Revisiting Avengers: Infinity War now that it’s on home video formats is an interesting experience. I saw it a couple of times during its theatrical run and then engaged in the online discussion about the film.
There were complaints about it, to be sure, though nothing as vicious as the online discussions from a vocal minority surrounding, say, The Last Jedi. Some felt the emotional resonance of the end of the film is somehow diminished because we know that it’s a comic book movie and that there’s a sequel coming and that the actors are all signed up for other sequels. Watching it again, I’m not sure those who complain about these things are watching movies correctly.
Roger Ebert once said that movies are machines that create empathy. How can one possibly watch a movie as emotionally fraught and filled with loss as Infinity War and ignore those feelings because something better will happen to our heroes in the future? Frankly, that’s how storytelling works. You get the heroes in the worst place they can be, and then show you how they get back out. Did anyone honestly watch The Empire Strikes Back and thinks they were going to leave Han Solo in carbonite forever? Or that Luke would forever be unsure of his parentage? No.
But, like Luke struggling on that weather vane about the revelation of his true parentage, the power of emotion at the end of Infinity War comes not from what happens, but by how characters react. We have to empathize with Tony Stark deeply. When Peter Park disintegrates after Thanos’s cosmic “snap,” how can you maintain your cynicism about the fact that there’s a slated sequel to the last Spider-Man movie? I would argue that if you can’t suspend your disbelief on that point, you’re watching the movie on a meta level you’re not intended to and not actually appreciating the art for the sake of itself, but for something else. There is nothing objectively wrong with how these moments are constructed, it really is a matter of how the audience views it.
After repeated viewings, I find myself even more fully immersed into the world and the story this particular film sets out to tell and all of the other knowledge I have about the future of the franchise melts away and I think it’s easy enough to get into that headspace.
For a film that is intended to cap off 10 years of movies and launch us into another era, it really does its job well.
As for the Blu-ray presentation of the film itself, this is packed full of more extras than other films in this day and age. The documentaries and commentary are worth the price of admission and will keep you busy for hours. They’re illuminating and enlightening. I’d gladly trade the outtakes and blooper reel for a more detailed behind the scenes look at the film, but I also understand there might not be a good way to do that since the production of this film was so inextricably tied to the next Avengers film that we know so little about. Hopefully, we get a long look at the making of on the next release.
The commentary has a lot of fascinating tidbits as well and is definitely worth your time. This is a set that I can see myself going back to a lot more often than many of the previous Marvel installments. In fact, this one might be the film I’ve gone back to the most in the entire franchise, followed closely by Thor: Ragnarok and Winter Soldier. It’s just so entertaining and dripping with all of the drama and action I want out of a massive team-up of comic book characters.