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– by David Kozlowski

Now that the waiting is over, and we’ve had a few hours to digest the amazing new Avengers: Infinity War trailer, let’s talk about what we saw and what we think it all means. Obviously, this is much more than just an Avengers movie, it’s the kind of over-the-top, star-studded, genre event that Hollywood hasn’t made since the era of The Longest Day (1962) or It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963).

The biggest question for everyone at LRM, and this is a preface for all of the topics below, is how the directors (Joe and Anthony Russo) and the writers (Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely) can possibly make a coherent plot that combines so many major characters, while also developing their villain (Thanos, played by Josh Brolin), and bringing it all to a satisfying conclusion that also sets up Avengers 4?

Related – Avengers: Infinity War Director Anthony Russo Doesn’t Think Marvel Knows Where To Go After Avengers 4

Fortunately, if Captain America: Civil War proved anything, it’s that this group of creators can successfully execute a high-profile, mega-team-up, superhero extravaganza; we should feel confident that this project is in the best possible hands, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have questions. We have many big questions!


Is This The World-Ending Narrative To End Them All?

At this point, yet another “world in peril” plotline is beyond cliched and tired, it’s become a joke and an anchor for the genre. To borrow videogame terminology, Thanos is the “ultimate” or “final” boss character we’ve been driving toward since The Avengers (2012), but what does he want besides possession of the Infinity Stones? More important, the story must deliver the gravitas and scope required to really make Avengers: Infinity War stand out from every other mega-team-up superhero movie that preceded it. No easy task.

Additionally, Thanos worships Death in the comic, it’s his core motivation, but what does that really mean? Avengers: Infinity War must be about more than a two-hour, running fist-fight — that’s nearly good enough anymore, as we’ve just learned from Justice League. Thanos wants to collect all of the Infinity Stones, and then test himself against Earth’s mightiest warriors. He wants to divide, humiliate, and conquer these heroes, and ultimately impress Death (note the capital ‘D’). That’s right, Death is a Marvel character, a deity, that Thanos wants to meet, challenge, or something even more diabolical, which might be the lead-in to Avengers 4, since we’re busy guessing stuff.

LRM Guesstimate:

For Avengers: Infinity War to succeed where Age of Ultron, X-Men Apocolypse and Justice League failed, it requires well-established stakes, the status quo upended (deaths, new alliances, etc.), and villains exhibiting a meaningful and resonant set of goals. At this point, if Thanos doesn’t come across as a truly charismatic figure with a mission that makes some kind of logical sense, then we’ve learned nothing from every MCU film that came before. The final act of Infinity War must deliver meaningful and resounding change to the MCU, and hopefully Thanos delivers on his promise as the best MCU villain yet (and if he’s really that compelling, don’t frigging kill him off in one film, either). Thanos also needs to be the unkillable equivalent to the Joker, Loki, and Magneto combined — he needs to be a continually recurrent presence deep into the MCU’s Phase 4!


How Does Magic And Mysticism Factor Into The Fight?

The six infinity stones that Thanos desire, and the Avengers (partly) possess, are the MacGuffin for this movie. Yes, this is another cliched premise, the “coveted object of power” that’s been around since Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps (1935). The stones give the bearer power over time, space, mind, power, soul, and reality — collectively, the ability to manipulate and reshape existence.

With the exception of Dr. Strange, most of Marvel’s MCU films have focused on science and technology as the underlying factors that make its universe tick. Magic (or mysticism, if you prefer), undermines these other principals. In other words, when our heroes are backed into a corner with no clear way out, magic can be used to cheat death via a spell or incantation, which can feel cheap and subvert the stakes.

LRM Guesstimate:
Avengers: Infinity War will continue to primarily focus on science and technology in their battle with Thanos. Dr. Strange will be taken off the board early, or otherwise distracted by Thanos’ lieutenants to mitigate his use of magic. By limiting mysticism, the rest of the Avengers will be forced to contend with both Thanos’ physical strength and also his mastery of the stones

The trailer shows that Thanos’ is in possession of (I think) the Space and Power stones, and he also tries to pry the Mind stone from Vision’s forehead. Dr. Strange possesses the Time stone (in his Eye of Agamotto pendant), The Collector holds the Reality stone, while Loki (at least temporarily) possesses the Space stone (hidden within the Tessaract). The Soul stone remains in the wind — I suspect it’s held in Wakanda.


Are The Avengers Officially Sanctioned Or Vigilante Outlaws?

The events in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War illustrated that the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. are on the outs with the governments of Earth. It’s not clear from this trailer whether the Avengers are fighting for any particular flag or organization (they shouldn’t be). So who do they represent, and how does this play out? I can’t see the American government standing down during Thanos’ worldwide nightmare.

The locations in the film also appear to be many and sprawling. From New York’s Sanctum Sanctorum, outer space in Starlord’s Milano, and a massive ground battle in Wakanda with Cap, Falcon, Iron Man, Black Widow, Winter Soldier, Black Panther, and Hulk racing toward a regiment-sized alien swarm. The scope of events in this film appear as epic as anticipated!

LRM Guesstimate:
The movie opens with the Avengers scattered and broken; Stark still nominally controls the Avengers, but only at partial strength (at best). Thanos arrives and takes down key national defenses. Lacking a sufficient global or planetary response, the UN calls for a full reinstatement of the Avengers, with a mandate to confront and defeat Thanos, which ultimately results in a new world order, with the Avengers validated as Earth’s official champions and protectors. One presumes that they will gain a status not unlike the Vatican — the head(s) of the Avengers reporting to the UN.

One other potential guesstimate is that the UN doesn’t call in the rest of the Avengers, but that Tony Stark himself does so, utilizing the phone he got from Cap at the end of Civil War.


