Last Jedi and Infinity War spoilers ahead.

Last year, when Star Wars: The Last Jedi instantly turned into one of the most divisive blockbusters of all time a popular theory emerged that much of the rancor and debate was less about the movie and more about the fans themselves. YouTubers, bloggers (ahem), cosplaying convention-goers and casual fans alike spent years arguing over and predicting which direction the story would go after The Force Awakens. Then The Last Jedi came along and spit in the face of all of that, burning down the past – and all of the fan theories with it – in order to face the future.

No Anakin cameo. No Palpatine or Ben Kenobi-related reveal. No grand backstory for Rey. No origin story for Snoke, who doesn’t even survive to see the end of the trilogy. Just a whole lot of “In order for Star Wars to survive, it has to evolve” storytelling decisions. Disney, turns out, followed a more or less straight remake of New Hope with the franchise’s most progressive film, one which second-guesses the dynastic approach of the saga to this point and aims to empower even the lowest among us, regardless of bloodline. Luke Skywalker, once the embodiment of baby boomer optimism, morphed into a sad, beaten down old man stuck in the grip of an inescapable despair over what’s become of the world in light of his many failures. What an accurate, but deeply depressing reflection of real-world malaise.

And the fans just weren’t having it:

The response was so harsh, the theory went, because fans spent too long obsessing over their own expectations and simply forgot how to actually be fans of something and accept new ideas. Last Jedi’s not broken; fandom is. Sure, Last Jedi, as a film, has some genuine flaws and plot holes, but that’s not enough to justify the level of hate thrown its way.

Or is it really that simple?

It’s half a year later, and here we are again. Another Disney-produced, geek-leaning franchise has delivered its biggest movie yet, and it also absolutely blows through most fan theories. Avengers: Infinity War is not the movie most people were expecting. Neither Cap nor Thor nor Iron Man nor anyone we expected to go out in a blaze of glory actually does. The heroes lose, but not quite the way we thought they would. Even if you’d read the Infinity Gauntlet graphic novel (the most direct source material) and guessed Infinity War might similarly end with Thanos wiping out half the universe it was still stunning to see who exactly Marvel decided to finger snap out of existence: Spider-Man, Black Panther, all but 2 of the Guardians, Winter Soldier…pretty much everyone other than the original Avengers.

Who died? Oh, just everyone we know still has films left on their contract, several of them with known sequels in active development. In this case, our collective knowledge of the behind the scenes realities of Marvel Studios worked directly against our on-screen expectations. Kevin Feige, The Russo Brothers, and screenwriting duo Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely just laughed at all of our incredibly wrong predictions (well, most of them – Loki did die, and just about everyone saw it coming) and gutted us.

And fans…are actually kind of okay with it. Unlike Last Jedi, there’s no comically wide divide between the critics and the audience on RottenTomatoes:

At last check, #InfinityWarAwful isn’t trending on Twitter. The box office isn’t dwindling and thus validating the film’s critics, though it might be too early to make that call since Infinity War hasn’t even reached its second weekend yet.

That’s not to say the love for Infinity War is universal or unconditional. The ending is shocking but also hallow since we know this will all be undone. It’s only half a movie. In doing so little to cater to anyone who hasn’t already seen all 18 prior MCU films, Infinity War asks a lot of its audience and should be an exception, not the rule for just how serialized Marvel’s storytelling gets in the future.

These are but some of the arguments being waged online at the moment, with that last one happening right here on this very site over the weekend. Literally, after I started writing this article, I fired up the We Hates Movie podcast review of Infinity War and the usually Marvel-friendly hosts graded it no higher than B and actually as low as a D- from their most contrarian member. The consensus: the action is too hectic, the ending cheap, it’s all too comic booky for its own good, and until we see Avengers 4 none of us can really give Infinity War a complete grade. These, I should add, are the same guys who vigorously defended Last Jedi against its critics.

On the bright side, Ant-Man and the Wasp and their new drummer will provide some answers in two months.

Opinions obviously differ, and there might yet be an Infinity War backlash building, but if there is it’s far slower-coming and decidedly more muted than the Last Jedi reaction. The question, as The Guardian posed, is why.

Infinity War is the culmination of a decade of storytelling, years of fan predictions and comic book store debates, and comes on the heels of three of the MCU’s most successful/popular films (Homecoming, Ragnarok, Black Panther); Last Jedi pays off not only two full years of fan theories about Rey, Snoke, and Kylo Ren but also several decades worth of anticipation over what Luke Skywalker would be like post-Return of the Jedi, and the prior two Star Wars films each grossed over a billion worldwide. Both Infinity War and Last Jedi defy expectations. Both films generally pleased film critics. Only one of them was rejected by superfans. WTF?

It’s really a question of the differences between the films themselves and their respective fandoms. As The Guardian argued:

Infinity War rarely sends up its most preposterous excesses. There are more than enough laughs amid the misery of Thanos’s assault on the galaxy, but the Russos resist the temptation to lampoon the mad Titan himself, his gauntlet, or any of his deeply silly minions. All are treated with a reverence that will have helped to keep fans of the comics, and the wider MCU, feeling like their much-loved source material is being respected.

