Infinity War, Star Trek, and Hype

by Michael B. Hock

Marvel has gotten some flak about it’s generic music in the recent years (not a lot because they’re owned by Disney, and soon Earth itself will be a subsidiary of Disney) but damned if that Avengers theme isn’t heroic. And memorable. And when those horns hit and the Avengers trailer kicks off, I get excited.

Last week Marvel dropped the newest trailer for Avengers: Infinity War, and while they build it as the culmination of 18 movies, it’s also the culmination of a lot of young nerds who never thought they’d see a good Iron Man movie, much less one that kicked off an empire that no only encompasses 90% of your pop culture life, but one that finally made Ant-Man a semi household name. Ant-Man. Seriously, people. He can shrink and talk to ants, and there are not one but two movies with him in it, and one movie that heavily features him fighting Captain America.

That’s not nothing.

I’ve long talked about superheroes and how much I love them. In fact, the second post on the old Bad Shakespeare site was about Mark Ruffalo, the third actor in (at the time) 10 years to take on the mantel of the CGI green guy, talking about how he felt that the character was damn near Shakespearean. I mean… he is. Not many people know this but the first draft of the famous “To be or not to be” speech from Hamlet was actually “You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”

Regardless, Avengers: Infinity War is just around the corner, having been announced to come out a week earlier, and it just dropped an unnecessary trailer. I don’t say that as an insult, the trailer could literally just be a black screen with white writing that said “Hey, we’re making a movie with all the superheroes except Hawkeye and it’s called Infinity War. Come see it.” and they would make roughly all of the money in the world. We’ll no longer deal in cash, but in the number of times you’ve seen Avengers: Infinity War

The trailer itself is pretty awesome, starting with an inverted scene of New York City to remind us that the world is about to go upside down. What’s not interesting is that our first look at heroes are from below, looking up… what’ interesting is the choice of heroes. Bruce Banner, Black Widow, and War Machine. I like this, it shows that whatever happened in Captain America: Civil War is going to have to be addressed. Black Widow was on Captain America’s Side (eventually), War Machine was paralyzed by the event, and Bruce Banner was fighting people for Jeff Goldblum’s amusement on a trash planet. Immediately we’re put into a mindset that the Avengers are going to have to come together… Assemble, if you will.

Gamora is the one giving the voiceover, which again, is interesting. she would have the most interaction with the main villain, Thanos, given that he’s her adopted daughter, and we get an oddly tender scene of him walking away with her when he was little. It’s an odd juxtaposition. As this moment captures her talking about how terrible he is, while he tears through heroes we’ve gotten to know through the years. Gamora also mentions that he could wipe out half the Universe in a snap, which is exciting for us comic book fans who remember that he does just that at one point.

We also get Peter Parker suiting up by putting on his mask on the side of the bus, because secret identities also don’t exist in the Marvel Universe.

One of the more interesting things here is the lack of Tony Stark. We get images of him supposedly getting information from Gamora (but it looks like an odd cut) and we get a few cool shots of his armor, but given that he was our entry point into the Marvel Universe, I’m surprised we don’t get more of him. Much of Iron Man 3 focused on the PTSD he had as a result of the first Avengers movie, in which he came face to face with Thanos’ fleet. But for some reason, he seems a little… deliberately absent. Save, of course, for the excellent moment that Peter Quill calls him out for his terrible plan. Again, another interesting group of heroes, with Peter Quill, Spiderman, and Tony Stark hanging out.

Naturally, there’s lots of shots of Wakanda, because Black Panther is currently one of the most popular comic book movies, Marvel Movies… hell, one of the most popular movies of all time. (Deservedly so.) One of the more interesting aspects is that there is a lot of fighting in Wakanda, when the Black Panther movie did not feature any Infinity Stones. Which means there was one there the whole time and we didn’t know it, they stash one of the known Earthbound stones there, or they spent too much money on other sets and just decided to film a few extra days on the Black Panther set. Of course, I’d like to believe the first one, but it’s most likely the second.

This is also where we get one of the more iconic moments from the trailer, with Captain America grabbing the Infinity Gauntlet which is on Thanos’ hand. What makes this interesting is that it’s in contrast to the other teaser that came out which showed Iron Man getting cold-cocked by that same gloved hand. I think there’s going to be an interesting balance as Thanos starts to tear into the Avengers. But unfortunately, it seems to really indicate that what we’re goin to be looking at is the first part of a two part story. By that I mean we’ve long known that Infinity War was going to be split into two parts, and only recently we were told that they would not be called “Infinity War 1 and 2” but that the second name couldn’t be dropped because that’s a spoiler for what happens in this one. I don’t like statements like that because 1. they’ll never live up to the hype, lest we forget about the whole Star Trek Into Darkness/Khan fiasco and 2. It implies that a lot happens in this one to change the game radically in this one.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just something for which we should be mindful. Obviously Infinity War will be an interesting experiment, no movie has attempted to do what this movie is doing. And Marvel has a clean track record. But when stories are broken up like this, and too much storytelling gets wrapped up in what’s going to happen, it can get dicy. It’s important to remind everyone of The Last Jedi, where so many people were banking on the resolution to Rey’s story and Snoke’s backstory, which many people found disappointing. But those people don’t seem to remember that it’s the middle of a planned trilogy. The story wasn’t done. I’m worried we’re going to get a similar reaction.

We also get a few shots of a side quest between Thor, Rocket Racoon, and Teenage Groot, which is an odd pairing. But it does point out the interesting way that this trailer manages to blend heroes we haven’t seen before… cue Peter Parker’s stunned face while talking to Tony Stark and Star-Lord… but still manages to keep them separate enough.

And of course, the whole thing ends on a joke, because this is Marvel, and it’s important to remember that they can’t take themselves too seriously. Given that it looks like Dr. Strange is going to have a lot of dark moments, maybe some levity is needed.

Overall, I was hyped before, and now I’m still hyped. I’m hoping that it lives up to this hype, but mostly, I hope we get the superhero movie that 12 year old me has wanted for a long time.

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