Will There Be Room To Establish Relationships?

One of the best things about the MCU films have been their character dynamics. For many, the best scenes in the Avengers were the post-credits ‘shawarma meal’ and the ‘pick up my hammer’ party-game from The Avengers and Age of Ultron, respectively. However, in a film like Infinity War, with so damned many characters, where will they find time for such crucial, human moments?

Fans care deeply about these characters because we’ve spent a decade understanding who they all are beneathe their masks, so to speak. Now we’re getting this massive, character-dense film wherein Rocket Raccoon plays against Hulk, Captain America aligns with Black Panther, and a one-eyed Thor joins the Guardians (if only for a space-Uber transport back to Midgard). There’s so much to explore, and it’s mind-boggling to imagine how they’ll pull it off.

LRM Guesstimate:
As a publisher and a studio, Marvel knows that it’s bread-and-butter is based upon everyday people thrust into roles of heroism and sacrifice, but who still reside in a world where the rent is due at the end of the month. Avengers: Infinity War will find sufficient time for humor, pathos, and camaraderie that has marked their 18 films to-date (we’re counting Black Panther).

Based on the Avengers: Infinity War trailer, what are your guesses and expectations for the movie? Let us know in the comments down below!

Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters on May 4, 2018.

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SOURCE: Marvel

  • Kronx

    No way this doesn’t end on a cliffhanger.

    • TheOct8pus

      I’m thinking the same thing

      • Kratos

        i think it will end with thanos placing the last stone in the gauntlet…not giving us movie goers a sense of his true power until the 2nd part.

  • Jason Tyler

    Here’s a theory for you…

    I think it’s pretty obvious that Bruce fell through the roof of Strange’s Santcum Sanctorum. *say that 3 times fast*

    But we also see hulk in Wakanda…

    So my guess is Thor and Hulk encounter Thanos and co in space, which was what we saw at the end of Ragnarok. THey battle, Thanos punches Hulk so hard (with whatever gem he currently has), it separates Bruce from hulk, Hulk goes crashing down to wikanda and Bruce crashing down to NY at Strange’s place.

    😀

    • Mad Barchetta

      Holy shit! I almost wrote exactly the same thing, until I recalled a clip with Banner in Wakanda and decided I was daft! lol

      • Jason Tyler

        yea..I mean there are holes in my theory but that was my first thought

        • Mad Barchetta

          You and me both. Meanwhile, looking at it again, I notice that the clip with Banner in Wakanda (judging by the foliage – maybe I’m wrong) shows him next to what appears to be the gauntlet of the Hulkbuster armor. But, then I’m still wondering if Stark actually made some armor for Hulk. The clip of the Hulkbuster in action seems to show him moving more like Hulk than Tony.

    • And how would a Hulk separated Bruce survive a fall through space and into a building?

      • Jason Tyler

        its a comic book movie

  • MileHiBri

    Lord of the Rings seemed to pull off multiple characters in multiple different situations at the same time and still pulled off the character aspect. It can be done. Wouldn’t be surprised if this was a loose template on how to handle multiple characters who each have a large and important role to play. Especially since Feige is at the head of this ship and the Russos giving the navigation.

  • Jason Tyler

    P.S. Avengers 4 will be called “New Avengers”

    They said it’s untitled because it would be a spoiler and won’t be revealed until some time after Infinity War.

    Ant-Man, Wasp, Dr Strange, Spiderman, Captain marvel, one of the guardians all joining

  • Mad Barchetta

    I’m not so sure about the Soul Stone in Wakanda theory. The explanations for it are fine, actually, but I guess I feel averse to the idea that THREE of the SIX stones are on Earth. It would seem rather odd that these universally powerful stones would mostly end up on one planet. Sure, it’s mathematically possible, but just seems a stretch.

    One other explanation for them being Wakanda that I can think of would be that, with Thanos and his galactic army coming, the most advanced nation in the world would seem a safe place to try to protect them. With Vision and Dr. Strange having two stones in NYC and Upstate, the initial attack(s) could occur at one or both. If perhaps Earth’s heroes are able to temporarily fend off those attacks, they could decide to consolidate their forces in Wakanda as a way to best guard/defend the stones.

    It’s also notable that the Wakanda clips seem to show one group of people (Black Panther, Cap, Bucky, Hulk, Black Widow) while the NYC area ones show another (Spider-Man, Iron Man, Vision, Dr. Strange), and of course we have a third group with Thor and the GotG. Perhaps all of these groups don’t actually get together in this movie. (Edit – I take the back slightly…Hulk/Banner is in both.)

    I’ve wondered for a while if this movie will make Thanos the protagonist, following his around while he gathers the stones. Maybe not 100% on him, but with him as the focus and the audience seeing the various battles he wages to get the stones. So, we see him battle Thor and the Asgardians for the Space Stone, then to NYC for the Mind and Time Stones, then to Wakanda for? The Soul Stone, if that theory is correct.

    Final thought…did anyone else think the gait of the Hulkbuster (Of should I call it Veronica?) seemed a bit like the Hulk? Would Tony actually make a suit for the Hulk? Nah…

    • TheOct8pus

      The soul stone is definitely on Wakanda. Have you seen the cast of Black Panther? So much soul….

  • Saranac

    Imagine the witty banner that will go on: What happened to your Eye? My sister beat me up. Where’s your hammer? My sister, again. You beat her right? … Right? Maybe. Maybe????

    Or.

    Who are you? Dr. Bruce Banner, you? Dr. Strange. I feel like I’m torn between two people. I’m not that kind of Doctor.

David Kozlowski is a writer, podcaster, and visual artist. A U.S. Army veteran, David worked 20 years in the videogame industry and is a graduate of Arizona State University’s Film and Media Studies.