The same cannot be said for Last Jedi. For example, why bother to whet our appetites for revelations about the Jedi and their origins, as teased in trailers for Johnson’s film, only to disappoint us with such a curveball [as Yoda gleefully burning down the Jedi’s ancient texts]? Lampooning those aspects of a much-loved saga that made fans fall in love with it in the first place is probably best left to Lego Star Wars.

To put it another way, despite its occasionally ponderous, DC-leanings, Infinity War still feels like a Marvel Studios movie, with crowd-pleasing jokes aplenty right up to the final battle; Last Jedi, to its critics, doesn’t feel like Star Wars. The plot structure actually has more in common with Ronald D. Moore’s Battlestar Galactica pilot. Moreover, even if it doesn’t do it in the way we expected Infinity War ultimately delivers on the promise of its marketing – Infinity Stones are sought, characters die. Last Jedi, by comparison, actually makes a dramatic point out of invalidating all those little those things we’d been led to believe actually mattered. It’s understandable to feel cheated by such a quick, exposition-free disposal of Snoke, even if half the audience – myself included – found the surprise invigorating.

The Infinity War equivalent, according to The Guardian, “might have been for Thanos to have clicked his fingers, only to discover that the myriad cosmic gems he spent so long collecting from various members of the Avengers were fakes and that we had all been worrying about nothing.”

Beyond that, Marvel comic books may be far older than Star Wars, but these Marvel Studios movies have only been around for 10 years now. That’s more than enough time to build up a hostile relationship with fans – just look at WB’s flailing DC Cinematic Universe. However, beyond the cries for more diversity, better villains, and more auteurs (sorry Edgar Wright) the MCU has enjoyed a strong relationship with its fans to this point. The movies come out to crowd-pleasing and stock portfolio-padding numbers and only the most cynical among us fret over when or if Marvel will ever release an outright terrible film. More importantly, they remain the product of a singular vision advanced by uber-producer Kevin Feige.

Star Wars isn’t nearly as fortunate. Prior to selling to Disney, George Lucas had been stuck in a combative relationship with franchise fans for years, particularly since the days of the digitally-restored theatrical re-releases in the late 90s. At a time when the internet was democratizing the concept of ownership, Lucas aggressively told fans Star Wars was his to do with whatever he damn well pleased, and if that meant never releasing the original versions of the films then so be it.

Then came the prequels.

That…um…didn’t go so well. The debates over those films still rage today.

When Lucas eventually peaced out and entrusted his far, far away galaxy to Bob Iger and Kathleen Kennedy that brought about several swift sucker punches. A hotly anticipated video game was canceled. Ditto for a beloved animated serie (Star Wars: The Clone Wars). Decades worth of expanded universe storytelling was instantly deemed irrelevant and little more than outdated fan fiction. Now fans had to buy all new books, comic books, and video games to get the real, canonical story. It’s one thing for an industry maverick and franchise originator like Lucas to milk fans for money; it’s another for the Disney corporation to do it. They’re both capitalistic endeavors, but one far more transparently so, especially when Iger broke from franchise history and mandated making one new Star Wars a film a year to goose the company’s annual profits.

Kennedy, an industry legend and long-time Spielberg collaborator, has now seen over one troubled film production after another, though, Last Jedi, oddly, went by without incident. After J.J. Abrams presented his nostalgic version of Star Wars, Rian Johnson ripped it all up in ways that sometimes felt like hostile rejections of Force Awakens instead of natural progressions. With Abrams at the helm of Episode IX, fans are already wondering if he’ll undo any of Johnson’s work.

That level of uncertainty and inconsistency just isn’t there with Marvel Studios. With the MCU, you never have to ask who exactly is in charge and whose vision is being serviced. In Feige we trust. Star Wars – um, Johnson? Abrams? Kennedy? Iger?

We can wring our hands over whether Infinity War went too far into event comic book territory, yet at the same time, we’re having fun guessing what’s going to happen next. Vanity Fair’s Joanna Robinson, for example, just put forth a theory Avengers 4 might delve into a parallel universe where some of the Avengers never even existed, and while I don’t completely buy it I loved reading her argument. Last Jedi, however, left us with little to no idea where the story goes now, and that’s allowed the conversation to linger less on what happens next and more on just how much people hated the movie.

In a way, this reminds me of the ongoing debate over how exactly Donald Trump won the Presidency. In that case, the answer isn’t nearly as simple as pundits and analysts would like to believe. The stakes are far smaller here, but the answer to why fans hated Last Jedi is similarly multi-faceted. Some status-conscious viewers might feel threatened by the new push into diversity. Some were reacting more to the marketing and online hype cycle than the movie. Some were genuinely critical of Last Jedi for its various plot holes and story deficiencies. Others got sucked into the reinforcing cycle of hate once the film’s negative reaction became part of the story.

