how well you put that Jeff.

I have also never been that fussed about comics-films and agree with everything you said - Cumerbatch as Strange . Meh     but 'wow'.

I feel the same about Infinity War as a whole - 'Comic  Books done right'.

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