It was the summer of 2012. A ten-year-old, yours truly, was excited about going for a superhero movie. I expected the usual Batman and Superman stuff – the only superheroes I knew at the time – but what I got was completely different. “Who is this red and yellow robot? Who is that American flag sporting guy? Why is that chap carrying a hammer?” These questions intrigued me as I sat confused in the auditorium. But I did not come back disappointed. I enjoyed my time at the theater, and yet another ‘Avengers’ fan was born.
Mesmerized, I had little idea of who or what I had seen. Just watching the many superheroes on the big screen, all at the same time, was an experience like no other. I went home, googled and found that it was not the first film, but a part of a series of films. I watched each of those films several times then on, until Iron Man 3 hit the screen.
A poster for Iron Man 3
I have never missed a first-day, first-show screening since. While Winter Soldier was the best movie of all, I enjoyed the very funny Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as Ant-Man. Avengers: Age of Ultron, though was not as good as the first, it still retained a place in my mind, in the section tagged the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel Phase 3 amped up the level by another degree. Civil War, Thor Ragnarok and Black Panther quickly made up my top five picks.
I will say, all these movies were the best-of-the-best and none disappointed; but, Avengers had made a promise to me, one that I did not realize at the time. Seeing Thanos in the end credits scene of Avengers did not mean much then, but as time passed on, it built up, with speculation and 6 years of waiting, to a film that I reckon was the best of all-time: Avengers: Infinity War.
Does my bias speak? Perhaps. Was it actually the best movie ever made? Surely. Am I exaggerating? Good heavens, no. Infinity War was all its fans wanted, everything they needed it to be.
Thanos, but you knew that already.
Not since Loki have we had a villain as complex and fierce as Thanos, the Mad Titan. In the first five minutes of Infinity War, we are introduced to him in a way that established him strongly as the villain to cap all villainy. Killing Heimdal, beating up the Hulk to a pulp and killing Loki, all in a matter of minutes. Some introduction to a long-awaited villain!
Thanos is at the center of Infinity War. Not only is he the Big Baddie, but one with character. He has a purpose, a goal he wants to achieve: to save the universe. He loves his daughter Gamora, but is willing to sacrifice her, to bring balance to the universe. Almost Abraham-like in character.
But this is just one aspect of Infinity War. You have got the Avengers coming together, along with the Guardians and fresh heroes like Doctor Strange and Black Panther. The movie does not focus on all heroes equally — but then, it doesn’t need to. Every character has their moment of glory, and some end up more equal than others. The screen truly erupted in this epic.
The crowd cheered their heroes on, making for an interactive cinematic experience for all. Tony wearing nano-tech armor, Captain America emerging from behind the train, the song playing to cue in the Guardians of the Galaxy, the introduction of Spiderman, the faceoffs between Doctor Strange and Thanos and Ironman versus Thanos, the Wakanda theme in the background when Black Panther came on, Scarlett Witch battling in Wakanda… the moments were fast and thick in coming. The fans lived it up.
They reserved their participation in the unfolding story for the best scene: Thor arriving in Wakanda along with Rocket and Groot screaming “Bring Me Thanos!” all with the Avengers theme in the background.
The movie is not merely an action film but has marked emotional content. Loki dying right at the beginning, Tony Stark being stabbed by Thanos, Gamora killed by Thanos for the Soul Stone: all sad and depressing scenes make for very heart wrenching scenes.
But what defines the movie is its ending. Just as the climax reaches an emotional high with Thanos stabbing Tony and Scarlett Witch forced to kill Vision, the movie takes a sudden turn. Thanos turns back time and fetches the Mind Stone. The movie doesn’t end at that juncture either. It has Thor stab Thanos with Storm Breaker, even as he says, “You were going to die for that!” Fans heaved a happy sigh that Thor saved the day.
But then came the dreaded line, “You should have aimed for the head!” At this point, the hall was awestruck. Most held their breath till Thanos snapped his fingers and the screen turned white. We see the Infinity Gauntlet broken and Thanos getting away, confusing everyone. Then one by one Bucky, Falcon, Wanda and Black Panther fade into dust.
Thanos had done it. He had completed his mission. We hear fear in the Drax saying, “Quill”. He disappears; so do Mantis and Quill. Doctor Strange fades away too, saying “It was the only way! “ Back on Earth, Rocket witnessed Groot fading away.I like this!