It seems like forever since Avengers: Age of Ultron came out. It has only actually been three years, but given the rate at which the guys at Marvel have been making these movies, that feels like an eternity. Relative to the timeline of the MCU, it has been an eternity. Every one of the Avengers has separately saved the world a couple of times by themselves in that time. Thor has been to space and brought the Hulk and the Guardians of the Galaxy back with him. Captain America and Iron Man have had a colossal falling-out that ended with Cap being declared a war criminal and fleeing to the plains of Africa to hide out with the Black Panther. Spider-Man has really come into his own as a hero and saved New York City from a dangerous weapons dealer. Point is, everyone’s been up to a lot on their own time in the years since Age of Ultron. But now, in 2018, it’s time for Avengers: Infinity War. Captain America: Civil War may have been dubbed Avengers 2.5 by a lot of critics, but this is Avengers 3. This is the real deal. The next chapter in the leading storyline of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where everything will finally come to a head. It’s exciting stuff! But just in case you’re not excited enough yet (which is highly unlikely), here’s 10 reasons why you should be looking forward to Avengers: Infinity War!
10. It will be its own standalone story
The original title for this movie, when it was first announced by Marvel a couple of years ago, was Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1, and it was due to be followed a year later by Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2. But this gave off the idea that the first one would just be a tease that continually leads up to a big climax and builds up tension and suspense and prepares you for some big action (pretty much in exactly the same way that other Part 1 movies have, like Mockingjay and Breaking Dawn) and then cut to black and roll the credits, making you wait a year before you actually see that action. So, Part 1 movies don’t usually get a satisfactory conclusion or stand on their own as narratives. Luckily, that’s all changed. The title has dropped the Part 1 and the next one will have a completely different title. The Russo brothers are directing this movie to stand on its own and have a satisfying payoff at the end. Producer Kevin Feige explained that the initial Part 1/Part 2 idea was based on “shared elements” of the two, but added, “I wouldn’t call it one story that’s cut in half. I would say it’s going to be two distinct movies.” That makes this one, since it’s going to be kind of a be all and end all type of thing, infinitely (pardon the pun) more exciting.
9. What a cast!
Have there ever been more A-listers featured in one movie? Avengers: Infinity War will be like The Expendables, but instead of the ‘80s action stars remembered by geriatric audiences, it’s superheroes and millennials’ revered movie stars. This cast features Robert Downey, Jr., Josh Brolin, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Olsen, Sebastian Stan, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Bettany, Cobie Smulders, Benedict Wong, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Scarlett Johansson, Benicio del Toro, Tom Holland, Anthony Mackie, Chadwick Boseman, Danai Gurira, Paul Rudd, Don Cheadle, Letitia Wright, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Tessa Thompson. Oh, and Stan Lee, of course. Seriously, are you kidding? You’ve got RDJ and the star of The Fast and the Furious franchise and the guy from Sherlock and the immortal Chris Pratt and the star of what is by far the highest grossing movie of all time and the highest paid actress in the world and Matt Damon’s Bourne successor and a handful of Oscar winners all in the same movie. How was there any budget left to shoot with after all their salaries? This movie is going to be insane! In a good way, of course.
8. The three best characters will take the forefront
Although it’s been mentioned by the directors, the Russo brothers, that the villain Thanos will be the main character in Avengers: Infinity War, of course the actual Avengers will make up a large part of it. And as confirmed by Marvel last February, there will be three characters in particular who take the center stage among the humongous ensemble: Tony Stark (aka Iron Man), Peter Quill (aka Star-Lord), and Peter Parker (aka Spider-Man). So, in other words, out of the legions of Marvel characters we’ve been introduced to over the past ten years, the three best ones will be getting the most attention in the big finale. These three characters are arguably the funniest and most enjoyable to watch out of the dozens of characters we’ve met in the MCU so far. Plus, not only are they all great on their own, but it’ll also be fun to see how they interact with one another. We saw the mentor/student relationship between Tony Stark and Peter Parker fleshed out in Spider-Man: Homecoming and it’ll be interesting to see that developed further in the face of extreme adversity in Infinity War. Seeing the charmingly sarcastic Peter Quill butt heads with the equally charmingly sarcastic Tony Stark will provide viewers with endless fun, and comic book geek Peter Parker having a nerdgasm when he meets an actual intergalactic adventurer will give us some chuckles, too. Overall, focusing on these three characters was a good decision by the powers that be at Marvel Studios.
