Avengers Infinity War: Love and Grace vs Logic and ReasonApr 27, 2018
Directed by: Anthony and Joe Russo
Written by: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, and 14 others (We’re putting together a team of writers…just like the Avengers)
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson. Chris Evans, Josh Brolin, Chadwick Boseman, Chris Pratt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Zoe Saldana, Chris Pratt, Tom Hiddleston, Elizabeth Olsen, Don Cheadle, Mark Ruffalo, Paul Bethany, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Idris Elba, and it just keeps going and going and going…
All Photos Courtesy of Marvel Studios
Rest easy, friends. Marvel has pulled off the biggest cinematic feat in movie history. You’re going to hear people (I’m looking at you, James Cameron) gripe about superhero overload. You’re going to hear a meager handful of whiny critics pick the movie apart for puzzlingly pithy reasons. You’re going to hear those who love movies like Darren Aronofsky’s ridiculously foul, “Mother” complain that superheroes are killing real drama.
Ignore them all.
I’m here to tell you that Marvel has fulfilled the expectation of every single movie fan whose jaw dropped when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) showed up in the Iron Man movie’s post credit scene with the now famous line, “I’m here to talk to you about the Avenger Initiative.”
As promised, everything that has happened in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) up to this point has been the undercard. Red Skull. Loki. The Mandarin. Ultron. Hela. They’re all lightweights.
This is the main event.
And it does not disappoint. The Russo brothers do a spectacular job of giving every single one of the superheroes (and yes, the gang’s pretty much all here — with a few exceptions) their moment to shine.
I’m going to do my best to be spoiler-free from this point on because you need to experience this free from any discussion of who dies (yes, people die), who makes cameos (yes, there are a couple of great surprise appearances) and what the end of the movie means.
Really, the most important thing you need to know about this, the first of a two-part story arc, is that this is Thano’s (Josh Brolin) movie. In case you haven’t been paying attention, Thanos is a massive being of immense strength known as a Titan. He is not a god and he is not invincible. But he is the kind of villain who can take the Hulk’s best punch and chuckle about it. We initially encountered Thanos in the first Avengers movie and have come to understand that he’s looking for the six Infinity Stones. If he finds them and plugs them into his big, shiny Infinity Gauntlet, he can kill half of the living beings in the entire universe with a snap of his fingers. Friends, this is no Macguffin. The Infinity Stones are the real deal. The threat is every bit as powerful as advertised.
Prior to this movie all we know about Thanos is that he’s obsessed with completing this mission of killing half of all living beings in the universe. Infinity War is, as Dr. Strange tells Tony Stark, “the end game.” It’s also the revelation of what motivates Thanos.
And here’s the stunning thing about that revealed motivation: if you value logic and reason over everything else, you can’t argue with Thanos. He’s right. Half the people in the universe should die.
The truth is, Thanos is the ultimate humanist. Even in a universe filled with superheroes, mystical realms, and demi-gods, Thanos is an atheist who truly believes that wiping out half of all life in the universe is an act of mercy. His god is cold reason and he is willing to sacrifice love, beauty, compassion and every other good thing in order to see this through. He truly believes that no one individual life is worth saving if it endangers everyone else. It doesn’t matter if that life is a good one, if the person living it is one of the best people who ever lived…of if they’re the most evil person who has ever lived. There is nothing special about a life or the soul attached to it. There is only this universe. This existence. And this is what must be protected at all costs.
Let’s be honest here: if all we are is atoms and protons and electrons, if all we are is matter controlled by eternal and unchanging natural laws, then Thanos is right. Knocking off half the universe on a regular basis is the smart thing to do because it keeps life from overwhelming the universe’s finite resources.
In short…yes, this is a comic book movie. But it’s comic book characters overlaying the most profound question in all of history: what is the meaning and value of a life? On one side of the debate stands Thanos who says, “There is no one life that is more important than all existence.” On the other side you have the moral center of the Avengers, Captain America (Chris Rogers), who makes it clear that he’s willing to risk everything to save one life.
Finally, you’ll want to stick around to the very end of the credits for the stinger. Only the hardcore Marvel fans will truly understand what it means, but a quick Google search will reveal that the battle with Thanos is far from over.