Okay, I’m not going to try and spoil it too much, but safe to say, if you haven’t watched the film yet – DON’T READ THIS REVIEW.
Safe to say, I really enjoyed the film. It’s not without it’s flaws (it is hard to imagine how a film with such a large scope wouldn’t have its problems) but overall – I feel it is true to the characters and the universe it has set up.
I think the rewatch was definitely worth it. I feel I would have missed out on some of the quicker jokes. But it made me think of all the different motivations of all the different characters. I think despite the sheer amount of stuff going on in the film, it still manages to captures a lot of the good qualities (but also the faults) of the characters. It also reminded me of some of the links between films – like Tony’s vision about everyone dying.
The main thing that has impressed me about it, was the sheer audacity of the ending. It’s hard to imagine any other film franchise ending the film on that note. The only comparisons I could think of are both Star Wars – both Empire Strikes Back and The Last Jedi. But it was even more brutal. I felt broken while the credits were rolling but was immediately uplifted by the end credits scene – with the promise of Captain Marvel.
However, even on greater reflection, there are reasons to be hopeful (I think). Which is perhaps speculation (or reading too much into things) but I don’t think it’s the end for those characters that disappeared at the end of the film. The hope, for me, lies with all of Doctor Strange’s actions and lines.
He tells Tony that he’d sacrifice everything to either save the stone (or maybe stop Thanos, can’t remember). But, he still gives it up. They just met – why would he do this? However, he only sees one possible future timeline where they win. He saw all the timelines, he could have warned about all the things happened with that fight – but he didn’t. But he does say something to Thanos which struck me – ‘You’ll find out we have a lot of will’ or something to that effect. Finally, he says as even he disappears “it was the only way Tony.”
If this is the timeline, the one timeline that they can win in, it either means that they all have to die (which I didn’t think is the case) or that he has to let everyone die so that its reversed (somehow) in the next film. That’s staggering. To not tell Peter Quill, Tony Stark, Peter Parker or anyone that some of them are about to become nothing. We’ll see if that bears out or if its just wishful thinking on my behalf. Anyway, Doctor Strange, will of steel.
What I also enjoyed (and was simultaneously sad by) was Loki. It’s been said elsewhere, but it was the perfect way to demonstrate the sheer magnitude of difference in power between the current Avengers and Thanos. The fact that Loki was the main threat in the first Avengers and was just unceremoniously killed shows that this was always going to be brutal. It also foreshadows (I think), several key things.
- That you can’t just stab Thanos. He’ll see it coming. Which is why Gamora ultimately can’t save herself.
- He’s so powerful that all conventional ways of dealing with him aren’t going to work. I think this is why we get the glimpse of Captain Marvel at the end – she’s going to be entirely new and so much more powerful than previous characters. It nicely sets up the reason why she has to exist in this current universe.
The other thing I enjoyed were all the small moments in between frantic battles. There were so many lines that were so enjoyable. The “I am Groot.” “I am Steve Rogers” moment made me laugh out loud. Everything with Rocket and Thor. “That was gross” from Black Widow. The stand off between Iron Man, Spiderman and Doctor strange vs The Guardians of the Galaxy. It kept it from being too dour.
The action was likewise pretty relentless. I don’t think anyone could say this was a dull film. I enjoyed that it was everyone scattered (maybe something that will change in the second film?) We have everyone isolated into little groups (and some big groups like in Wakanda) and they just manage to scrape by. Wanda and Vision rescued by Black Widow and Captain America. Doctor Strange rescued by Iron Man and Spiderman and managing to take out the creepiest of Thanos’ minions.
My crystal ball gazing into the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that it’s going to go cosmic. The current raft of Avengers can’t handle something like Thanos and so we’re going to get into some weirder Marvel territory. But it’s also a nice transition. We’re going to wrap up the original stories and pass the torch onto the next decade of films. I think we’ll have more stories of galactic, rather than earthly, concern.
It would be the perfect time to bring the Fantastic Four into this universe (if they could solve the rights issues).
My criticism of the film is that there’s a lot going on. It must have been near impossible to understand all the jokes and speed of action if you’ve missed out on some films (especially Ragnarok and Guardians of the Galaxy). We really don’t spend much time with some of the older characters if they weren’t important to the central arc of the story (Captain America, Black Widow, Bruce Banner etc). But as they survived, maybe they will be central to part two. Who knows. But it’s pretty impressive that it does hang together as a film. There is definitely a lack of emotional depth (I think because we don’t spend enough time with any one person too long) but there are lot of gut punches: Loki, Gamora, Vision, the entire fucking ending.
But it was great. I’m so looking forward to Captain Marvel being released and the sequel to this one. I love the ridiculous scope of this universe and how it feels very much like a comic book in the way how the stakes escalate and seem impossible. But how great will it be when they do overcome. I think that’s where all the emotion will come in.