Today, ten years of Marvel movies have lead to us adding Avengers: Infinity War to the home library. It is hard to believe that it all started with Iron Man in 2008. Yet, I have to admit there are three Marvel movies that really added to the punch of Infinity War. Without these three films, I don't think Infinity War would have had as much emotional weight. Those three films are Thor: Ragnarok, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Black Panther. I won't go too deep on that subject now, but reference those three movies the most, in AFJ's "A Quick 10 Things We Love About Avengers: Infinity War". #AFJ4LIFE
Iron Man and Spider-Man's Relationship
Peter Parker: Uh, what is this guy's problem, Mr. Stark?
Tony Stark: Uh, he's from space, he came here to steal a necklace from a wizard.
Without the emotional big brother push of Tony Stark in Spider-Man: Homecoming, each and every scene in Infinity War would have fallen flat. The chemistry between Robert Downey Jr. and Tom Holland is beyond perfect. From the moment Peter shows up because there is trouble, in defending his own choice to stay on the flying donut, you can feel the concern and over protectiveness of Tony towards Peter. These moments make his Avengers christening and his eventual loss all the more powerful. All this falls flat without a stand-alone Spider-Man film.
Spider-Man being Spider-Man
"You can't be a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man if there's no neighborhood."
There are those instances when fans of a character, portrayed on screen, will claim which actor is theirs, from Doctor Who to James Bond. This isn't the case for Tom Holland's Spider-Man/ Peter Parker. In every instance, he is the Spider-Man we wanted and deserved. Thank you, Sony and Marvel for allowing this to go to fruition. Now bring him back already, because those final moments are still rough.
"Wow. This is a real wake-up call for me. Okay, I'm gonna get a Bowflex. I'm gonna commit. I'm gonna get some dumbbells."
There are so many strong personalities in each of the Marvel movies, I thought for sure someone would get lost. Making Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) jealous (in a playful manner) of Thor was fantastic. It allowed the character to be true to himself without taking anything away from the overall plot. Finally giving him Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and then ripping her away, was great too.
"I'm only alive because fate wants me alive. Thanos is just the latest of a long line of bastards, and he'll be the latest to feel my vengeance - fate wills it so."
I hate saying it, but, to me, the first two Thor movies felt like assigned homework. I got them in on time and was all caught up with the character. Ragnarok was a treat and really brought Thor full circle as a character. If all we had was Thor 1 and 2, then Infinity War, I don't think people would have cared about losing Loki, the Asgardians, or even his hammer. Ragnarok made him more human than ever before. Ragnarok made his fate all the more precious to the fans. Thank you, Taika Waititi.
Ebony Maw - Masterful Villain
"Hear me and rejoice. You have had the privilege of being saved by the great Thanos. You may think this is suffering, no. It is salvation. The universal scale tips toward balance because of your sacrifice. Smile. For even in death, you have become children of Thanos."
Henchmen and righthand men come and go pretty quickly. They are the smaller big heavy for our heroes to overcome first, before the really big guy. Ebony Maw (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor) was colder than cold and a real threat in a matter of minutes. His little opening speech sent chills down our spines and his hush let us know he was not to be messed with. If only James Bond villains had more guys like Maw.
Time for Humor
Steve Rogers: [to Thor] New haircut?
Thor: Looks like you've copied my beard. By the way, this is a friend of mine, the tree.
Groot: I am Groot!
Steve Rogers: I am Steve Rogers.
The film itself is loaded with epic fights and literally trillions of lives at stake. A quick joke or playful jab might have gotten lost for more screen time or a number of other reasons. The simple exchange above is why we love Infinity War. Not only do Captain America (Chris Evans) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) say hello to one another, there is a joke between them, all the while throwing another joke in introducing Captain America to Groot (Vin Diesel).
The Red Skull's Fate
"A lifetime ago, I too sought the stones. I even held one in my hand. But it cast me out, banished me here, guiding others to a treasure I cannot possess".
Since his final appearance in Captain America: The First Avenger, fans have been wondering when the Red Skull will return. Behind-the-Scenes, we know that Hugo Weaving did not want to reprise his role. We are also two sequels in and if the Red Skull did return it would feel like a step backward after where Winter Soldier and Civil War took us. To see the Red Skull (now played by Ross Marquand) unmask himself as the Stonekeeper made perfect sense. In the comic book, he rises and rises again as writers come up with new ways to bring him back. For the movies, this completed his journey and took him out of circulation.
Back to Wakanda
"You are in Wakanda now. Thanos will have nothing but dust, and blood."
I don't think audiences expected the Black Panther film to have the weight it did. I would like to think that Marvel knew and placing the final battle in Wakanda was just icing on the cake. Another battle in New York would have been boring. Bringing all of T'Challa's warriors together with our prior knowledge of who each one was, made "Wakanda Forever" the audiences' battle cry.
Tony Stark: [after Strange gives Thanos the Time Stone] Why did you do that?
Dr. Stephen Strange: We're in the end game, now.
Again, it goes with what I said about big personalities. One is a scientist, Tony Stark, the other is a wizard, Stephen Strange, how do you make this work? Well, you throw both magic and science at them at the same time. The forced team-up and quick back and forth made seeing the two Sherlock Holmes all the more worthwhile. It also brought Stephen Strange up to speed as his stand-alone movie really had no interaction with the MCU. I cannot wait to see more of Benedict Cumberbatch's Strange, hopefully, with Holland's Spider-Man.
Ten Years of Marvel Movies
It was not an easy ride. There were mistakes made (See Thor: The Dark World and The Incredible Hulk). Marvel is not immune to problems and creative differences (let's not bring those up at all). For this Marvel fan who was raised on Christopher Reeve's Superman (1978), Michael Keaton's Batman (1989), and had to endure Dolph Lundgren's The Punisher (1989) and Matt Salinger's Captain America (1990), I know we are in a golden age of comic book heroes on the big screen. Can Marvel keep it up? When will the bubble pop? Will our beloved characters and the actors that play them age out of relevancy? Is that even possible with Marvel? I for one, look forward to the next 10 years.