Marvel's Infinity Saga Sucked
It was worse than awful. It was pointless. I can prove it.
STOP! Don't take another step, or I'll KILL YOUR DOG!
Be careful with that vial! If you drop it, YOU'LL DESTROY THE WORLD!
Don't trust the good guys - they're ACTUALLY THE BAD GUYS and are planning to OBLITERATE ALL OF TIME AND SPACE!
Ahhhhh, consequences. Gotta love 'em.
You can't engage with a story without heavy consequences.
Think about it. When was the last movie you saw when there was literally no consequence to worry about?
Even Sonic the Hedgehog has a hero saving the world from a bad guy hell-bent on destruction.
The biggest consequence is death.
- The death of Han Solo. Yeah - we all got our guts wrenched out when that happened.
- The death of Ellie. Yeah - it happens in the opening of the movie, but it has all the feels. It shapes the entire story of UP!
- The death of Bambi's mum. Yeah - I went there. You can feel the tears welling already, can't you?
And then you get the awful Infinity Saga of Misdirected Consequences.
What are you talking about? Half the universe died!
Oh, you refer to the tragic deaths of Spider-Man, Dr Strange, and the billions of other sentient beings ... even Groot!
NOOOOOO! Not Groot! Not again!
Yes. Even Groot. Again. All turned to dust. Never to be seen again.
What an awesome consequence! Except, hold on ... yeah. You know where this is going.
Just like the comic books they came from, when a favourite character is killed off, there's a strange habit of them coming back as if nothing happened. Usually accompanied by a new first issue with numerous variant covers (each sold separately) once the outrage has reached a cash generation apex.
That's where the Infinity Saga went wrong. We all saw it coming. We'd already read it.
You knew. I knew. They'd all be back.
Even if you hadn't read the actual comic version of the Infinity Stone Saga, you remember when Superman died, or when Spider-Man gave it all up for good, or when the Fraggles drank the Kool-Aid.
OK, that last one didn't happen. But it'd be a great issue, don't you think?
Where did Marvel go wrong?
It's incredible that a franchise as popular, and brilliantly set up as the Marvel Cinematic Universe could botch it up so effortlessly.
Until the final two-part movie, pretty much every other instalment had an awesome consequence!
Not only did they make us sit up and take notice, but also pay way too much money to see them multiple times at the cinema before buying a digital copy later. All twenty of them. TWENTY!
And don't try to tell me that nothing of this scale had ever been attempted before, I'm totally impressed by the scale of Marvel's Cinematic Universe.
A number of their crossover movies were incredible, the first Avengers and Thor: Ragnarok particularly. You may recall these movies had mighty fine consequences.
That word again. It's where Marvel wen't wrong.
SFX aren't consequences
I hear you mounting a defence of these disasters by pointing to mind-boggling battles, the eye-opening special effects, the unprecedented box office.
Sure, Avengers: Infinity War may be the most successful movie of all time, roping in $2.8 BILLION for the House of Mouse (AKA Disney), edging out its predecessor on a paltry $2.48 BILLION, and helping the entire saga to a combined 22.5 BILLION (I cannot capitalise that word enough) BILLION DOLLARS!
My retort? Money does not equal quality.
You can have all the gold toilets in the world, it doesn't make you classy.
Sure, the effects went to a new level. Those battle sequences were beyond insane.
But when you already know the ending, how can you care about what's happening even if it's a multi-million dollar battle to end all battles?
Marvel's three failings
They had already made big noise about this being the wrap-up of a 23-movie story arc, with contracts for a number of high profile actors ending at movie 22 (Infinity War).
Lo and behold: Robert Downey Jnr and Chris Evans were two of the high-profile actors whose contracts were about to expire.
Failure number one: we knew Marvel wasn't going to pay through the nose to keep actors when they've already got new stories in development with a suite of others. This was always going to be the final movie for Captain America and Tony Stark - the only question being if they were going to die at the end. One did, the other got old. Big surprise.
A consequence has to have meaning outside of the movie studio making money by not extending an actor's contract.
Deus Ex Machina
This wonderful term is an old Greek concept that saw people being saved at the end of a play when there was no possible way for them to escape ... because a God was lowered from the sky.
The answer to an impossible situation literally came from nowhere. It's the ending we all hate.
If your finale only works because of a new character or object that's introduced minutes before the end, then that's just bad storytelling.
Ladies and gentlemen: may I present Captain Marvel and Ant-Man and the Wasp.
In between the two linchpin Avengers movies, we were introduced to the two deus ex machinas of Infinity War: time travel and a being so powerful she was practically invincible.
Failure number two: from the moment Carol Danvers was introduced, any rational explanation for battling a villain like Thanos went out the window. She's invincible! A purple guy with a glove ain't got a chance!
Unless it was a hybrid of Prince and Michael Jackson. The purple guitar with a glitter glove? That's pretty much unstoppable.
Introducing time travel? There goes every future story featuring Ant-Man or Dr Strange. Problem need fixing? No worries - we can time travel now.
It's so sad that after 21 movies, the unbeatable villain gets taken down twice using the two new deus ex machinas added in at the last minute during the last two movies that sandwiched the finale. Poor storytelling.
To The Eternals, and Beyond!
Let's not kid ourselves, entertainment is a business. They're going to keep cranking out Marvel Universe movies for as long as they make a profit.
The seeds were sown in the last few movies for the next major phase in Marvel's development: the Skrulls and the coming of The Eternals.
Sure, we'll continue to have the occasional flick from the Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor, but we're moving into new pastures now. Greener pastures. More lucrative pastures of green. (As in pastures made of money? Because, oh, never mind. If I've got to explain it...)
Failure number three: with a new slate of movies planned, and having an understanding how comic books work, we all know there's going to be a new guy dressed up as Captain America, and we already know there's a suit out there for a female version of Iron Man. It's going to happen.
Unless a character is killed off without seeing a possible replacement around the corner, you can't invest an emotional connection. Aside from the loss of Vision (poor guy - he must have had rocks in his head to think wearing an infinity stone in his forehead was a good idea), the only other characters who died all have their replacement pretty much ready to go.
So what was the point?
I dunno. It sure wasn't to give a satisfying climax to an epic undertaking.
Unlike Logan it wasn't trying to pave new ground in comic book storytelling.
Maybe it was just a shameless grab for cash by a monumental money-making machine looking for ways to improve their stock price and appease their stockholders.
Nah. That would be too obvious.