an ambitious superhero spectacle
In the last decade, Marvel has (quite unexpectedly) established itself as the biggest cinematic attraction in the world. What started with Iron Man in 2008 has since become the world’s biggest, most lucrative movie franchise. By first bringing several superheroes from the pages of Marvel’s comic books to the big screen in their own outings and then bringing them all together in epic crossover adventures (while also supporting them with various small screen projects), the studio has created a cinematic universe like none other. It has been a strategy that has, by and large, paid off both critically and financially, and it continues to reward the studio with the release of their latest film, Avengers: Infinity War.
The yarns of Iron Man (portrayed by Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), and the Guardians of the Galaxy - Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Groot (Vin Diesel), and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) - all tie together in this, the third Avengers film and the 19th instalment overall in the franchise. You’d think viewer fatigue would have set in after so many adventures, but far from it. The movie has made a billion dollars in a little over a week, and there is a very simple reason for that: it’s a whole lot of fun.
Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, Infinity War finds the aforementioned superheroes and their cohorts trying to stop the evil Thanos (Josh Brolin) from causing havoc in the universe.
The villain longs to collect six Infinity Stones, cosmic gems that give their bearer immense powers, including the ability to wipe out half the universe’s population by snapping their fingers, which is exactly what Thanos has vowed to do in a bid to control overpopulation.
It is up to the heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to set aside their differences and come together to stop Thanos from achieving his nefarious plans. And come together they do (all except Ant-Man and Hawkeye who are nowhere to be found), united in various permutations, much to the credit of the Russo brothers, who do a remarkable job working with such a huge cast of characters and making sure they retain their individual flair while fitting into this crossover tale.
But because of their sheer number, not everyone gets much to do. With so many superheoes fighting against one villain, it’s the menacing Thanos who becomes the central figure, which is something the film largely uses as an asset by fleshing out the baddie and adding more emotional depth to his storyline, primarily through his connection to Gamora. It also helps that Brolin does an impressive job in the motion capture role of the antagonist.
The main talking point of the movie, though, is its ending ... or lack thereof. If you absolutely detest cliff-hangers then be warned, you’re actually going to have to wait a whole year for the release of the fourth Avengers film for any sort of resolution to the story here. But the main problem with the ending of Infinity War is its obvious lack of permanence, which is something that becomes apparent as soon as you’ve had a minute to process the surprise twist. Ultimately, instead of leaving you feeling shocked, it might just leave you feeling a bit cheated.
That does not, however, mean that the film isn’t worth watching.
Packed to the brim with action and some terrific combat sequences, powered by dependably awesome acting performances, and peppered with the standard Marvel wit, Avengers: Infinity War is a well-made, entertaining visit to the world’s most successful franchise. If you’re a Marvel fan then this is a highly recommended adventure that you’re guaranteed to enjoy. And if you haven’t seen any/many Marvel films before, then you might want to rectify that before you delve into the latest offering in order to fully appreciate this instalment.
1. Who founded the company that would eventually become Marvel Comics?
A. Martin Goodman
B. Stan Lee
C. Jack Kirby
D. Walt Disney
2. In what year was the aforementioned company originally started?
3. Who was the first Marvel superhero?
A. Captain America
B. Black Widow
C. Human Torch
D. Phantom Rider
4. Which of these superheroes was not an original member of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the Avengers?
A. Iron Man
C. Captain America
5. What is The Avengers famous battle cry?
A. Avengers Align!
B. Avengers Assemble!
C. Avengers Advance!
D. Avengers Avenge!
6. Who was the hero of Marvel’s first theatrical release?
A. Captain America
B. The Punisher
C. Iron Man
7. How many films have there been in the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far?
8. The Avengers are trying to stop Thanos, the villain, from collecting all the infinity stones and gaining omnipotence in the new film, Avengers: Infinity War. How many infinity stones are there?
9. Marvel famously has post-credit sequences at the very end of its films. In the post-credit scene after Avengers Assemble, what are the Avengers eating?
10. Who succeeded J.A.R.V.I.S. as Tony Stark’s AI personal assistant?
11. What is the name of Peter Quill’s ship?
B. Heart of Gold
D. Millennium Falcon
12. Had things gone differently, which of these actors would have portrayed Tony Stark/Iron Man, the role that eventually went to Robert Downey Jr.?
A. Tom Hanks
B. Tom Cruise
C. Tom Felton
D. Tom Hiddleston
Martin Goodman (1908 - 1992), the publisher of pulp magazines, founded the company called Timely Publications that later became Marvel Comics. Marvel Entertainment was eventually acquired by The Walt Disney Company in 2009.
Marvel started as Timely Publications in 1939. By the early 1950s, the company was generally known as Atlas Comics. The Marvel branding began in 1961, the year the company launched several superhero titles created by the likes of Stan Lee (the long-running editor of Marvel Comics, and later its publisher and chairman), Jack Kirby, and Steve Ditko, among others.
Carl Burgos’ android superhero the Human Torch appeared in Timely’s first publication, Marvel Comics #1 (October 1939). The issue also included the first appearances of Bill Everett’s anti-hero Namor the Sub-Mariner.
The Avengers originally consisted of Ant-Man (who had become Giant-Man by issue #2), the Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, and the Wasp. Captain America was discovered trapped in ice in issue #4, and joined the group after he was revived.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the founding members Ant-Man and Wasp were cut from The Avengers (2012) because the film had too many characters and Ant-Man’s standalone movie had not yet been released.
The group’s battle cry is “Avengers Assemble!”.
Captain America - then a character of Timely Comics - was the titular hero of Captain America, a 1944 Republic black-and-white 15-part serial film (an episodic film that usually accompanied a longer movie) - the most expensive serial that Republic ever made - which was loosely based on the Marvel supersoldier, making it the first theatrical release connected to a Marvel character. The next theatrical release featuring a Marvel hero would not occur for more than 40 years.
Iron Man started the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008, kicking off what would become the world’s biggest franchise which has collectively grossed over $15.5 billion at the global box office. Divided into three phases, the series has since seen a total of 19 films:
- Phase One: Iron Man (2008), The Incredible Hulk (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor (2011), Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), and Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
- Phase Two: Iron Man 3 (2013), Thor: The Dark World (2013), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), and Ant-Man (2015)
- Phase Three: Captain America: Civil War (2016), Doctor Strange (2016), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Black Panther (2018), and Avengers: Infinity War (2018) (as well as the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018), Captain Marvel (2019), and an Untitled Avengers film (2019)
There are six Infinity Stones:
Whoever has all six gems gains immense power.
The Avengers are eating shawarma in the Avengers Assemble post-credit scene which was shot a day after the film’s global premiere. Captain America though isn’t eating in the scene because Chris Evans was filming Snowpiercer (2013) at the time and refused to shave off his beard.
FRIDAY - whose name might be an allusion to the term “girl Friday” - replaced J.A.R.V.I.S after the latter’s matrix was integrated with the Vibranium infused artificial body known as The Vision.
Peter Quill’s ship is The Milano, a customized M-ships that Quill used since he was ten years old for looting and piracy. The ship is named after his childhood crush Alyssa Milano.
In the original comics, Star-Lord’s ship was a sentient star called Aurora that was turned into a sentient spaceship by the Master of the Sun.
Years before Iron Man (2008) was made, the project was attached to many different stars and directors. At one point Tom Cruise was set to both star and produce the movie. By the time Marvel got the rights back in 2005, the actor had lost interest. Robert Downey Jr. was eventually cast in the role and went from being considered washed up to becoming one of Hollywood’s most beloved actors.