I personally ranked Last Jedi pretty high on my films of 2017, but around half of the fans would have put it at the top of their most-hated films of the year. As we move through the stages of grief post-Infinity War, maybe we’ll get to a similar anger, but I doubt it will be nearly as overwhelming.

Source: The Guardian

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Posted by Kelly Konda

Grew up obsessing over movies and TV shows. Worked in a video store. Minored in film at college because my college didn't offer a film major. Worked in academia for a while. Have been freelance writing and running this blog since 2013.

40 Comments

  1. I read the Guardian article and I think they are half-right. As someone who hasn’t watched The Last Jedi but has observed the fandom reactions, it seems to me that the crux is the feeling that whatever the movie did with Luke ruined a beloved character for them. As someone who is still angry about what Marvel did with Trish in JJ season 2, I certainly can relate. But in this case, Luke is just the straw which broke the camels back. There was just too much fans felt was disrespectful towards the franchised the love so much.

    I think the plot holes, they would have forgiven them if there had been enough good in the movie to balance them out (good knows that the Star Wars fans are a particular forgiving bunch). And if there is anything Fury Road has shown, than that the Anti-SJW bunch is just a loud minority which can’t influence the reception of a movie. They can blame a bad movie on SJW decisions, but they can’t convince the masses that a movie is bad just is happens to have a prominent female main character in it.

    No I think the other thing which really makes the difference here is pay-off. I think the fans would have been fine with their theories being wrong, if there had been some kind of pay-off…instead of the movie basically telling them “yeah, the thing with Rey’s parents we made such a mystery about in the last movie? Totally unimportant”. Infinity war on the other hand is full of pay off. Loki finally acknowledging both his heritage and his adapted family. Peter becoming an Avenger. Rocket finally acknowledging that he now has a family and hence a lot to lose (only to then losing virtually everything). Vision and Wanda confessing their love for each other. And along the way long-term fans finally get an answer to the question what happened to the Red Scull. It is also full of new plots which hopefully will have a pay-off in Avengers 4 (well, we know that they will, in Marcus and McFeely I trust). So while the fans didn’t get what they expected, they got what they actually wanted, a surprising story which still manages to juggle all the characters (well, not ALL of them, I wanted more Bucky, but enough of them) and serves as a proper conclusion to a number of dangling plot threats. The Star Wars fans instead got something they didn’t want, someone coming in and smashing the pedestal on which they had put their heroes, without offering anything to make up for the pain they felt.

    Reply

    1. “The Star Wars fans instead got something they didn’t want, someone coming in and smashing the pedestal on which they had put their heroes, without offering anything to make up for the pain they felt.”

      Perfectly put.

      “And if there is anything Fury Road has shown, than that the Anti-SJW bunch is just a loud minority which can’t influence the reception of a movie. They can blame a bad movie on SJW decisions, but they can’t convince the masses that a movie is bad just is happens to have a prominent female main character in it.”

      It’s hard to tell sometimes because in the case of Last Jedi and Ghostbusters those who would reject something for having a liberal agenda have a way of becoming part of the story. Then a film’s financial failure or shortcoming is forever linked to the vocal minority. However, in balance I think you’re right. It’s overblown. The average viewer doesn’t care, just as the average voter in America doesn’t care about every little outrage cycle playing out on Fox News or CNN. They simply care about jobs, the price of gas, and the everyday things they can see. Similarly, the average movieogoers just wants to see a good movie, and while the definiton of “good movie” is obviously influenced by one’s own personal beliefs I don’t think that online groups bombarding RT with bad fan reviews holds much sway.

      “No I think the other thing which really makes the difference here is pay-off. ”

      Agreed and well argued. Last Jedi is all about surprise and rejection with no pay off. It practically laughs at the idea of pay off. Whereas Infinity War continues various storylines and finally pays certain things off. For example, I’m surprised this hasn’t been a bigger deal online yet, but isn’t this the first film to feature a Gamora/Star-Lord kiss? James Gunn made a big deal last year about how he wanted to first build them up as friends, denying them a romantic embrace in moments where it would have fit quite naturally, such as their dance on Ego in Vol. 2. Here they are in an Avengers movie saying their I love you’s and finally kissing. Just one of many small rewards for longtime fans. Of course, Infinity War suffers a bit in that same department since by its very nature the plot doesn’t allow for total resolution and people can feel cheated, but not in the way they did with Last Jedi.

      Reply

      1. Well, there is also the assumption that the resolution which doesn’t come forward now will eventually happen.

        I think that most people weren’t THAT invested in Quill and Gamora. They liked the pairing well enough, but, well, those two are not Fitzsimmons. It is nice to see them not rushing into the relationship since they are both not ready for it (yet), but I doubt many people were particularly invested in it. They are all invested in the conflict between Steve and Tony, though, so they better pay off this one next time around.

  2. I think it’s about as simple as you say. Infinity War, as much as I liked it, didn’t really have any surprises. It all went about exactly how everyone expected it to, mostly due to people having read the comics and it following the general premise of them pretty closely.

