This can’t contain spoilers for two reasons:  1) you’ve probably already seen the movie, and 2) you can’t spoil something that’s already rotten.  “Avengers” is already in the title, so you sort of know what you’re getting.  Except now the geniuses at Marvel weren’t content to limit their ability to develop any characters by including too many Avengers; now they add in commercials for Guardians of the Galaxy and Black Panther.  I’m not sure what the brat version of Spider-Man was doing in it, but at least he got killed.

When I was just a baby, the major networks had fall preview shows for all of the upcoming Saturday Morning Cartoons.  The whole line-up got like two minutes to entice you into viewing.  Infinity War was like that–without the enticing part.

The “surprise” ending?  That’s just another name for “disappointing.”  The happy message to the kids?  Give up.  Or, that ugly chin dude is probably right.  At the end of the day population control is the only answer to saving the universe.  Go Thanos!

Three possible reasons behind the infinitely boring infomercial:

  1. The writers strike of 2007 is still going on.
  2. Marijuana is too easy to get now.
  3. The current group of people creating movies spent too many hours in the basement playing video games.

 

The “plot” is a hero’s quest of sorts.  The hero is Thanos.  He wants to complete his jewel glove.  He begins collecting.  A group of heroes try to stop him from getting the jewels.  They pretty much suck at that since they have been busy stealing one-liners from middle school bathrooms and engaging in Facebook-like drama with each other.  The hero completes his quest pretty easily.  I would say “without a scratch,” but he manages to get one scratch.

The borrowed ethical dilemma being explored is ostensibly the question of the value of one v. many.  Do you sacrifice the life of one to save the lives of many?  Do you let the train squish one person to save everyone on the train?  What if the one person is a baby?  What if the one person is your lover?  The question is interesting–at least if you ponder it outside the movie theater.  If you could fire one high-paid Avenger actor to hire a stable of actual writers, would you?   Leaving Hawkeye off the roster didn’t save enough cash.  So, how does the dilemma play out?

  1. Gamora offers her life to save humanity.  Quill sort of goes along with it.  The attempt is foiled.
  2. Dr. Strange says he will sacrifice others to save humanity.  He forgets that vow.
  3. Vision offers up himself to save humanity.  Scarlet Witch sort of goes along with it.  The attempt is foiled.  They should have watched the first part of the movie.
  4. Thanos offers the life of the one he loves to save humanity by destroying half of it.  Winner!

So there we have it:  the question is answered.  Most of the Avengers represent saving themselves or the elite at the expense of the universe; a few try to sacrifice for the greater good, but their failure shows that they don’t know what the greater good is.  Thanos alone represents altruism and righteous sacrifice.  All hail Thanos!  He’s the hero.  He’s got the quest.  He makes the hard ethical decision and profits from it.  I can see how viewers may have gotten it wrong because of the title.  They couldn’t name it Thanos Superstar Saves the Universe, though for obvious financial reasons.  He doesn’t have the blockbuster history behind him.  I suspect that soon Disney will be releasing movies with “Star Wars:” in front of the title, regardless of what the movie is about.  Star Wars: The Return of Herbie the Love Bug, Star Wars: Mickey’s Revenge, Star Wars:  The Phantom of the Opera.

 

For further insight, let’s look behind the scenes in the writers suite:

On day one, a writer who is a recent graduate of Harvard, comes to the meeting with pages of notes on how to develop the age-old ethical question through narrative and character development. 
We have to let the audience fall in love with the one who will ultimately be scarified to save the universe,” he says.    A man from marketing raises his cigar above his head.  “We need the audience to fall in like with every potential action figure in this damn hero explosion,” he says.  “Find me kids begging for ethical question toys for Christmas and I’ll let you continue.”  He scans the eyes of everyone in the room.  “Now, let’s get back to the stuff that really matters–super fast-paced fighting, post-credit scenes, and the Stan Lee cameo.”  Everyone cheers.  The Harvard grad is killed on the spot for the good of the movie.

A young idealistic writer–let’s call him Chad–suggests that Dr. Strange should be the one hero who can think beyond the immediate emotional situation and logically weigh all options, focus on the fate of the universe, and all that.  “I’ll let all you freaks die to save my infinity stone deal,” he says–or something like that.  Chad takes an extended toilet break.  In his absence, the others decide Chad is a douche, and his ideas will take away from the action scenes.  Those can be left to the computer geeks to create and will free up more writing time for their side gigs blogging about meeting Chris Pratt.  They lock the door and Chad, easily beaten, disappears forever.  So when push comes to push (never even a shove), Strange gives up all he believes in.  “Oh my goodness, big man,” he shrieks.  “You’ve intimidated someone I barely know for nearly five seconds.  Here’s my jewel. Destroy everyone!”

Another writer, Paul, suggests that the Stark/Pepper relationship could be used to hold the movie together.  They are engaged.  Stark promises no surprises.  Pepper wants him to settle down (yes, she has become Ma on Little House).  People want these two to be together.  “Maybe he wavers back and forth about going on the mission.  He decides to stay with Pepper first.  Others beg him to help.  When he determines that the mission is doomed anyway, maybe he decides to spend whatever time he has left with her.  That could be a great way to save the dismal ending.”  Paul is a friend of Chad’s, so he is fired.  “All we need is a little Pepper.  Let’s have Stark leave immediately without any further thought of Pepper instead.  People like him to be a jerk.”  Everyone applauds.  They are happy that now they have more room in the script to point out important things the audience might miss:  Thor has shorter hair; Captain America grew a beard; Quinn gained a couple pounds.

Other Take-Aways: 

  1. Thousands of warriors for the other side are slaughtered without thought by the Avengers.  These represent the audience members.
  2. Lots of heroes hold up their hands in David Copperfield sorts of ways to make colorful death balls fly out of their fingers.  Cool trick.  They should do that more often.
  3. On the battlefield, women seek out women to fight.  Marvel is highly segregated.
  4. Bruce Banner becomes Hulk impotent.  It’s cool when he strains like he’s taking a dump and his head turns a little green.  I miss Lou Ferrigno.
  5. Tony Stark and Thor seem to have lost weight, making them appear less, well, heroic.  I’m reminded of Christopher Reeves after the first Superman, when he started to look more and more like Freddie Mercury from Queen.  I love Freddie Mercury, but I never expected him to save the planet.

In the end, we’re left with a longish screen capture from an adolescent’s video game, a few one-liners, and many unanswered questions.  Is population control needed to save the world?  Should we cull the herd?  Does killing people at random make it fair?  What if the worst half remains?  Does the amount of dust created by vaporizing everyone cause global darkening?

Please discuss among yourselves.