Avengers Infinity War — Thoughts on Thanos

29 Apr

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

  • Spoiler Alert

Avid followers of Marvel Entertainment’s works have reason to cheer. The ten-year ride to get to Avengers: Infinity War is finally here!

Essential to this film is knowing the events from the previous Avengers, Captain America, Guardians of the Galaxy films. The story continues from where Thor:Ragnarök left off.  When considering the focus is finally on the mad Titan Thanos, to learn about his back story is the highlight of this film.

All the other subplots about a very busy group of heroes preparing for his “coming” feels secondary. While much of it is fun in the vein akin to the first Avengers film, sometimes I wonder if will these good guys will ever learn from their mistakes? It’s fun to watch, but to protect the universe from dying requires everyone to get on the same page instead of a battle of wills. After watching this film for the second time, I can see that between three characters. Stark’s id is the biggest of them all, with Strange being the ego and Starlord as the superego when his manhood is challenged.

This villain can easily take advantage of this fact to deal more than a simple death-blow. This version is different from the version created by Jim Starlin, creator of the Infinity saga. Key to the printed works is the fact Thanos is a Destroyer of Worlds, and he is killing relentlessly to woo Lady Death (not DC’s Vertigo character or Chaos Comics). No clues point to this subplot. This author revealed when he came up with this character, but I can not help but wonder if those days included Greek and Roman Studies?

Thanos is the short form of Athanasios (meaning Immortal) and Infinity Wars moves like a  Greek Tragedy. In history, anyone with that surname were well-known Saints or Revolutionaries. Some inspiration may have come from there when writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely were adapting Stalin’s works. They definitely crafted a cosmic version of Jozef Stalin. This cinematic version is a zealot. His goal is to wipe out the populations of many worlds. To do so quickly and effortlessly means possessing all the Infinity Stones. His motivation to cut the status quo is to allow resources not be strained due to overpopulation. This movie could have gone further to turn his war upon civilization for all to worry about, and I am thankful it did not. With comic book films, they are meant to entertain than to hammer ideologies across.

If any “humanity” exists in him at all, it’s in who he allowed into his inner circle. He has no family. If they existed once, that’s before he destroyed his own world, the moon Titan orbiting Saturn. The fact he lives a couple of planetary houses down is scary.

This purple people hater has very few people whom he trusts completely. When it’s not with Gamora (Zoë Saldana), it is with his Generals. Just where Nebula fits in is a conundrum. From his war party, Ebony Maw (wonderfully played by Tom Vaughan-Lawlor) is the most feared. He makes the Ori from Stargate SG-1 pale in comparison.

In a very loaded film, I enjoyed learning about this villain’s back history the most. The heroes offer nothing new to discover, and any character development between the romantic couples comes through as unimportant to the primary tale of preparing to face Thanos. With no other surviving Eternals to help or Adam Warlock (he’s key to stopping this villain in the books), this new tale gives a different take. Thanos is very alone in his opinion in how the universe should work. He is branded as evil and mad for his heretic views. I felt sympathy for this devil because Brolin manages to convey a convincing sense of reasoning in his performance. Although much of it is disguised with a whole smack ton of CGI over his face, his intonation did all the work.

But a digital performance can only go so far, and the simplified script of having to explain nearly every scene took some of the edges off. Even on an IMAX screen, I had to scratch my head at wondering where are those tears Gamora speaks of?

Thanos makes it known that killing fellow Immortals is hard work. He’s not Kratos from God of War. This demigod makes slaying complete pantheons look easy. As for what this film entails is a setup for next year’s sequel and the intern films. It is as much of a Part One type of film as Kill Bill was, and the true finale will be much more interesting when the armistice, slated for release May 4, 2019, is released.

4 Avenging Angels out of 5

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