    I feel like people are going to be more upset about the sequel though, because I already see all these ridiculously convoluted theories flying around. A lot of people seem to be expecting the next one to suddenly be an entire new event like Secret Wars or some kind of complicated universal reboot where the X-Men or Fantastic Four or something are going to pop out of nowhere, and I really can’t see any of that stuff happening.

    Seems to me like it’ll probably be pretty straightforward, the remaining heroes recruit every other hero still alive, go get the stones from Thanos and reverse everything, then probably a long epilogue sequence for some goodbyes to the people whose contracts aren’t renewed. There’s not going to be time for anything much more complicated than that. A lot of overhyped people are going to be upset when that happens instead of these fanfictions they’re writing, just like with Last Jedi.

    Reply

    1. “There’s not going to be time for anything much more complicated than that. A lot of overhyped people are going to be upset when that happens instead of these fanfictions they’re writing, just like with Last Jedi.”

      That’s, sadly, probably true. Avengers 4 is likely set-up for more disappointment than Infinity War ever was. It has to resolve the story, and it has to do it after an entire year of fans going crazy with their theories. That’s even though at the end of the day Infinity War pretty much just did the same thing as the Infinity Gauntlet source material. So, it’s not some guarantee that the next film will depart wildly or go super crazy with it.

      Reply

    2. It wasn’t what I expected at all. Remember, most people who watch the MCU movies don’t even read comics, and only a fraction of them keep themselves up to do regarding the various theories. In this case a lot of people simply didn’t want to know.

      Likewise, the ones with those ridiculous theories, those are the die hard fans and comic book readers. The more run of the mill fan not only doesn’t have those kind of expectations, they are also well aware that this wouldn’t work. Hell, even under comic book readers there are more than enough who don’t even want the X-men in the MCU at all, but feel that they are better off in their own universe.

      I doubt that it will be that straightforward, though. Hell, I am actually expecting the heroes to get together not to save the world, but to avenge it…and the reverse of the snap being an unexpected outcome even for them.

      Reply

      1. “Hell, I am actually expecting the heroes to get together not to save the world, but to avenge it…and the reverse of the snap being an unexpected outcome even for them.”

        I’m actually listening to Joe and Anthony Russo’s Variety podcast interview, and they just addressed their ongoing preference for deconstruction and constant awareness that they need to stay ahead of the audience. They used an ice cream analogy, saying that if you give the audience chocolate ice cream they’ll love it the first time, like it the second time, but want something else the third time. The chocolaholics of the world might disagree, but I take their point and you can see that play out in all of their Marvel films to this point, how hard they work to surprise audiences and even take a well-known comic book story and do something just slightly different enough to catch even the hardcore off guard.

        So, I anticipate that the hardcore comic book readers might correctly guess the general shape of Avengers 4 but still not the specific outcome or plot machinations. It would be a bummer if we guessed all that beforehand, really.

      2. Yes, and there’s a ton of those people and they’re the same kind of people who hated Last Jedi. Not enough to actually not buy a ticket, and the home version, and every upcoming entry in the series, but enough that they’re furiously typing negative online reviews left and right. The more run of the mill moviegoer weren’t the ones going home and punching their pillow because Luke Skywalker didn’t turn out to be Rey’s dad and of course they were in the majority, yet we all still heard how upset “everyone” was about it.

      3. “The more run of the mill moviegoer weren’t the ones going home and punching their pillow because Luke Skywalker didn’t turn out to be Rey’s dad”

        The hardcore fans, of course, already have Rey and/or Luke Skywalker pillow cases.

        Sorry. Cheap and obvious joke. Couldn’t resist. Heck, I had some Star Wars sheets at some point when I was a kid.

  3. Wow! You covered a LOT of info in your review.

    My somewhat random thoughts…

    * I think you hit it on the head about why fans aren’t freaking about about all the deaths… Comic Book logic. No one believes any of the key deaths are permanent. Whereas in SW, No one believes Luke will come back (other than as a Force Ghost).

    * Lucas seemed to actively seek to kill everything fans loved about the trilogy, going so far as to change what the Force actually was. That felt like a massive betrayal. Disney seems to want to put a stake through the heart of the corpse to make sure it doesn’t come back from the dead. The Star Wars we have now is not the Star Wars we fell in love with. That seems to be a common theme nowadays. The recent Star Trek movies really only ST in name only. They so changed personalities and characteristics of the main characters as to make them unrecognizable. I had to stop thinking of the movies as ST in order to enjoy them. And I did once I was able to do that.

    * Infinity War kept up the fun throughout the entire movie (and I should note, kept all the characters consistent with their past movies), so that helped a lot. I thought the last two SW movies were good, but I don’t think I had much FUN watching them. And while there is some plausibility to Luke’s escaping from the universe, him doing so betrayed all we had come to expect of him. It felt more like the writers saying, “I’ll bet you didn’t see THAT coming, DID you?” rather than them trying to write a great story.

    * I was probably most said to see Maria Hill be one of those who disintegrated! 🙂

    Questions about IW…

    ? Why did Hulk refuse to come back out? Was he genuinely afraid of losing again?

