This review contains spoilers. Not as many as you’d think, however, because I’m still not entirely sure what just happened?
As someone who spends most of their waking hours, professionally and otherwise, considering and/or writing about considering music, I can tell you with the ultimate authority: the only thing super about supergroups is found in the fact that a lot of totally talented people forced to collaborate in ways outside of their routine usually makes for diluted crap, nonsense where genius/stubborn artists butt heads with other genius/stubborn artists for a record, or song, whatever, that sells well but is ultimately forgettable and usually, just, like, terrible. (This proves my point.) I’d assume that’s how the general public would react to Avengers: Infinity War, but apparently I am wrong because it just had the biggest opening weekend of any flick, ever, and there are, like, 90,000 superheroes in it—most, I assume, who’ve had their own movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe prior to this film. (Relatedly: I just learned MCU does not stand for Municipal Credit Union for a large chunk of the population.)
I assume this because I am a person in the world, and could’ve sworn there was already an Avengers film. As it turns out, this is somehow the fifth. I also assume this because Infinity War was either full of glaring plot holes or it presumed you and I, dear reader, have seen all 800 movies in the MCU, have a deep understanding of their chronology and perhaps even possess the ability to identify all 90 million superheroes in it. You don’t even need to see this damn blockbuster to feel overwhelmed by that—look at the poster above. Who are those people? It’s like looking at my damn Facebook feed, if Scarlett Johansson and I went to NYU together.
Infinity War begins with a war scene (duh, dummy), a bunch of alien corpses and a guy who looked like Squidward from Spongebob Squarepants and is soon insulted as such by Robert Downey Jr., who is Iron Man, but also a man who used to get fucked up with Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Kim Richards in real life, which immediately distracts me into thinking about what would happen it Richards married Iron Man. Squidward says some prayer to the dead about the dead and the entire thing is very cultish. The god, in this case, is a giant Purple dude named Thanos (who is latter called “Grimace,” like the McDonalds character, by Chris Pratt, who plays a guy with mutton chops and questionable taste in music. No one in my theater laughed at the reference, either because they missed it or I’m 100 years old.)
Thanos is really mad at Taylor Swift’s ex-boyfriend, the British one everyone was like “he’s too old for you” and wore the Taylor Swift tank top, you know the one? Instead of his natural blonde hair he’s rocking a Severus Snape look, which kinda also makes him look like Nick Cave. He dies almost immediately, but not before revealing his name is Loki (I write this down, because I have a Danish friend named Loke, but also because I expected him to live more than 10 minutes into the film.)
One of the Hemsworth brothers plays Taylor Swift’s ex-boyfriend’s brother and gets really sad when Taylor Swift’s ex-boyfriend is murdered in front of him. He also talks like this. We jet to New York City, to the lair of Benedict Cucumbersandwich. He’s a wizard with a very bad American accent. Did he ever date Taylor Swift? Iron Man shows up, briefly ditching his wife Gwyneth Paltrow. At this point, there are too many famous people already and I’m trying to figure out which one is the Hulk, because I know what the Hulk is. The Hulk is fucking Mark Ruffalo.
So Mark Ruffalo, Bennie, Iron Man and some other guys are like, “Something weird is happening, Thanos is coming to Earth.” They find out that Thanos wants to collect six infinity stones that control the universe, and he’s jetting all over NYC and Scotland to find them. That is...literally the plot to the best video game of all time, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, but also kind of the plot to Rampage, so honestly, I’m distracted.
At this moment, we’re about 30 minutes into the film. The older gentlemen to my right, who somehow managed to sneak in a full deli sandwich into the Manhattan movie theater we’re in, is fully asleep to the point of snoring. I’m a bit jealous. There are too many characters in this movie for anyone to really summarize it in a cohesive manner, so here’s what I got: One of the Hemsworths teams up with some of the Guardians of the Galaxy (I know this is mutton chops and a tree and some other guys) to go get a big axe or hammer or something. One of these superheroes is an insect-human-empath hybrid named Mantis, which is all kinds of problematic and really reinforces dangerous tropes of the submissive, subdued, infantilized Asian woman.
That is distracting, but it’s also distracting that there are, like, 90 billion alien species and superheroes in this universe and women are still othered and marginalized? In one scene, Thanos tells his daughter she’s “the most fierce woman in the galaxy,” or whatever, because he made her that way, and then he kills her. Can’t get a goddamn break on any planet.
Another fucked up thing: most of the fighting in this movie, too, takes place in Wakanda, the fictional African setting of Black Panther, a good movie that I watched. Why are they fighting in and destroying the only good place in this universe? Also, there were like 9 trillion opportunities to save all living things by killing just one or two dudes and they decided to not do that and then half the universe died, I presume, because those actors wanted out of their contracts. What the fuck, guys? Like supergroups, these superheroes are idiots together.
I will say this: The most redeeming feature of this film is little sweet baby boy SpiderMan, but they fucking kill him or evaporate him into the ether or something. I don’t know, dude. I will also say this: I drank a cherry coke for the first time in like 15 years to sit through a Monday afternoon screening of this money maker, and it was delicious.