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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.