    ? Why didn’t Tony just cut off Thanos’ arm to remove the gauntlet rather than just tug on it?

    ? Dr. Strange orchestrated the ending because he knew this was the one out of 1.something million potential futures where they won, right?

    ? Why didn’t Gamora just kill herself rather than wait in vain for Quill to kill her?

    ? Once Thanos had the reality stone, why did he bother to keep fighting traditionally? He could have so changed reality as to render the entire opposing army useless?

    ? Wakanda had lots of very powerful ships, right? Why were non of those used in the battle?

    ? Why did Thanos’ ships have to crash like metors around Wakanda? And why didn’t that abrupt landing kill or injure all or most of their occupants?

    ? Before Strange evaluated over a million potential futures, why didn’t he just open a portal around (first) the two minions and (finally) Thanos? The librarian figured that out, why not Strange?

    ? Spidey’s technique of blinding Thanos with web shots seemed to be effective. Why didn’t anyone else go after his eyes?

    ? What’s up with Hawkeye? I could have sworn we were assured he was in the movie even though he was missing from all promos.

    ? Does Thor need to be in an atmosphere to call down lightning? If not, why didn’t he use that in fighting Thanos in the opening scene?

    ? Where was Hulk during all the fighting that occurred just PRIOR to the opening scene that caused all that death?

    ? Do you think Rocket ended up with Bucky’s gun? 🙂

    Reply

    1. That’s the popular theory on Hulk. He’s scared because he’s never met anyone that was way stronger than him before.

      I didn’t see Strange orchestrate anything except Stark’s survival. That’s going to be the key to victory somehow.

      It would be pretty difficult for Wakanda to use air support inside an enclosed shield dome, I’d think.

      Hawkeye will probably be in the reserves next time when they have to regroup. He’s been seen on set, but that could have just as easily been while they were filming 4.

      Thor would probably not want to be calling giant lightning blasts while he’s inside a ship in space with all his people in it.

      The answer to all the rest is “because the script was written this way”.

      Reply

      1. They flew those ships a LOT in Black Panther — and there was enough space inside the shields that they could fly for several minutes before reaching the border.

        As for Thor’s lightning, can he not direct it?

      2. Ok, then they probably didn’t want to be using air support in a ground battle that their own troops were all over, because that tends to kill everyone.

        Direct it? It’s lightning. They’re in an enclosed room in a spaceship. In space. I guess for argument’s sake we can say he could summon a little baby lightning bolt that isn’t going to damage the hull and kill all the civilians, but then what good would that do him against Thanos and pals?

      3. The ground troops didn’t HAVE to go mix it up with the bad guys right away. They could have held back while the air ships strafed. For that matter, the ships could have crossed the force field and strafed the enemy on the other side.

        There have been plenty of stories where magic users and super heroes use lightning with precision — Black Lightning comes to mind. My question is whether there is lore or canon relating to Thor’s use of it. You can’t just blanket dismiss my question because it’s “lightning”.

      4. Then I guess you already have the answer here.

        I didn’t dismiss anything. I was pretty specific.

        I can see that this has been a mistake. We’re done here. Good day to you.

      5. “There have been plenty of stories where magic users and super heroes use lightning with precision — Black Lightning comes to mind. My question is whether there is lore or canon relating to Thor’s use of it. You can’t just blanket dismiss my question because it’s ‘lightning'”

        To be honest, I don’t know why Wakanda didn’t use its ships. It’s not something I gave much thought to. If there was a way for them to use the ships it certainly would have helped, but there is already so much going on with the scene. I don’t think it took away from anything.

        As for the lightning, in the films I don’t recall Thor using lightning anywhere that didn’t have some kind of atmosphere – Asgard, Earth, Jotunheim, the Dark Elf home world, the Grandmaster’s planet and Surtur’s planet in Ragnarok. In truth, he doesn’t use lightning in the films as much as we might think. In the comics I’ve read, my recollection is seeing Thor use lightning just about everywhere, if that helps.

        Of course, the argument made in Ragnarok by Odin is Thor has always had the power within him and can seemingly wield it whenver he wants, even without his axe. Then Infinity War kind of revises that and goes back to, “Yeah, that’s true some of the time, but having a weapon really, really helps with the whole lightning thing.”

      6. Yeah, one of my big pet peaves in stories is when characters fail to use technology/powers that they’ve used before and that would be really helpful in the current situation.

        Drove me crazy in ST:TNG. They did that all the time. Engineering would come up with some kind of whizbang solution to get them out of trouble and then act like it never existed in later episodes.

        In the case of Thor, they did address in Ragnarok that he didn’t need his hammer to use lightning, so I appreciate that. But, yeah, it seemed a bit retconned in IW.

      7. ” Engineering would come up with some kind of whizbang solution to get them out of trouble and then act like it never existed in later episodes.”

        Maybe everyone was just too embarassed to ask, “Didn’t Wesley Crusher do this same thing to save all of our asses back in season 2?”

        “In the case of Thor, they did address in Ragnarok that he didn’t need his hammer to use lightning, so I appreciate that. But, yeah, it seemed a bit retconned in IW.”

