Okay, this will be a critique of the film Avengers: Infinity Wars. There will be spoilers. If you have not seen the film and intend to, read no further.
Spoilers beyond this point.
The story of Infinity Wars is a fairly simple one. The titan Thanos, backed up by a group of disturbing henchmen and a couple of armies of random aliens, seeks to collect all of the “infinity stones”–glowing gems in a number of colors, and put them into his gauntlet, which will give him Godlike powers so he can cull the universe and destroy half of all the living things in it, in order to save the environment. Kind of like the Club Of Rome, but in space.
Most of the characters so far introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe try to stop him. They fail, and in the end everybody dies. (Well, half of everybody, but that does seem to include most of the Avengers. Honestly, at the end I wasn’t really keeping track of who all dissolved into dust and who didn’t.)
It was plotted like a video game with Thanos going to different levels, fighting against Marvel superheroes, beating them, gaining a new stone, then using the abilities gained from the new stone to fight the next level. One could almost see “Press A+^ to activate the Time Stone” across the bottom of the screen during the cutscenes of Thanos putting the stone into his glove and being awash in mystic energy.
Rinse and repeat.
Now, this description may make it sound like I didn’t like the film. The reason for that is that I didn’t. I hated it. I really enjoyed the films prior to this one, and I had anticipated going to this one. It was like waiting all year for my birthday and then–surprise!–here’s your lump of diseased maggot-infested putrefying flesh!
Killing off all of the characters I have grown to love over the past ten years is just one of the problems, so hearing that they aren’t all really truly dead for reals doesn’t actually help that much. Evidently the second half of this film (and I didn’t know going into it that it was only the first half) is going to be a Days Of Future Passed-style “let’s go back in time and make it all unhappen” story. (Although in the X-men version at least they did it all in one film.)
It was when I was watching The Great British Baking Show (which I do like very much) that I was able to put my finger on why (aside from the whole “everybody dies” thing, of course) that Infinity War left such a bad taste in my mouth.
If you don’t watch the GB Baking Show, the format is pretty simple. It starts out with a dozen bakers, with different backgrounds and their own styles, who are set a number of challanges. Each episode the two judges, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, critique the contestants’ bakes to determine who leaves the show that week.
Well, that’s kind of how Infinity War felt to me. Thanos was like a big blue Paul Hollywood. The Avengers would show their signature moves in each challenge, and Thanos would give a little critique, and explain why nothing they did quite worked, and then we’d move on to the next challenge.
The characters that I have been accustomed to acting like heroes spent all of their time reacting to what Thanos was doing, and reacting poorly in most cases. They let the titan choose the time and place, and set the rules, and then stood around shamefaced as Thanos criticized their performances.
Inbetween challanges there was a fair amount of clever wisecracking, and the
contestants Avengers talking about how they felt about the last challenge, and if they thought that Paul’s Thanos’ remarks were quite fair, and vowing to bake fight better next time, but that was really just filler.
It was Thanos’ show. The Avengers were just contestants, and in the end they all got voted off the show.
I expect better from Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.