You’ve read the title of the article. No reason to beat around the bush with an intro. Here’s the trailer:
In the interest of transparency, the last time I did one of these predictions articles I ended up being only around half right about Star Wars: The Last Jedi. So, consider this just a bit of nerdy fun. Here are my predictions. I genuinely hope I’m wrong about a couple of them, particularly this one:
- Loki dies at the beginning
What better way to establish the stakes than having the new villain kill off the old villain at the beginning of the movie? Also, there’s nowhere left for Loki to go as a character. Ragnarok brings his arc to a conclusion and sees him letting go of the past and embracing his brother and his own potential for good.
Except, of course, he’s still Loki so of course, he grabs an Infinity Stone on the way out of Asgard, which he’ll likely jokingly refer to as more of a “break glass in event of danger” insurance policy than anything else. Not something he grabbed with malicious intent but instead because it would be a shame to see it go to waste in Asgard’s ruin. However, him grabbing it is what draws Thanos to the ship of Asgardian refugees at the end of Ragnarok, and as we’ve seen in both trailers a scared-shitless Loki now hands the Stone right over to Thanos.
What’s new in this trailer, though, is a scene of Thanos torturing Thor in front of Loki. My prediction is Loki either does something to save Thor and dies in the process or does nothing but still gets killed since Thanos has no need for him after getting his Infinity Stone. I don’t want this to happen. I love Loki. But, from a dramatic standpoint if I’m sitting down to write this script the first thing I do is to have the new villain kill the old villain.
2. Thanos will be a disappointing villain who seriously suffers from arriving so soon after Killmonger
Even if I’m right about Thanos opening the film by disposing of Loki and likely slaughtering or enslaving the Asgardians, I don’t see any scenario where he is anything other than a disappointing villain.
First, there’s the wait factor. It’s been 6 years since that Thanos-Avengers post-credits tease, and in that time we have weathered countless jokes about how increasingly ineffectual he has seemed, particularly when Guardians of the Galaxy’s villain easily betrayed him and suffered no consequences. Thanos has been, for the most part, just some dude sitting on a throne on some random space rock. By the time Age of Ultron’s post-credits tease gave us him finally out of his chair, grabbing his stupid glove and declaring, “Fine. I’ll do it myself,” the reaction was not one of glee but instead extreme eye rolling and heckles of, “It’s about damn time!” There’s only so long you can tease this out before anticipation turns to mockery.
What we have here is really the first time I can think of where the films are actually following the TV shows, specifically the Netflix ones. Kingpin, Kilgrave, and Cottonmouth were masterfully built up to on Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage. In two of those cases, the villains became so compelling they overshadowed the heroes. Now, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been building to Thanos since The Avengers, and Infinity War will be like his showcase episode, finally giving us his backstory and presenting him as this impossible-to-defeat baddie.
But those Netflix villains we had to wait for took just a couple of episodes to arrive, not multiple years. They were each of them human, flawed, and fascinating and pitted against just one hero. Thanos, on the other hand, is just going to be a big brute with a power glove and some story about turning genocidal after witnessing the downfall of his own planet, and he’s facing off against pretty much every Marvel Cinematic Universe hero ever, minus Ant-Man (who is again MIA here). He will only be interesting for his brutality and ability to actually kill some of our heroes, or, in Loki’s case, anti-heroes, but after waiting so, so long for it to happen I can’t see it paying off in a completely satisfying way. The destruction he brings will be of interest because of what it means to our characters; the person bringing the destruction will just be a CGI nothing passably voiced by Josh Brolin.
Secondly, with Thanos we are quite abruptly transitioning from a social commentary era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe into pure event cinema. Going from Killmonger to Thanos is like if immediately after the holocaust imagery and MLK vs. Malcolm X dynamics of the first X-Men they had gone straight into X-Men: Apocalypse (skipping X2, The Last Stand, and so on) with its overly made-up, somewhat silly-looking villain yelling cliched crap like, “Everything they built [dramatic pause] WILL FALL! AND FROM THE ASHES OF THEIR WORLD [dramatic pause] WE’ll BUILD…A BETTER ONE!” The effect would have been super jarring, and it’s exactly what we’re heading for with Infinity War arriving so closely on the heels of Black Panther.
Killmonger was the best kind of villain: someone whose motivations and reasoning are sound and founded in something recognizable to our reality. It’s the extreme solution to the problem he correctly identified which made him a villain. You recognize that he’s got a pretty good point; you just don’t love his methods.
Thanos, as I’ve encountered him to this point, is no more complicated than a space Nazi, ala his DC counterpart Darkseid. That’s perfectly fitting for a piece of popcorn event cinema, but it’s not going to feel anywhere as interesting as Killmonger.
Loving Winter Soldier and Civil War as much as I do, I have faith in those same screenwriters and directors to deliver with Infinity War. But I think they’ve been dealt a losing hand from the get-go with Thanos. Then what Ryan Coogler did with Black Panther at the same exact time they were filming Infinity War has redefined and redrawn the superhero map in a way Joe and Anthony Russo can’t possibly respond to because the very nature of their story forces them to elevate things to such an insane scale.
Lastly, there’s the CGI factor. With each new trailer, Thanos looks a little more convincing, and by the time the film arrives next month I don’t expect him to look anywhere near as bad Steppenwolf in Justice League. Still, we’re operating in similar CGI territory which pulls us out since we know we are essentially watching a literal cartoon bad guy.
