Thoughts on Infinity War
I have just come from seeing Infinity War, and these are my initial reactions. Obviously, as I go into some detail about what caused these reactions, there will be spoilers. You have been warned.
Thanos is definitely the best villain in the MCU so far. I think he's even better as a villain than Loki, who spends half his time as a reluctant partner to Thor. A big part of this is the fact that we spend so much time with him. We really get to know him and his motivations. In past movies the big bads don't get much screen time. This movie follows Thanos as much as it does the Avengers. We really get to know his motivations. We get to see his pain when he kills Gamora. We also get to see how strong he is even before he gets all the stones, as he takes down the Hulk rather handily. Also, great call back to the first Avengers movie when Loki tells Thanos they have a Hulk before Green Jeans goes barreling into the mad Titan.
Speaking of that sacrifice, having the Red Skull randomly show up as the keeper of the Soul Stone is the most comic book thing to happen in any of these movies and I loved it. It took a second for my brain to actually accept that this was what was happening. Going back to Thanos, my only complaint is that his power levels seem to vary greatly from scene to scene. He is almost all powerful one minute, bending reality to take out the Guardians, throwing down with the Hulk, and destroying whole planets. Then he is getting kicked around by a teenage Spider-Man a little later in the film.
Tony Stark and Stephen Strange meeting was a great time. The two biggest egos in the Marvel Universe going head to head. The movie does a fantastic job of giving screen time, and I really don't feel like anyone got short-changed. There were a few characters who were MIA, but most of them should turn up in the next movie. Captain America and Iron Man both got a showdown with Thanos. Vision got a bit of the short end of the stick here, seeing as he is one of the most powerful beings in the MCU and he spends most of the movie getting his ass handed to him.
Peter Parker finally gets the Iron Spider suit, and it is amazing. He uses it to great effect too. This version of Spidey is just the best. He is even wise cracking as he is fighting Thanos. Bucky doesn't get a whole lot to do, but he is pretty awesome in the time he does get. Hulk and Bruce Banner seem to be two separate people here, arguing about Hulk refusing to come out after Thanos gives him a beat down. Thanos' henchmen are pretty cool, and give the heroes a good fight even when their boss is elsewhere. Peter Dinklage as a giant dwarf was fun too. Although it seems odd that Ragnarok was about Thor learning that he doesn't need his hammer to be the thunder god, and in this movie one of the first things he says is "I need a new hammer".
I'm not going to lie, at first I felt the ending was pretty cheap. They killed off everyone that is scheduled to have new movies in Phase Four. We know they are coming back. Then I realized what they did. They have set the stage for Avengers 4 to be the original team to be the focus of the next movie. With the possible addition of Ant-Man and Wasp, this would be a combination of the original MCU Avengers and the original comic book Avengers, plus Rocket Raccoon for some reason. It gives the old guard the chance to sacrifice themselves to bring in the new guard. Peter's death seemed exceptionally traumatic, having a 15 year old freaking out and saying how scared he is as he just ceases to exist.
One thing that bothered me about the after credits scene, apparently Nick Fury has a device to alert Captain Marvel that he uses just before he is disintegrated by the Infinity Gauntlet. My first thought was, you didn't think to use that when the Chitauri invaded New York, or dark elves invaded London, or Ultron was launching a city into the stratosphere? One other little note, this week's episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had a throw away line where someone asks Daisy if she has seen the news about the crazy stuff happening in New York, and her response is that she has been too busy. I thought it was an interesting way to acknowledge the movie without letting it get in the way of the story they are telling.
Now, my predictions for the next movie. We know that the people who die at the end of this movie are coming back, because most of them have movies scheduled for the next couple of years, and there is no way they are not making a Black Panther sequel after it made all the money in February. I think Cap will bite it, because they will want to replace him with either Bucky and/or Sam. I don't think they will kill Tony, but instead have him retire. That way they can put someone else in the armor but still have the option of bringing Tony back in from time to time. Hulk can be useful as a little something extra in other people's movies, as we saw in Ragnarok, so I think he makes it. There is really no point in keeping Thor alive, as most of the Asgardians are dead and Asgard is gone, so I think he is toast. Marvel is talking about a Black Widow movie, so she is probably safe. They have never really known what to do with Hawkeye, so if he even shows up in 4 he is a goner. Ant-Man will probably get one more movie to round out his trilogy. Captain Marvel of course will have just been introduced so she should be fine. Most of the Guardians will be back, I think Gamora will probably be the only permanent loss. My guess for the title of Avengers 4 is Avengers Reassembled.
I am about 99% sure Ant-Man and probably Wasp will be in the next movie. But I had a great idea about another way they could go. Their movie comes out later this year. How cool would it be if the after credits scene for their movie was them celebrating the victory they have just won, only to have them disintegrate like Spidey and Doc Strange and the others? Also, even though I am pretty certain Clint bites it in the next movie, I think it would be great if instead he ended up being the one to save the day. Just Hawkeye with his arrows where all these super powered and armored guys failed. And honestly, Marvel kind of owes him a little glory after the neglect they have shown him thus far.