When I was six years old, I saw a film called “Iron Man.” It was a simple, self-contained story that hinted at something much better to come. I was blown away. Four years and four films later, Marvel released “The Avengers” – a film I felt was the biggest celebration of being a nerd I had ever seen. After that film came greater standalone Marvel films, “The Winter Soldier” being my favorite. Unfortunately, after those films, there was another “Avengers” film that was very weak. Afterward, the Marvel Comic Universe (M.C.U.) felt tired. Most of the films were great, but there was a clear lack of high stakes. The villains were predictably weak, and each film – while enjoyable – had to be left open-ended for sequels. This weighed down any chance of real change. It was frustrating. Even though I was really invested in the characters, I was starting to lose interest.
Thankfully, the M.C.U. is back on track. “Avengers: Infinity War” (released in April 2018) is awesome. There are so many enjoyable aspects to this film. To start, Marvel has fixed many, if not all, the problems I mentioned above. In the first five minutes of the film, there are serious stakes introduced through a great villain who creates real change by killing one of my favorite Marvel characters. High stakes, a great villain and (hopefully) lasting change in five minutes! The fact that they fixed all my issues would have been enough to leave me satisfied. But after the opening was over, there were still two hours and thirty-five amazing minutes left in the movie.
The work behind the scenes for this film is unbelievable. The Russo brothers (directors Anthony and Joe Russo) will get a lot of credit for this film. It’s not undeserved. Yet screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely should not be forgotten in the Russo brothers’ wake. The screenplay is fantastic and possibly the greatest balancing act of all time. It takes advantage of each major character’s flaws and strengths. That’s no small feat considering there are roughly 30 major characters in the film. It also balanced the funny tone that Marvel is known for, and the dark, hopeless tone that a film with the title “Infinity War” needs. Most importantly, the story is ballsy. There are 14 character deaths in this film. A Marvel film. We can assume that most of them are coming back because Spiderman and Black Panther are just too profitable. However, to still have that many popular characters killed at one time, is courageous for a production company.
“Avengers: Infinity War” is a massive cinematic achievement. It fixed the M.C.U.’s problems in five minutes. It had a fantastic screenplay. It balances the comedic moments that the franchise is known for with dark moments that hammer home the high stakes and add real weight to the film. More importantly, it makes a 16-year-old boy look back at his six-year-old self and remember his eyes being glued to “Iron Man” and feeling completely blown away. I won’t be alone in this feeling.
“Avengers: Infinity War” is an incredibly important film. It’s a film that will make all nerds around the world rejoice and remind us why we obsess over films and comic books. The film reinforces why we stick with franchises even when their quality falters – because every now and then a film like “Avengers: Infinity War” comes out, and we are all taken back to that childhood wonder. Thanks, Marvel, for 10 great years of nerdiness and one unbelievable film. Here’s to 10 more.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.