That being said, he’s not romping around screaming about mother or other such Steppenwolf nonsense. Instead, there’s actually an intriguing moment of him appearing to honorably eulogize Iron Man before killing him (or at least attempting to kill him) which suggests there might be something more to him. It’s the one moment in the trailer which gives me hope that I might have to (happily) eat my words and come around to loving this character when I see the actual film. For now, though, consider my expectations lowered.
3. Vision’s not going to make it.
Several of our characters are either walking Infinity Stones (Vision, Doctor Strange) or they’re standing in Thanos’ way (Iron Man, Captain America). As such, this trailer includes scenes where each one of them appears to be in mortal peri, and each one of them could conceivably die. The answer might be, more obviously, well, whose contract is up and who wants out of these movies? Thus, the newer guys are probably safe and the older ones fair game.
However, I have a feeling Vision will indeed bite it in this movie and not just because Paul Bettany’s never seemed particularly interested in taking anything from the MCU other than a paycheck. It’s more that Vision is such an Avengers-specific character, created in Age of Ultron, carried over into the unofficial Avengers film Civil War, that it would make sense to kill him here.
Despite Tom King’s celebrated 2016 run with the Vision comic books depicting the character’s ill-fated attempted at a family life with an android wife and children, I’ve never seen any indication Marvel Studios has any interest in making solo Vision films. So, he seems like the definition of a character who was created for the express purpose of someday being killed by Thanos, to the extreme heartbreak of The Scarlet Witch, who looks to finally be moving ahead in her relationship with him in this movie. Which, really, in the old Joss Whedon playbook the time when a couple gets happy is when you break them up or kill one of them. Whedon’s not in charge anymore, obviously, but it’s a tempting playbook for his successors to follow.
Doctor Strange is in danger, too. For sure. But he’s more likely to survive than Vision.
4. Iron Man dies.
The primary plot depicted in the trailer sees Iron Man, Spider-Man, and The Guardians teaming to take the fight to Thanos on his home planet, and Cap, Bucky, Black Panther, Black Widow, Hulk, War Machine, Falcon, Scarlet Witch, Shuri, and the Wakandan army fighting off Thano’s forces. Good gawd, just writing that sentence gave me the slightest bit of a hint at how impossible this all must have been to film. Either way, cross-cutting in the trailer indicates Thanos will have one-on-one bouts with both Iron Man and Captain America, bringing Iron Man to his knees and looking stunned when Cap proves strong enough to push back on the Infinity Gauntlet (i.e., Thano’s glove).
My prediction here is that Iron Man’s forces fail and he dies in the process, and that frees Thanos to return to Earth to invade Wakanda. This would partially explain why Homecoming went out of its way to include a Tony-Pepper reunion at the end, the two apparently repairing their relationship sometime after Civil War. It was a way of tying that little bow on the character before disposing of him and turning the MCU over to the next generation, with a clear baton-passing to Star-Lord in the trailer.
Oh, yeah, then why do we see the Iron Man Hulk Buster armor in the Wakanda section?
Because that’s not Tony Stark in the armor. In fact, I have a feeling it’s actually Bruce Banner in there since, as Ragnarok pointed out when he’s not The Hulk he’s useless in a fight but he’s too afraid to Hulk out again since he’s lost years of his life doing that. I’m picturing a moment where he is overwhelmed by enemies from within the armor and gets angry which then leads to the Hulk literally busting out of the Hulk Buster.
As for Cap, I just really, really don’t want him to die. That didn’t stop me from predicting the same with Loki, and I know Bucky is waiting in the wings, practically measuring Steve’s costume to see if it will fit. But, still, with Cap…man, he just can’t die.
That all being said, if I have my timeline wrong, and the film actually does the Wakanda section first and the part on Thanos’ planet second or crosscuts between the two simultaneously then everything I just said is wrong and it’s more likely Cap dies than Iron Man.
Either way, I still have this feeling Iron Man won’t make it. If this is to be the end of the path Avi Arad, David Maisel, and Kevin Feige started us on way back in 2004 when they first secured funding to pursue this crazy idea of a series of interconnected movies, then the most poignant (and obvious) way to close that loop is to kill Iron Man. There is no Avengers nor a Marvel Cinematic Universe without him, but he’s the past and Infinity War is all about setting up a future led by newer heroes.
Crazy thought: What if both Cap and Iron Man die?
5. Thor partnering with Rocket and Baby Groot will be a fan favorite section of the film
There’s not much to on here, but there’s a brief moment in the trailer (highlighted above) which suggests Thor’s story will involve a team-up with Rocket and Teen Groot. The comic potential of a newly unrestrained, post-Ragnarok Chris Hemsworth bantering with Bradley Cooper and figuring out what to make of Groot strikes me as the kind of silly-fun subplot which will catch audiences off guard and turn into a real crowd-pleaser. After Ragnarok, it’s exactly the kind of oddball pairing we’d expect from Thor, and in a film sure to bring about so much death and destruction a couple of laughs from Thor and team could go a long way. My question, though, is where is Korg?
Infinity War opens almost everywhere April 27th. What do you think of my predictions? And what’s your reaction to the trailer?