        Marvel occasionally trips up like this. Another example is Iron Man 3 tacking on the ending doing away with the arc reactor and giving Tony and Pepper a happy ending. That, as Shane Black envisioned it, was the natural conclusion for the trilogy, and at the time Marvel hadn’t yet secured Downey, Jr. for additional films beyind his original contract. Then Age of Ultron, Civil War, Homecoming, and Infinity War all happened and had to walk back a lot of Iron Man 3’s ending. I liked that Civil War owned up to it and said, “Look, Tony made these promises to Pepper, and then he broke them. Of course she’d break up with him, and now he’s trying to make things right and Cap’s not making it easy on him.”

        But back to Thor, it’s a similar scenario of a new director coming along to deconstruct the character and take away one of his defining characteristics only for a team-up movie to kind of back up and say, “Yeah, that’s all nice and good, but Thor doesn’t always have a hammer in the comics. Some times he has his axe Stormbreaker. What if he we did that? He can’t just be Raiden shooting everyone with lightning from his eyes and fingers.”

      8. (presses virtual LIKE button) 🙂

      9. “That’s the popular theory on Hulk. He’s scared because he’s never met anyone that was way stronger than him before.”

        It’s the most obvious explanation. Hulk is a rather simple-minded rage monster who just loves to fight, is tired of sharing time with Bruce, and is ultimately kind of lonely, thus his strong need for Thor not to leave him in Ragnarok. Then suddenly this big ass dude tosses him around like he once did with Loki back in the day. It’s enough to make him gun-shy.

        Vanity Fair says Ruffalo was promised a pronounced character arc that would play from Ragnarok to Infinity to Avengers 4, which may or may not then end with him leaving the MCU. Ragnarok is Hulk’s movie; Infinity War is Bruce’s. Avengers 4 will likely now split more evenly between both of them.

    2. “Comic Book logic. No one believes any of the key deaths are permanent. Whereas in SW, No one believes Luke will come back (other than as a Force Ghost).” Good point. Deaths abound on both sides, and the possibilities for return exist on both side but it still feels more permanent with Last Jedi whereas Infinity War is in pure comic book territory.

      “I had to stop thinking of the movies as ST in order to enjoy them. And I did once I was able to do that.” – I’ve gone through a similar transition with the new Star Trek films. I haven’t struggled as much with the new Star Wars films as others though. I quite like them. I was trying in this article to figure out why people hate them so much, and it really is too easy to just say fans need to get over themselves or whatever. There’s a history of conflict between fan and franchise here, and Disney’s marketing really pulled one over on everyone with Last Jedi, to their own peril. And, frankly, considering the choices Rian Johnson made it would be more surprising if everyone had just been okay with it.

      “And while there is some plausibility to Luke’s escaping from the universe, him doing so betrayed all we had come to expect of him. It felt more like the writers saying, “I’ll bet you didn’t see THAT coming, DID you?” rather than them trying to write a great story.” – I liked what Mark Hamill said about finding his “in” for this version of Luke by re-examining his own changing view of the world from the optimism of his youth to the cynicism of his adulthood vis-a-vis what baby boomers thought the world was going to be and the actual world Gen X-ers and Millenials inherited. However, when Luke’s been this foundational character for an entire generation it hurts and doesn’t feel right to some to see him acting like Yoda mixed with Ben Kenobi but minus any sense of hope or will to live on.

      ” I was probably most said to see Maria Hill be one of those who disintegrated!” – I was just happy to see her at all. It’s been a while since she’s popped up in the MCU. ANd now she popped right back out.

      “Why did Hulk refuse to come back out? Was he genuinely afraid of losing again?” – That’s my theory and it’s the most obvious one. The film doesn’t really say for sure, though.

      “Why didn’t Gamora just kill herself rather than wait in vain for Quill to kill her?” – Because she was holding out hope that dying wouldn’t be absolutely necessary. They could have surprised Thanos, got the drop on him, which is exactly what he lets them think they did. Visions is the MacGuffn shouting “Kill me!” the whole film; Gamora’s the MacGuffin more whispering, like in a “If this all goes south you know what you have to do” kind of way.

      “Dr. Strange orchestrated the ending because he knew this was the one out of 1.something million potential futures where they won, right?” – My guess as well.

      “Why didn’t Tony just cut off Thanos’ arm to remove the gauntlet rather than just tug on it?” – The movie doesn’t explicitly spell this out, but Thanos is supposed to have super tough skin to crack. After all, the entirety of his final fight with Team Iron Man results in him shedding just a single drop of blood. It’s supposed to take a special caliber of weapon to pierce his skin. Thor had just such a weapon; Iron Man, presumably, did not.

      “Once Thanos had the reality stone, why did he bother to keep fighting traditionally? He could have so changed reality as to render the entire opposing army useless?” – Comic book logic, mostly. It’s endemic to the genre that the most powerful adversaries will often still solve problems with their fists even if it doesn’t make sense anymore.