7. It’s the beginning of the end
Infinity War and its still untitled sequel, which will cruise into theaters almost exactly one year after this one (give or take a day), will apparently be “a finale” for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The overarching stories in these superhero movies never seem to really end – the characters and the stories evolve, rather than reaching any actual conclusions. Bruce Banner evolves to a point where he can control his transformations into the Hulk and then evolves to having less control than he ever did before, because that gives Marvel more stories to tell. Spider-Man evolves from an inexperienced and scared, yet eager kid to a welcomed member of the Avengers, because that gives Marvel more stories to tell. You rarely get a definitive ending to anything – everything is left open-ended. But that’s all about the change with Infinity War and next year’s untitled fourth Avengers movie. Infinity War will plant the seeds for next year’s grand finale. This is the beginning of the end for the Marvel Cinematic Universe – it’s a huge event! Producer Kevin Feige says the next two Avengers movies will “bring things you’ve never seen in superhero films: a finale.” These two movies will represent a watershed moment in the MCU, says Feige: “There will be two distinct periods. Everything before [Avengers 3 and 4] and everything after. I know it will not be in ways people are expecting.” It’s going to end and we won’t see the ways how it will end coming. That’s exciting!
6. They’ve saved the best Avengers story for this one
After the brief appearance of Thanos at the end of the first Avengers movie, many fans expected him to be the main villain of the second one, but instead, Ultron took over and we got the cinematic universe sequel bridge that was Age of Ultron. Writer-director Joss Whedon explained that you couldn’t just do a Thanos movie – he needed to be saved until last, for the best Avengers story that would tie everything together. Infinity War has been described by the filmmakers as “the culmination of everything that has happened in the MCU,” right from the very beginning, with the President of Marvel Studios claiming that it will bring “an end to certain things, and in some ways…the beginning of certain things.” Joss Whedon explained why Thanos was saved until this one: “Thanos is more powerful. He is so powerful, he is not someone you can just try to out punch. Like in the comics, you want him to be threading through the universe and to save the big finale for the big finale.” This is that big finale, and the best villain has been saved for this one, and so has the meeting of all the best characters. According to the producers, every MCU movie that came before this one was mostly “groundwork” leading up to this one. In other words, this will be the best and biggest Avengers movie yet!
5. “It’s like Nashville for superheroes”
According to co-director Anthony Russo, the narrative of Avengers: Infinity War will be told in a kind of anthology format, jumping all over the place and showing each event in the main plot from a different perspective. Think about it: we’ve got Captain America hiding out in Wakanda with the Black Panther, we’ve got Thor, Loki, and the Hulk out in the middle of space with a bunch of Asgardian refugees and the Guardians of the Galaxy, and we’ve got the rest of the Avengers spread across the United States in various different predicaments. So, when Thanos hits and his fury is felt around the Earth, we’re going to get a sense of that through all the different characters dotted about the globe (and, of course, the wider universe). You’re going to be moving around through different perspectives of the characters. It’s like Nashville for superheroes. It’s storytelling that is vignetted storytelling. It’s to composite all of them under one story – everybody.” Nashville is an epic drama movie directed by the great Robert Altman and it tells the story of the county music scene in the city through the perspectives of a large ensemble cast. It’s a masterpiece – one of the greatest movies ever made – and a super-powered version could be even better! The movie’s co-writer Stephen McFeely, who has also worked on a lot of previous Marvel films, called writing the MCU’s other sprawling ensemble epic Captain America: Civil War “a walk in the park” when compared to the gargantuan task of writing the screenplay for Infinity War. But the struggles of writing it should pay off with the pleasures of watching it.
