Fan Chats #2: 'Avengers: Infinity War'

Welcome to Comic-Book Chats. Here members of the team will give commentary and opinions about the latest fandom related news. In this instalment we look at Avengers: Infinity War. On the panel are Fantastic Universes writers Eric Lee, Philip Clark, and Steve J Ray.

What was your overall impression of 'Infinity War'?

Philip: The film was fantastic. It gripped you, from start to finish. It had me edge of my seat, wondering what was going to happen next.
Eric: I am an unapologetic MCU fan. I know all of the movies inside and out, so I maybe a little biased when I say: "Wow, this film is amazing."
Steve: I really enjoyed it. After the silly, but fun antics of Thor: Raganarok, and the completely underwhelming Black Panther, it was rock solid comic-book space opera.
Eric: Oh you didn't like Black Panther?
Steve: I loved Wakanda... that's about it. T'Challa was awesome in Civil War, but he was completely overshadowed and upstaged by his sister, his ex, his bodyguard, his enemy, and his nation. It was supposed to be HIS movie, but he was totally blah.
Plus, the fact that the whole plot was a rehash of the Lion King movies.
Two men want to be king. The new king doesn't feel ready to take on the role. He has a spirit journey and sees his dead dad... yawn.
I know that Disney own Marvel now, but that was just ridiculous.

Eric: I was curious of how international audiences would respond to Black Panther, since it is such a deeply American movie.
T'Challa is gonna be a mighty king, enemies beware!

Have you seen all of the preceding MCU movies before 'Infinity War'?

Philip: The MCU had a little dip in Phase 2, I feel most of the weakest movies happened during that part. Don’t get me wrong.; it also happens to have my favorite Marvel movie: Winter Soldier. But Iron Man 3? Thor: Dark World? I mean. Age of Ultron wasn’t as good as it could have been. Still a great film, but not as good as I had expected, I suppose.
Steve: Have them, bought them, love them... except for Thor: Dark World and Black Panther, which I still kinda like, though.
Eric: Thor: Dark World is also one of my least favorite MCU movies, because of how cookie cutter it was.
All the MCU movies prior to 'Infinity War'

Eric: I am personally trying to do a mental exercise of which movies are the most essential to view to understand Infinity War.
Steve: In a way all of them, but the Thor, Avengers, and Guardians movies in particular.
Eric: Definitely all of them if you have time.
Steve: Like I said, most of them are GREAT.
Eric: Agreed.

What did you think of Thanos? Did he live up to the hype since the ending of 'Avengers' 1?

Philip: In their three most recent movies, Marvel have created some of their most fearsome villains. Hela, Killmonger and Thanos. From the first moment Thanos appeared on screem, his sheer power was evident, and that was without any of the Infinity Stones. He did not disappoint.
Steve: He's one of the most layered, textured and relatable villains in decades.
Eric: Thanos had a great motivation. It made him sympathetic, but at the same time, gave him excuses to kill a lot of people.
Philip: Thanos was a villain that you could relate to. Everything he did was for a reason, and he was focused solely on achieving his goal. Everything he set out to do, he accomplished.
Thanos with the Infinity Gauntlet

Steve: He had a real, and legitimate reason for doing what he was doing. He's like a cosmic Ra's Al Ghul. You can't really call either character a villain, as they're not evil, per-se.
Eric: Well MCU Thanos has noble motives, but he is still a villain, because he has no qualms about murdering and torturing people to get his way. Like, killing half of a population to save the universe could be seen as sorta noble, but torturing people like Nebula or Thor just means you've lost your moral high ground
Steve: I think he sees it more as euthanasia than murder. It's for the good of the universe. He doesn't target specific groups, or bad people, or good people... it was all completely random.

How do you feel about the way the Russo brothers handled the directing? Do you feel the balanced all of the plot points well?

Steve: I think after the amazing job they did on Winter Soldier, which is up there with Batman Begins, and The Dark Knight as my favorite super hero movies EVER, and with Civil War, they were the best choice.
Philip: The Russo brothers did a brilliant job of directing the film. It reminded me of the LOTR trilogy, in terms of how the different plot lines and stories are portrayed. The three separate threads, while the main story intertwines all of the plotlines together.
Steve: Action, spectacle, comedy, character. The film had everything.
Philip: The main worry was how much screen-time each character would get and that would be handled. Honestly, I think the Russo brothers handled it all perfectly. Everyone got the amount of screentime that was right for their character.
The Russo Brothers on set with Scarlett Johansson

Any standout performances or surprise characters?

