(Potential Mild Spoilers)
More than once as I caught up on the previous 18 films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in preparation for the latest installment – Avengers: Infinity War – I found myself thinking the same thought: I am becoming just a face in the crowd.
To simply call the Marvel films successful would be a great understatement. Collectively, they have grossed more than Star Wars, Harry Potter, and the 24 installments in the James Bond series, and they are adored the world over. The Marvel movies have become a staple of popular culture; t-shirts bearing the insignia of Captain America’s shield are just as common now as vinyl recordings of Guardian of the Galaxy’s “Awesome Mix.” And now it’s not difficult to see why. Marvel has cornered the market when it comes to entertainment which combines adventure and laughs and – perhaps most importantly – spectacle. While the action in these action/adventure sagas may not match that of the Bond or Mission: Impossible films, Marvel compensates with the sheer scale and scope of each of their movies.
The latest – Infinity War – is no exception. In fact, it may very well be the height of spectacle for the series as it assembles as many of the diverse threads of their epic tapestry bringing together all of their heroes in one film. One needs only look at the film’s poster which is simply overflowing with star’s names (Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlet Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Chris Pratt, and Josh Brolin to name only a few) to know that this is not your typical ensemble action flick. And though unlike the previous two Avengers films, the heroes may not congregate to do battle together, their separation into smaller groups allows for multiple storylines to carry on simultaneously and never allows for a dull moment.
What Infinity War does best of all, though, is give its scenario emotional depth and weight, and I think that it cannot be a coincidence that the directors of this film, Anthony and Joseph Russo, also directed my other favorite installments in the MCU, Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) and Captain America: Civil War (2016) both of which never let their epic stories overshadow their emotional core. Indeed, there were moments in Infinity War when it was almost heart wrenching to see what happens to the characters we have come to know and love throughout the rest of the series.
Avengers: Infinity War leaves the story open to be concluded in further installments of the MCU proving that the comic juggernaut will not be relinquishing its grip on the movie market anytime soon. Until recently I may have rolled my eyes at the notion of a lengthy future for Marvel, but now I don’t mind too much. The studio is releasing consistently good content, and if they continue to entertain millions – myself included – that’s not so bad, is it?
To be convinced, it was worth acquiring my anonymity.
For Marvel fans who may be reading this and wish to know where I stand on the other 18 films in the MCU (with the exception of The Incredible Hulk) which I have not seen, I have ranked the Marvel movies below from favorite to least favorite:
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Avengers: Infinity War
Captain America: Civil War
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Iron Man 3
Captain America: The First Avenger
Guardians of the Galaxy
Thor: The Dark World
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Iron Man 2