And, of course, in terms of "spoilers", control of discourse is recklessly and effectively practiced. Reviewers participating in pre-screening swear silence on action details that are well known within a week and almost forgotten within a week. Government secrets are guarded with less care, and demands from public officials to move away from the record are being treated with more skepticism. But when I mention which superhero dies or who has an unexpected relationship with someone else – well, I would not dream of it. Not because I'm scared of Disney executives. It is the wrath of their obedient, weapon-capable subordinates, I fear. In other words: you.
This is not a healthy situation. The legitimate concern that important plot elements are not published has led to a phobic, hypersensitive taboo against public discussion of everything that happens on screen. For example, if I shared that Thor (Chris Hemsworth) mistakes Rocket (Bradley Cooper), who is a raccoon, for a rabbit – whoops, you already hit "send", right? The joke is repeated half a dozen times, so it somehow gets ruined. And by the end, the whole thing is strangely free from any superficial mechanical surprises.
The action is particularly lengthy and predictable. I mean both the combat and flight scenes as well as the overall rhythm of the first two hours. People talk for a while and sprinkle jokes and portions of personality in the heavy dough of the exhibition. Then they fight in the usual way, throwing huge objects (and each other) and shooting waves of color out of their hands. The noisy, bloated spectacles of the fight were certainly the most expensive parts of the film, but the money does not seem to be an imaginative tool as a substitute for real fantasy.
There is so much to explain, but basically a big purple guy called Thanos (Josh Brolin) wants to erase half the life in the universe on vague Malthusian principles. If you try to keep track of all the good guys who have allied against him, you can decide that he has a point. But he is not a bad bad guy. I mean, he's very bad, but his malice is laced with melancholy, and his ambitions are scary.
To fulfill his evil plans, Thanos has to collect six "Infinity Stones" that, in spite of their magnificence, look very much like what you would find in the crafting kit you were supposed to learn from your child's seventh birthday. Come on: Another search for magical carriages? He travels from Vormir to Knowhere to Titan, with earth stations in New York, Scotland and Wakanda. Along the way, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) stage a Sherlock Holmes Metaduell and compare Goatees. The Hunky-Chris Showdown – Hemsworth vs. Pratt (Peter Quill) vs. Evans (Captain America) – ends in a three-way tie. Zoe Saldana is as heartbreaking as Gamora. If you end up wanting more Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) or Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) or War Machine (Don Cheadle), or whoever your favorite is – well, that's the idea, right?  But where you are at the end may not be where you thought it would go. The final act, including the after-credits sting (to infinity and beyond, as it were) brings a coldness, a darkness and a silence that are something new in this universe. "Infinity War" is the first half of the last part of the series and ends with a premonition of finality. His hints of grief and terror are sharply tuned to what's happening in the real, unreal world. But these emotions can also be folded back into the movies themselves. This universe is coming to an end. And then, where will we be?
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