A decade in and Marvel Studios proves it still has all the best ideas with a cinematic universe that culminates in an epic confrontation in a war to end all wars — literally with AVENGERS: Infinity War.
After the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron and its follow-up Captain America: Civil War the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes had become splintered beyond repair and with them scattered to the winds, a new phase was introduced that included an ant-man, a sorcerer supreme and the homecoming of a much loved web-slinger, and still a crisis was looming ever closer, creeping across the galaxy. Even a stalwart group of guardians would be in over their heads, as a god of thunder faced his own mythical Ragnarök, an “end of all days” had arrived. So begins Avengers: Infinity War.
Entering into its first decade Marvel Studios has cornered the market on perfectly adapting the comic book superhero genre to the big screen, and upon launching proper with the introduction of 2008’s Iron Man starring Robert Downey, Jr. the producers had their minds set on creating an entirely different cinematic experience — they dedicated themselves to developing a serialized universe. Now 10 years later, they’re dismantling their perfect world in preparation for its next evolution, and as they say: you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.
The mastermind behind Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige was quoted by recently on the daunting task of brining Avengers: Infinity War together: “This feels like the culmination of something that’s been building for years.” The fact that it did indeed come together so solidly is a testament to Feige and his creatives, who managed to pool the narratives of all the Marvel Comics adapted films into a singularly spinning storyline, that first tested its durability with the release of Marvel’s The Avengers in 2012. It was the first time film properties crossed over so effectively, and it paid off!
Assembling the Team
Over the course of Marvel Studios first decade, the arc of the storyline was divided into phases, each positioning each of its title characters to intersect into the next chapter of an Avengers film, while properly introducing new heroes that would spin-out into their own solo projects. Before Avengers: Infinity War came to theaters, the Russo Brothers, Joe and Anthony Russo delivered a one-two punch with the “bonus” Avengers flick Captain America: Civil War which (re)introduced two very important Marvel properties into the cinematic universe.
With the rousing introduction of the Black Panther and Spider-Man joining the rest of his big screen contemporaries, Marvel Studios guaranteed that even after Iron Man, Captain America and Thor round out their 3-picture deals, the mantle will have plenty of room for some newly minted heavy-hitters that would also include Ant-Man and The Wasp and Doctor Strange. Before those installments land in your local multiplex, the Russos were tasked with rounding out the first 10 years of films and prepare the segue into the next phase.
In Avengers: Infinity War the mad god Thanos (a motion capture realization by Josh Brolin) has finally gathered all six of the startling powerful Infinity Stones and embarked on his genocidal cleansing of the universe. As far as Thanos is concerned, he’s doing everyone a favor by getting rid of half of the universe’s population. With resources throughout the galaxy spread so thin, and wars over territory often leading to bloodshed, Thanos takes it upon himself to end the chaos and be rid of half of the people everywhere, a god-like initiative he handles with a simple snap of his fingers.
Introduced in the after-credits stinger of The Avengers after our heroes assembled to fight off a blitzkrieg alien invasion of New York City, the Marvel Cinematic Universe had all-but blown up, and by the end of that feature-length film space was anything but the final frontier — certainly for our heroes and the people of Earth. Besides a technological ironman, a green skinned hulk, a god of thunder and several super soldiers, the idea of our place in the galaxy had expanded beyond anyone’s imagination.
Guardians of Every Galaxy!
When the Marvel Cinematic Universe went beyond the boundaries of planet Earth incorporating the space-faring adventures of the Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Ragnarök the kid gloves had seriously come off, and with the gauntlet (the Infinity Gauntlet specifically) thrown down and in play, anything would be possible! The universe was literally the limit! Avengers: Infinity War although it spans the entirety of the Marvel cinematic world, it ultimately brings everything full circle and tightly walks the rope of credibility. We believe every minute of this movie!
Whether it’s because as an audience we’ve become so familiar with the exotic locations, whether the far reaches of Thanos’ home world of Titan, or the jungles near Wakanda, the seriousness of our heroes mission is never lost on us, and it’s because we believe in the Avengers that we become invested. After a decade, the heroes that we had loved for many more on the pages of our comic books, had sprung to life on the screen, made flesh and bone by Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans, Hemsworth and Pratt, alongside Scarlett Johansson, Zoe Saldana and Elizabeth Olsen.
Unexpectedly, the formula here gets tripped up, as our heroes face a threat greater than anything or anyone that they’ve faced before! The audience is forced to struggle alongside with them. The Infinity War may be more than they’ve ever bargained for, but for movie-goers especially die-hard genre fans, it’s exactly what we’ve all been waiting for all along. With Avengers: Infinity War the pay off comes in the serialized connectivity between all the Marvel Studio films and how instrumental it is that it’s all come together.
Comic Book readers have known all along, that these heroes and their adversaries are far more dimensional than the paper they are printed on, and finally the rest of the world has caught up to us. It may have taken an infinity, but from the looks of it, it’s only just begun…