A rowdy raccoon, a Norse god and a tree-like teenager step on a dying star and team-up with a giant dwarf.
No wait. A witch, a Russian ninja and a technologically-advanced female warrior squash a blue-blooded alien minion.
Or maybe: A man who shoots webs, a man clad in iron and a man who excels at wizardry hatch a plan inspired by Alien.
Many scenes in Avengers: Infinity War, the new Marvel blockbuster that hits theaters April 27, are shaped like a walks-into-the-bar jokes — except, of course, the fate of the universe is the punchline. This constant juxtaposition of laughs and gasps sets the viewer up for a hang-on-tight roller coaster of emotions, as the adored super heroes face their most menacing villain yet.
Directorial duo Anthony and Joe Russo, known as the Russo brothers, have been teasing the tragedies that ensue in their fourth Marvel project since way back in October 2014. For diehard comic dorks, that meant four years of anxiously anticipating an action flick that dips into the avant garde by suggesting hey, maybe everything doesn’t end happily ever after.
With the release just days away, we asked Philly nerds to weigh in. Will this movie measure up to their expectations?
Sidebar: This reporter already knows the answer, but there’s no way she’s giving big reveals or shocking spoilers (other than the joke setups that started this piece). Read on.
Some were simply hopeful, given the long wait. “I hope it pays off, for the 75 years since the movies started,” said Eric Partridge of Fat Jack’s Comiccrypt Center City, a shop that has been satisfying the unquenchable voracity of superhero stans since the 70s.
Seventy-five years? Well, Captain America, the first Avenger, first unleashed his heroism onto the world in 1941, as depicted in both the original comic series and the 2011 movie.Infinity War takes place in the present day, approximately two years after the events in “Captain America: Civil War” transpired.
As far as fans are concerned, this flick is the culminating movie for all the plot lines Marvel and Disney have milked since the first Iron Man in 2008. No pressure. With a runtime of a whopping 160 minutes, the Russo brothers have plenty of wiggle-room to either succeed (or fail) at the daunting task at hand.
So, which is it?
Former Geekadelphia writers Mike Fenn and Yali Perez offered some detailed analysis.
Will Infinity War suck?
Fenn: I think the movie will definitely be great and won’t suck at all, as Marvel (unlike DC/Warner) knows how to invest in its properties.
Perez: I’m about 92 percent certain this film will be amazing. The other 8 percent worries it’s gonna be too many stars and we are going to get scenes where we make sure everyone has a line.
This reporter will go ahead and confirm that yes, Josh Brolin, Tom Hiddleston, Letitia Wright, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Paul Bettany, Danai Gurira, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pratt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dave Bautista, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Zoe Saldana, Winston Duke, Elizabeth Olsen, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel (Groot, hah), Karen Gillan, Benicio del Toro, Anthony Mackie, Scarlett Johansson, Pom Klementieff, Sebastian Stan, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle and, heck, even Samuel L. Jackson all have lines.
How will it change movie history?
Fenn: I think it has already changed the shape of cinema, not only by prolonging the life of superhero movies in general, but by its successful gambles (like contracting the characters for multiple movies to keep the intricately-connected Marvel Cinematic Universe breathing) and also in the brokering of deals to get beloved superheroes face time (such as the deal Marvel Studios/Disney worked out with Sony to get Spiderman in the MCU).
Perez: Infinity War will change movie history via box office numbers and how companies go about making franchises from here on out. Marvel didn’t use cheat codes, they had a master plan! Movie studios (looking at you DCEU) should take notes. It also shows that audiences are willing to wait for the big event if it’s going to be done right. Not like rush into it. (Again, looking at DCEU.)
Will it have impact?
Perez: Oh, absolutely! This is the moment nerds/geeks/fans have been waiting for. People will come out of the theaters cheering and climbing Crisco covered poles when the movie ends.
Theories about what will happen?
Fenn: A lot of talk is going around about which characters will die, with a lot of folks thinking that death will come calling for Iron Man, Captain America, as well as Gamora, Loki, and even Drax. With family-friendly Disney helming the movies, I cannot say with any degree of certainty that these longstanding yet definitely-ready-to-retire characters will actually DIE; they may simply retire or step aside to let the other characters “take over.” Besides, no one stays dead in comics, except certain villains and Spiderman’s Uncle Ben.
Perez: I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and I was telling him I think the last infinity stone is in Wakanda. Perhaps the meteorite that created Wakanda is the infinity stone.
Will Wakanda’s importance in the film elevate the Black Panther storyline and the future of the franchise?
Perez: If my theory is right, absolutely. Still, I think if Wakanda and the Black Panther wasn’t in Infinity War, the franchise and future would already be elevated. Black Panther achieved a level of excellence that hasn’t been done. And they didn’t need another hero to cameo in it. Wakanda being in Infinity War is like finding extra fries in the bag. It’s a win!
Will it continue the excitement for POC-centered films?
Fenn: For the future, I am excited to see more titles that center around characters that are not cis white men. I think the studios realize this too, and we will see not only more parts in the Black Panther storyline, but we also have Ant-Man and the Wasp with (hopefully) equal screen time, next year’s Captain Marvel, and, with the possibility that Iron Man and Captain America will bow out after this installment, heroes like War Machine and Falcon stepping up further.
Perez: The fans want it. The people want it. I want it. Give us White Tiger, Miles Morales, America Chavez, Dust from the X-men (if they get the rights back), please give us Luna Snow! We want to see stories from superheroes from all walks of life! It’s the remedy for superhero fatigue.
Starting Friday, Philly fans can catch Avengers: Infinity War at the Roxy Theater, the AMC Broadstreet 7, the UA Riverview Plaza, Rave Cinemas University City. It’s also playing at just about all the first-run spots in the nearby ‘burbs.