By Emerald Green
Fair warning: this is your SPOILER ALERT.
Trading $641 million worldwide for screams and tears, “Avengers: Infinity War” is the biggest global opening ever in cinematic history. After more than a year of anticipation, speculation, and frustrating teases, it was an epic movie event that did not disappoint in overall quality, only in events. Fans truly understood that this film was going to be much darker when the theme song that usually plays during the introduction title was replaced with a man’s chilling voice calling for help.
It is important to preface this by mentioning that Marvel Studios gave the “Infinity War” screenwriters permission to kill any characters they wished to, and they did. The movie begins with the entire civilization of Asgardian people dead, the plot directly following the credits scene of “Thor: Ragnarok” (2017) when a huge ship appeared after Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) save the people of Asgard from HeLa (Cate Blanchett). Within five minutes, Thanos kills Loki and Thor’s best friend, Heimdall (Idris Elba). It was a rough day for Thor and Loki stans (overzealous, obsessive fans).
Hulk is bifrosted to Earth, finally returning after more than two years. He lands almost on top of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in the New York sanctum, morphs back into Bruce Banner, and blurts out the words that would define the rest of the plot: “He’s coming. Thanos is coming.” Thanos (Josh Brolin), the baddest villain of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) plans to eliminate half of the universe to combat its overpopulation problem. As soon as he obtains all six Infinity Stones, he will acquire enough power to do so with just the snap of his fingers.
The Avengers reassemble, separately and in different parts of the universe, to defeat the Titan. We see Team Captain America for the first time since “Captain America: Civil War” (2016) when they were censured as criminals for breaking the United Nation’s Sokovia Accords.
It is not fair that Brolin was capable of communicating a complicated character such as Thanos. I was almost beginning to sympathize with the monster for his insane good intentions, but then he threw Gamora (Zoe Saldana), my green, Zen-Whobarian queen, off a cliff for some crummy piece of rock (the Soul Stone), and any hope for redeemable qualities were shattered along with Gamora’s body. Zoe Saldana’s performance was perfect and authentic, just like her. I am still in denial; I refuse to believe that the MCU would discard such a treasure.
Then, when Star Lord finds out that “his” girlfriend is dead, he ruins an ingenious plan and everything else. Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) and Spidey (Tom Holland) were so close to removing the gauntlet of Infinity Stones from Thanos’ grasp when Peter “Can’t-Wait-Two-Seconds Lord” Quill starts smashing Thanos’ purple face in with that lame laser gun. This is the first character Chris Pratt’s fans wanted to punch in the throat as opposed to hug. It was easy to forget the widespread adoration and admiration we all have for Chris Pratt because his delivery of his character’s emotional state was flawless.
In Wakanda, Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) swiftly, single-handedly, and emotionally destroys her boyfriend, Vision, and the Mind Stone, one of the strongest elements in the universe, in order to prevent annihilating the universe.
Unfortunately, her efforts proved to be in vain because Thanos used the Time Stone to reverse the last minute. Like her older twin sisters, Elizabeth Olsen’s acting skills are so remarkable that you forget that she is an actor and just not a character. Even though her Russian accent from her MCU debut in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (2015) has since disappeared, Elizabeth is my new favorite Olsen. Sorry, Mary Kate and Ashley, but your little sister has got it, dude.
We were just getting to know Vision, but he is obliterated when Thanos rips the final Infinity (Mind) Stone from his forehead, after just three years of being a real boy. Paul Bettany brought so much life and soul to a synthetic body created by artificial intelligence.
With the snap of those giant, Barney-like fingers, everything else was taken away from me in an instant. No one has ever hurt me the way Marvel has; I am swimming in uncharted emo territory. The list of characters that literally bit the dust seemed like an endless list of my favs:
The first to disappear is Bucky also known as our Winter Soldier. He left this Earth after 101 years, and it was too soon. Only Sebastian “stans” knew that the talented and versatile actor could deliver so much emotion into one final word: “Steve.”
The people that underestimated Tom Holland realized that they were erroneously mistaken when our pure, sweet Peter Parker, also known by his made-up name “Spider-man,” clutched onto his idol, his mentor “Iron Man” in his final moments and with his last breaths said the words that made me cry for the first time since 2012: “Mr. Stark, I don’t feel so good. I don’t know what’s happening… I don’t want to go, Mr. Stark. Please… I’m sorry.” It was at that moment that every frozen heart melted, and Tom Holland was nominated for an Academy Award.
T’Challa/Black Panther/King of Wakanda (Chadwick Boseman) is blown away into the wind while helping one of his citizens, Okoye (Danai Gurira) of the Dora Milaje. Wakanda forever? More like not.
Star Lord also died, but it was his own fault. We will miss his awesomeness and sarcasm nonetheless. The rest of the Guardians except for Rocket (Bradley Cooper), including my precious baby, Groot (Vin Diesel), the honest and confidently-awkward Drax (Dave Bautista), and innocent Mantis (Pom Klementieff) also die unjust deaths. Doctor Strange, the great wizard, “alakazams” into dust as well. In the after-credits-scene tradition, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), head of S.H.I.E.L.D. and creator of the original “Avengers Initiative,” and his second-in-command, Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) disintegrate as Fury hits a distress signal with a star insignia on a red and blue background. Can someone say “Captain Marvel” (2019)? Welcome, Brie Larson. Now, fix this.
The Marvel fandom expected Iron Man and Captain America (my number one manz, Chris Evans) to die, but we were fooled as if by Loki, the trickster god, himself (except that’s impossible because he’s dead). Surprisingly, Paul Rudd (Scott Lang/Ant-Man) and Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton/Hawkeye) were nowhere to be found throughout the film despite their characters’ expected appearances. You can’t turn to dust if you’re too small (literally and as a character of insignificance) to be in the movie.
It is rare that a complex film with a diverse ensemble such as this one includes (what would otherwise be) competing personalities that do not clash or distract from the bigger picture. Instead, this myriad of actors shared the spotlight beautifully. With that said, I will never forgive Marvel Studios for what they have done despite the magical graphics, untelling makeup and prosthetics, perfectly-choreographed fight scenes, Captain America’s beard, and innumerable, quotable one-liners. However, I will accept either the resurrection of my children or $480 million for emotional trauma. It makes sense that this only scored 84% on Rotten Tomatoes, a low score for Marvel Studios feature films and the lowest since “Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2” (2017) at 83%. Obviously, critics were not immune to the effects of the film, took the deaths of the characters we have all grown to love personally, and lowered the score accordingly. I don’t blame them.
The directors, the Russo Brothers, have not yet revealed the title of the fourth Avengers film because it would spoil the events of the current theatrical release, but title possibilities for the next one better include “Avengers: We’re not dead,” “Avengers: Captain America’s Beard,” and “Avengers: Everything The Fans Deserve.”