      “Why didn’t that abrupt landing kill or injure all or most of their occupants?” – Super strong seatbelts? They must have consulted with Ralph Nader.

      “Wakanda had lots of very powerful ships, right? Why were non of those used in the battle?” – Because they used them all in Black Panther?

      “Spidey’s technique of blinding Thanos with web shots seemed to be effective. Why didn’t anyone else go after his eyes?” – Mostly because it seeme like the strategy was a high-low kind of thing. Spidey, you go for the eyes. Drax, go for the knees. Tony and Doctor Strange take his left and right side. Quill drop in from above, and when the time is right we’ll drop Mantis on his head.

      “What’s up with Hawkeye? I could have sworn we were assured he was in the movie even though he was missing from all promos.” – I think it’s more we’ve been assured we’ll see him again before it’s over, not that he was definitely in Infinity War. The film spells it out that Hawkeye and Ant-Man are each on house-arrest after Civil War, just at home, chilling. The working theory is Hawkeye will lose half if not all of his family do to Thanos’ finger snap, and that will bring him out of retirement for revenge in Avengers 4.

      “Does Thor need to be in an atmosphere to call down lightning? If not, why didn’t he use that in fighting Thanos in the opening scene?” – To be fair, we don’t know that he didn’t use lightning in that opening fight because we only see the tail end of it, by which point he’s already gotten his ass kicked. However, when I think back on all of the Thor movies I’ve only ever seen him the lightning powers in a place with an atmosphere. There was a scene in the Infinity War trailer of him using his powers when reviving the dying star, but it’s not in the movie.

      “Where was Hulk during all the fighting that occurred just PRIOR to the opening scene that caused all that death?” – Laying in wait as their secret weapon? More likely, he was helping Valkyrie, Korg and a bunch of Asgardians escape, and then he went back to help Thor and Loki.

      “Do you think Rocket ended up with Bucky’s gun? ” – Oh, absolutely. He’s just peeved he didn’t get the arm as well, although should the arm have really turned to ash since it’s a prosthetic and not actuall…let’s not pull on that thread.

      Reply

      1. Love all your answers there, Kelly! 🙂

  4. A good article KK. It actually reminded me of the time I dropped the bombshell that there as to be this Anakin cameo. Sorry about that. Equally so did i badly want Snoke to be Darth Plagious just to link all the prequels and sequels together. But then I am a mature adult with layers of Star Wars history growing up and nostalgia and as a grown up I expect layers of clever plot and story line similar to Usual Suspects or Memento. I turn to my son who easily lapped up the episode enjoying it more so than Force Awakens because Han wasn’t brutally murdered in this one (just the script some might argue). But also all the battles and fights and action. There wasnt as much in Force Awakens apparently. So I guess that was a reality check for me on TLJ. Anyway the lesson learnt for me is not to get sucked in by all the internet fan theory and come episode 9 I am going in with minimal expectations and exposure to gossip. Weather that will make me feel better or worse remains to be seen. I do wander if TLJ would have grossed more had there been no internet such was the fame of Empire Strikes Back. Word of mouth about the shocking plot outsell most other movies back then. I think what makes Marvel work is they spent from the start weaving a tapestry of stories all interlinking with phases and an order of multiple stories. I am not sure Star wars follows the same formula (shockin considering both are owned ultimately by Disney). As I understand it Rian Johnson was writing Episode 8 before episode 7 was released so clearly he was bound to ignore any prompts from what the fans enjoyed in 7

    Reply

    1. “It actually reminded me of the time I dropped the bombshell that there as to be this Anakin cameo.”

      Not gonna lie – first time I saw Last Jedi, when Luke walked up to the tree right before Yoda appeared I did think, “Holy shit. Here comes the Anakin cameo. The internet was right!”

      “As I understand it Rian Johnson was writing Episode 8 before episode 7 was released so clearly he was bound to ignore any prompts from what the fans enjoyed in 7”

      Yes, he was. He was afforded the ryluxu of working in a bit of a vaccuum and simply reading the Force Awakens script and watching dailies and deciding where he felt the story would naturally and in some cases need to go next. The people making Episode 9 obviously don’t have the same benefit.

      Reply

  5. BTW, when Thanos sat down to finally enjoy his highly anticipated sunset, I totally expected an arrow from Hawkeye to slice through through his forehead. I figured that was his promised inclusion in the movie. Sadly, I was wrong.

    Reply

  6. Was anyone else bothered by Steve Rogers actually holding his own against Thanos better than Hulk did?

    Reply

    1. No one? Thanos threw Hulk around like a rag doll (“puny monster!”) and then actually grimaced when trying to muscle through Steve.