Steve: I loved Wanda and Vision. I am a huge Spidey mark. When Cap appeared I got chills.
Philip: The moment Cap arrived was probably my favorite moment in the entire film.
Eric: Same here. It was just a great moment all round. I love how his moral stance dictated the earth Avengers plot: "We don't trade lives"
Philip: It’s nice to finally see Thor as the powerhouse that he is. I mean, Cap too. And, yet again, Scarlet Witch proves to be the most powerful character in the Marvel universe.
Eric: Thor is my number one choice for the MVP.
Steve: Absolutely. The God Of Thunder rules this movie.

Eric: That dude lost everything and still fights the good fight.
What are your favorite moments from the film?

Philip: I mean, where do I even start? There are a lot of great moments. We mentioned; the moment Cap turned up, the first time Thanos appeared, the battle in Wakanda.
Shuri putting Bruce Banner to shame.
Every time Thor, Groot and Rocket were on screen.
Steve: Drax. The whole invisble thing, and man-love for Thor was hilarious. Plus Quill's jealousy, and Rocket's line to him about being a sandwich away from becoming chubby was priceless.
Eric: Oh, yeah... Drax! Man is he stupid, but hilarious.
Philip: Who is Gamora? Where is Gamora? Why is Gamora? So funny.
Eric: My favorite small scene was when the Wakandan fores charged towards Thanos' army and Cap and Black Panther easily outpaced the rest of them. It was such a small gag, but it made me feel joy.
Steve: Yes. That was actually a pretty sweet character touch.
Eric: Also, that part where Vision was telling Scarlet Witch to kill him and Vision says something like," One life does not compare to millions" and Cap responds, "No, but it should". That's what a hero is!
Steve: So many moments. Vision's line that you mentioned, Cap's first appearance, the AWESOME Iron Spider costume (way better than the awful red and gold one from the comics), ALL the fights, Thanos... the surprise return of the Red Skull!
The Red Skull and the Tesseract

Eric: Wow! Yeah the Red Skull. That was the biggest surprise for me
Steve: That was great.
Eric: I like how mellow and humble the Red Skull is now. But one must wonder what he has been doing in his free time on a deserted alien planet. I imagine it is like the Lonely Luke Skywalker Twitter feed, where he tweets about talking to rocks.
Steve: Now, that's funny!
I think that he's just biding his time. When some of the heroes are brought back to life, some unwanted returns will also be on the cards, methinks.
Eric: That's an interesting theory.

What do you think of the Children of Thanos aka the Black Order?

The Black Order and Loki

Steve: The Children Of Thanos were truly foes to be reckoned with.
Philip: They gave me chills. Their power levels were easily a match for our heroes, and they only ever came at them two at a time. Imagine if all four ever attacked together?!? Game. Over!
They were mean, scary and, most importantly, gave our heroes a run for their money.
Eric: They felt dangerous. I was waiting for multiple heroes to be eviscerated by them. They were the perfect hench-people. Powerful enough to be dangerous, but smug and arrogant, to the point where I felt relief when they got killed off.
Steve: Absolutely. You really felt that the Avengers were in trouble.
The female battle at the end was fantastic!

Were there any lowlights or nitpicks you did not like?

Steve: [The Hulk refusing to come out]. That pissed me off. I'm sorry, but that was TOTALLY OUT OF CHARACTER. Hulk gets madder, bigger and stronger. Thanos could have thrown him to Earth to get rid of him, he would NOT have turned into a (CENSORED) and hidden away. Bruce in the Hulk Buster armor was just crap.
Eric: I thought of it like how the Hulk is mentally a two year old, so what would a two year old do in this situation?
Steve: More like a 6-8 year old... WITH SUPER STRENGTH. One of those would throw a tantrum and wreck the place. Let's just say that was the only part of the movie that I really didn't like.
Eric: For me, it was the Gamora/Thanos parts.
Philip: Ah... Gamora.
Steve: I also felt that the parts where Thor was making his new hammer were a little dragged out.

Eric: The Gamora/Thanos parts were essential, but could have been trimmed back. They were too drawn out too.
Philip: Yeah, the most dangerous woman in the Galaxy, reduced to playing an emotional wreck.
Steve: The only time that I saw the comics Gamora in this movie was when the Guardians arrived at Knowhere, and it looked like she'd killed Thanos.
Philip: Exactly!
Steve: She's a total badass for, like, two minutes.
Philip: And in a movie with a solid group of bad ass women, why Gamora couldn't have been added to that list beats me.
Eric: I think it is also odd that we don’t know what makes Gamora so special to Thanos as opposed to, say, Nebula.
Philip: It's a massive shame due to the acting chops of Zoe Saldana. She could've totally pulled off that vibe.
Eric: It was a little weird to see Gamora cry so much. It was like the ending of Spider-Man 3, where everyone cries.
Steve: Don't go bringing up THAT movie.
Philip: Oh, man. It's a sad, sad day where we're comparing parts of Infinity War to Spider-Man 3.
Steve: The Gamora from the comics would NEVER have given up the location of the Soul Stone after making such a massive deal of it to Quill only 10 mins earlier. She seems to have been there just to make Thanos appear less of an ass.
Philip: She didn't do that particularly well either, he was still an ass.
Steve: But an ass with a slight, albeit tiny soft spot.
Philip: That he throws off a cliff.
Steve: Yes. She hated him for decades, but fell for him in the end.

