Monday, May 7, 2018

To Infinity (War) and Beyond! (more thoughts)

Okay, actually, not beyond. We're gonna stop right here and talk some more about this movie.
Or, more precisely, we're going to talk about stupid things people keep saying.
And, yes, I'm not going to be wary of spoilers, so you've had all the warning you're going to get.

Look, I understand if you're upset by all the deaths.You should be upset by all the deaths. Death is upsetting. BUT!
1. They're fictional characters.
2. There's another movie coming. Oh, wait, you didn't realize this was just the first part of two movies? Well...

  • A. Where have you been?
  • B. This is just the first movie of two.
  • C. Even if you didn't know that, the end-credit scene should have clued you in that something was going on.
In regards to all the death and the general bleakness of the ending, I have seen people protesting that it's a violation of the genre.
Wait... What?
What genre? The super hero genre? Because if that's what you're saying, you're obviously not very familiar with the actual super hero genre and only know about super heroes from movies. Comics have dark endings (and dark stories) all the time. ALL THE TIME! This movie doesn't stand out as an exception in that respect. Now, if you're saying it doesn't have the typical happy Hollywood ending, well, that's true. But, then, Marvel hasn't been doing anything the typical Hollywood way from the beginning. If they had been, we would never have arrived at this movie juncture. In fact, we would never have had Iron Man, either. Or Thor. And certainly not Ant-Man. Hollywood wisdom also said Black Panther was a movie that would never succeed. There's been a push for a Black Panther movie since the 90s and, even now, with all of the other Marvel successes, "Hollywood" believed the movie wouldn't succeed.

But as for genres, make sure you know what you're talking about before you open your mouth.

Speaking of genres, though, can we even call "super heroes" a genre anymore? Like sci-fi, I think it has to be more like a broad category in which you can write other genres of stories. Marvel's movies alone should show that. Hulk is a monster movie. Ant-Man is a heist flick. Captain America is World War II movie. None of them are really what you would call "super hero" films; they just happen to have super heroes in them. It's like Asimov said about sci-fi: It's just a framework to allow you to tell whatever kind of story you want to tell, whatever kind of genre you want to use.

So, no, Infinity War is no violation of genre.

But, yes, it has a sad, even depressing, ending. Heroes die. Because, you know what? The good guys don't always win. Our current political situation, with a wannabe dictator as president, should show you that evil sometimes, even frequently, wins. So, yeah, the bad guy wins. Thanos wins. And the movie ends with him enjoying his victory. You think Trump (#fakepresident) didn't enjoy his victory? You think he didn't go around pissing (figuratively, I hope, though with him it's hard to tell) in every corner of the White House?

I do understand that people are not used to movies where the antagonist wins and we haven't had a movie like this since, probably, The Empire Strikes Back, but people are acting as if this is it. The end of the story. The end of the franchise. No more movies from Marvel. BAM! All your heroes are dead, Suckers! So suck on that! It's the fucking end of the world!
I mean, really?
Haven't you learned from watching the... how many Marvel movies are there now? 18? Haven't you learned that they're all connected and that there are more movies coming? Wait and see what happens. IT'S NOT THE END OF THE STORY!

And speaking of Thanos, I've heard people complain about the attempt to make Thanos a sympathetic character... What the fuck? What attempt to make Thanos a sympathetic character? Because he cried when he killed Gamora? That makes him sympathetic? Because he cried?
No! It makes him an asshole.
Let's look at this a moment:
Thanos lives on Titan, and Titan is on the verge of environmental collapse. Thanos tries warning everyone and even has a solution: put half of the population to death. Needless to say, the population doesn't like that idea and, evidently, they never figure out anything better. The planet ends up a lifeless husk with Thanos as its only survivor with a, "Well, I told you so," attitude about it. That's as constructive as he gets over the situation.
Except for then deciding that he'll put his "extinguish half the population" plan into effect on the entire universe.
NONE of this makes Thanos a sympathetic character. It makes him a conceited, small-minded asshole who can't think outside of his own box for other, more workable, solutions.

To get the Soul Gem, he has to sacrifice the thing he loves, which he happened to have with him: Gamora. The one thing Thanos loves. So he has an option, the Soul Gem or Gamora. Let's put this another way:
He can choose the good of himself by throwing Gamora in the pit and taking the Gem, or he can choose the good of Gamora by letting her live. That would be actual love, by the way, choosing the good of someone else over yourself. But what Thanos shows is that what he really loves above all is himself, so he throws Gamora in the pit. Asshole. There's nothing sympathetic in that action, either. And I just have to say, if that scene causes you to feel sympathy for Thanos, you need to do some soul-searching of your own.

There is nothing in this movie to make Thanos any kind of sympathetic character. He shows that he himself has no empathy or sympathy for anyone else, and I'm not really sure how anyone could arrive at the conclusion that anything shown about him was meant to do anything other than show just what a monster he is.

All of that said, I don't care whether you liked the movie or not, just have a valid reason for it, even if that valid reason is your emotional reaction to, say, Spider-Man dying and blowing away in the end (man, that one hurt, especially since there were little piece of Peter-ash all over Tony afterward). What you should not do is try to rationalize your reason by making shit up. It's fine for you to say, "I didn't like it. They killed everyone." And it's also fine for the rest of us to tell you you're crazy.


  1. Of course half the characters died and of course they will be back. Just like in the comics - no one is ever really dead.
    Besides, Guardians III is scheduled. Be a lame movie with only Rocket and Nebula.

  2. Characters have come back to life before in the movies (okay, their deaths were fakes, but still). Plus if superhero movies are anything like superhero comics, everyone's going to die and come back to life several times.