      Reply

      1. I took that scene as just one of those comic book nerd moments, like when Cap caused Thor’s hammer to nudge just a little bit when trying to pick it up on Age of Ultron. There are official Marvel charts out there breaking down the strongest, fastest, and smartest Marvel comic book characters. For example, that’s how we know Shuri is technically considered the smartest individual in the Marvel universe, or at least smarter than Tony Stark. Glancing just now, it appears as if Hulk is considered physically stronger than Cap but just below Thanos. But IW wasn’t so much going for that as it was using its opening scene to establish Thanos as the biggest of the big bads (he outsmarts and kills a former Avengers/Thor villain and outmuscles the Avengers biggest and strongest member) and then give Team Cap’s Avengers one sole heroic moment in their direct battle with Thanos. Since Cap is their leader and most heroic, giving him the moment of at least momentarily surprising Thanos with his strenghth made narrative sence even if it doesn’t quite hold up the logic test of who is actually the phsyically strongest among them.

      2. Yeah, I get that. It just feels like a cheap writers’ trick.

        But, I’m surprised to hear that Cap in canon is nearly as strong as the Hulk — especially since Hulk is supposed to get consistently stronger the angrier he gets.

        I didn’t follow Captain America closely as a kid, but my vague recollection was that the serum was supposed to give him about the strength of ten men. Is that wrong?

      3. “I didn’t follow Captain America closely as a kid, but my vague recollection was that the serum was supposed to give him about the strength of ten men.”

        That sounds about right, though it could easily be higher than 10. This isn’t a particular area of comic book lore I’ver ever paid much attention to. I’ve only even recently become aware that Marvel kept lists of their strongest and smartest.

  7. I liked both but I did like Infinity War better than The Last Jedi

    Reply

    1. I suppose I should have made it more clear in the article that it’s totally possible to actually like both movies. I’m actually right there with you – I enjoyed both Infinity and Last Jedi. I might have liked Last Jedi just a little more because to me it seems like an actual movie with a slightly more traditional plot structure and set of character arcs whereas Infinity War is a bit more like we start in the third act and never leave it. Plus, I’m in the crowd who doesn’t quite know how to fairly judge Infinity War until we see Avengers 4. Really, though, I had a lot of fun with both movies. So, I’m good either way.

      Reply

  8. What was probably most impressive in IW is how seamless the CGI was. Thanos looked completely organic to me. And throughout the entire movie, I was never once taken out of the movie to think about the special effects. 100% believable.

    Separately, my son commented on how impressed he was that even with so many characters being features no one felt rushed or short shrifted.

    Reply

    1. “What was probably most impressive in IW is how seamless the CGI was. Thanos looked completely organic to me. And throughout the entire movie, I was never once taken out of the movie to think about the special effects. 100% believable.”

      It’s almost become a cliche for film fans to cry about the tangible power and impact of practical effects versus nice today, dated tomorrow CGI, but it’s a real argument that’s ongoing and films like Justice League show what happens with terrible CGI.

      But IW is a fantastic counterargument. Other than that final, clearly fake-looking shot of all the heroes standing and looking sad on Earth (both Cheadle and Ruffalo look unintentionally hilarious with their real heads poking out of clearly CGI suits), the CGI throughout IW is among the best I’ve ever seen. All of the exotic alien locations, people in CGI costumes, and not one, not two, but 5 CGI villains (Thanos and his Black Order). It’s such a gorgeous film to look at. You almost forget that Thanos isn’t real…almost.

      “Separately, my son commented on how impressed he was that even with so many characters being features no one felt rushed or short shrifted.”

      There are some characters who don’t get much, but everyone at least gets one cool moment. Quite the juggling act.

      Reply

      1. Yes, there are characters that didn’t get much screen time, but to us it felt natural and organic, not rushed or cut out. I suppose if I was a super fan of Buckey or some of the other characters with less time on screen I might be a bit upset, but from a purely story telling perspective I found it amazing how well they pulled it off.

      2. “from a purely story telling perspective I found it amazing how well they pulled it off.”

        Agreed. IW is a feat of narrative engineering and should always be commended for pulling off the seemingly impossible. The directors and screenwriters have upped the scale with each new Marvel movie they’ve made, from Winter Soldier to Civil War to Infinity War and next Avengers 4. Before that, they established the insanely complicated interlocking storytelling structure of Arrested Development and admirably handled an ensemble cast in some of the bigger Community episodes. Without that past experience, I don’t know if they could have really pulled Infinity War together.

  9. Is Don Cheadle ill or dying? I know yhat sounds harsh but they have scaled his role down a lot. I know war machine got it bad in civil war but that actor looks really skinny and frail these days.

    Reply

    1. I get what you’re saying, but just the other day I caught a bit of the old 90s disaster movie Volcano with Tommy Lee Jones. Turns out, a youngish Don Cheadle is in that, and he honestly looks almost as skinny as he does in IW.

      Reply

      1. He was beefed up for Out of Sight with george clooney and also in oceans 11 and 12 so dont get it. There is no role he did to lose weight. Maybe he turned vegan.

  10. Love this post, thank you so much for sharing! I got the insane opportunity to go to the World Premiere of Avengers: Infinity War two weeks ago and meet all the cast at the after party. It was truly a blast! I’m also really grateful I got to meet Tom Holland last weekend for his charity event. I wrote posts about it if you’d like to check them out!

    Love, Tiffany Lea
    https://zimmylifestyle.com

    Reply

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