How receptive was your audience to 'Infinity War'?

Black Panther, Captain America, and Black Widow prepare for battle

Steve: My crowd was ON POINT! They were really into it. Though everyone at the end had NO CLUE what the symbol on Fury's communications device meant.
Philip: On the whole, the audience I watched it with kept relatively quiet. Apart from a few laugh out loud moments primarily with Thor, Groot and Rocket.
Eric: Could you feel the reaction in the room when characters started disintegrating?
Steve: Hell yes!
Philip: Shock and horror.
Eric: It was stunned silence, until Groot started disappearing and they were literally yelling, "No, no, no!!!"
Philip: Everyone was silent. The occasional sobbing then the, "What the f---" as the credits started rolling. I have to say that Scarlet Witch hit me the hardest. She's always been one of my favourite characters and it's good to see her being done justice on the big screen.

Were you surprised by the ending?

Phillip: The ending... oh, the ending. I was expecting something bad, but I was NOT prepared for that at all. I thought I was ready for anything, but man! That freaking killed.
Eric: I sorta knew it was coming, because of the comics, but I was shocked they went as far as to show your favourite characters disintegrate in a mainstream movie.
Steve: I was destroyed by the ending. Seeing Loki, and Heimdall die in THE FIRST TEN MINUTES. Then Gamora, Spidey, the Guardians, Doctor Strange, and Vision go too? I was hoping that the post-credits scene would cheer me up, but NO. "Oh look, Maria Hill and Nick Fury, I've MISSED those guys! Wait, what? NOOOOOO!" Talk about kick a fan while he's down.
Eric: I was absolutely stunned at the ending. Like in a "What just happened, I need to process this" kind of way.

What did you think of the post-credits scene?

Eric: I love how Nick Fury's last words were "Mutherf...."
Steve: Pulp Fiction: The Marvel Years.
That made things go down easier for me, though I'm still asked EVERY SINGLE DAY what that symbol meant on Fury's comms device. The world in general has no clue who Marvel's version of Captain Marvel even is.
Philip: The credits gave just enough time to try and process what had happened. Then comes the post-credit scene that just rips your heart out, yet again.
Eric: I got pretty excited for Captain Marvel's logo on the pager, because I really did not know what Nick Fury was doing for a moment.
Steve: Me too! My poor wife had no clue, but my son and I lapped it up!
Philip: Oh, man. The Captain Marvel reveal was brilliant.

Eric: I wasn't initially excited for Captain Marvel's movie, but that stinger got me pumped.
Captain Marvel

So did Infinity War get you properly excited for Avengers 4?

Philip: YES!
Steve: Anxious is probably a better word than excited.
Philip: They have a lot of explaining to do that's for damn sure.
Steve: That was like the worst end of season cliffhanger EVER!
Philip: Thanos certainly has it coming. Although, it looked like the gauntlet was wrecked, so I wonder how they'll work around that.

Any predictions for 'Avengers 4'?

Philip: I'm still holding onto the fact that Nebula will sacrifice herself for Gamora to come back.
Steve: Absolutely. I can see that. Cap and/or Tony will sacrifice themselves to bring the others back too.
Philip: I can see it being Tony. Story wise it makes more sense, since he's on a path of redemption. And it'd be poetic to end it with the person that began it
Eric: Definitely Tony will bite it since Robert Downey, Jr. is really getting up in those years. Otherwise, I assume that it will be the original team plus Nebula, Rocket, Captain Marvel, and Ant Man versus Thanos.
Steve: And Korg and Valkyrie!
Philip: Hawkeye!!
Steve: Shuri!
Philip: I feel like Clint would make a quip about not being able to retire in peace.
Eric: Plus: a Cap and Iron Man reunion.
Philip: That'd certainly be interesting. Oh man, I would love to see that
Eric: You know it's inevitable.

Cap and Tony. Is a reconciliation on the cards?

Philip: Then there's Thor, not understanding why the team's no longer speaking to each other, and just being Thor.
Steve: Yeah, he missed the whole Winter Soldier / Civil War shenanigans.
Eric: Oh yeah, he is the only Avenger who is clueless about Civil War. I wonder what he'll say about Bucky killing Tony's parents.
Steve: What's a Bucky?
Eric: Who's a Bucky?
Philip: Why's a Bucky?
Steve: How much is a Bucky? About 100 Centsy.
Sorry... again.
"I'm a Bucky..." 


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