4. Thanos won’t be the only villain
Thanos is the big bad villain of Avengers: Infinity War (of the whole MCU, really), but that doesn’t mean he’ll be the only villain featured in the film. The Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy will also have to face the Black Order, a dark and ruthless team of Thanos’ children. According to co-director Joe Russo, they added in the other villains to create obstacles for the protagonists to have to face before they even get to Thanos, which will then present them with their greatest challenge yet. He said, “We have so many characters and Thanos needs to be teased out. You can’t have the characters challenging him every step of the way. There has to be characters that they have to go through to get to him. The Black Order is the perfect cast of characters to do that with.” The members of the Black Order will be CGI characters voiced by actors who producer Kevin Feige describes as “interesting people.” However, he also teased that the voice actors would not be revealed until you hear them speak in the film. How exciting! Who could it be? The voice actors they’ve gotten to play CGI characters in the past include Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, James Spader, Josh Brolin, Hugo Weaving, and Tim Roth, so who knows? Maybe this mysterious new actors will be as talented and as high profile as them!
3. The Guardians of the Galaxy are joining the Avengers!
In one of the most anticipated meetings of two sets of characters in this shared universe of heroes and villains, the Guardians of the Galaxy will be joining the Avengers for their latest adventure. That means we’ll get to see Peter Quill riffing off of Tony Stark and Drax’s blunt and deadpan style reckoning with the forthright, upstanding, well-mannered Captain America. We’ll see Rocket Raccoon bickering with Bruce Banner and taunting the most volatile man in the Marvel universe and the feisty Gamora butting heads with Black Widow. In other words, it’s going to be freaking awesome. Who among us can say we didn’t completely flip out at the end of that initial Infinity War trailer when Thor meets the Guardians? None of us! There was a resounding nerdgasm that shook the Earth as soon as Marvel dropped that trailer online. It’s like when you first taste two incredible flavors in the same bite – it’s like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Suffice to say, the Guardians of the Galaxy getting roped into a large scale Avengers story from their far out intergalactic adventures has got to be one of the most prominent reasons to get excited about the release of this movie.
2. The villain will be Darth Vader for a new generation
The filmmakers’ aim with Thanos is for him to become like a Darth Vader for a new generation. They want their villain to become the new definitive personification of evil in popular culture. In the 20th century, it was Vader. In the 21st century, God willing, the two directors of Infinity War are hoping it will be Thanos. His plan certainly seems to line up with that idea: he’s been scouring the universe, collecting the Infinity Stones, so that he can “re-balance the universe as he sees it,” according to the writer. He’ll be played by the brilliant Josh Brolin, who called the character “something different.” Producer Kevin Feige has interestingly said that “in a movie that has a lot of characters, you could almost go so far as to say [Thanos] is the main character, and that’s a bit of a departure from what we’ve done before [with other villains], but that was appropriate” for Infinity War. Co-director Joe Russo also used The Godfather as a frame of reference in describing the character and his arc to Brolin during production, which is pretty amazing, but Star Wars is the impact they were going for. Russo explained, “Darth Vader was the pre-eminent villain of my childhood, and we’re hoping to make a Darth Vader for a new generation. We’re hoping he has that complexity to him, and that he strikes fear into the heart of the audience, but at the same time, they go on a journey with him. Frankly, Avengers 3 is his movie.” Kevin Feige also teased that “within the first five minutes of Infinity War, people will understand why Thanos is the biggest and baddest villain in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.” So, in short, with Infinity War, the Marvel team will be doing something truly different with their villain, and if all goes to plan, Thanos will be the next Darth Vader.
1. Ten years of moviegoing will finally pay off
We’ve been coming back every couple of months for a new Marvel Cinematic Universe movie since way back in 2008. We’ve been taken in the trenches of World War II and on the plains of Africa and far out into the deepest reaches of outer space and on a sentient, dying planet and deep underground, running with the ants, and into a New York City high school and into the land of Norse gods and through wormholes and interdimensional portals and into a ruthless intergalactic gladiator ring and out to a hi-tech facility in upstate New York and onto a floating Eastern European city. It’s been a hell of a ride over the past decade, and this year, all of that dedicated moviegoing will finally pay off as all of the plot threads come to a head and reach a satisfying conclusion. With this third Avengers movie and the upcoming fourth one, the MCU will be rebooting itself, in a way. It will be closing this current chapter of the story that began with 2008’s seminal Iron Man movie and then simultaneously opening the next chapter. After that, the possibilities are endless! New characters, new stories, new settings – it’s very, very exciting stuff!