There have been a lot of disappointing superhero films in recent memory, from Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Sometimes it can even feel like superhero films in general are getting progressively worse. Each film is hyped up and because of that, half the time we’re disappointed by what we end up seeing on the big screen. As expected, there is a lot of hype surrounding Joe and Anthony Russo’s Avengers: Infinity War, partly because the trailer was masterfully thrilling and partly because this is a story ten years in the making.
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We want this film to be as awesome as it looks, but after so much disappointment, should we be getting our hopes up? Almost every film entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has taken a formulaic approach when it comes to storytelling, which isn’t a necessarily a bad thing. A lot of the time, those films are still able to offer new and exciting twists, even if their stories are virtually the same. However, it’s not always enough to satisfy an audience undeniably passionate about comic book adaptations. It’s obviously bigger, but from what we can tell, the story will still be the same. Will Avengers: Infinity War really be able to offer us something as new as we’ve been promised? Or is the hype and our own passion setting us up for disappointment?
If you take a good, long look at the MCU, you might just be able to reign in your expectations and take an educated guess at what’s actually in store for us.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been split up into phases. Phase One began with Jon Favreau’s Iron Man way back in 2008 and culminated in The Avengers (directed by Joss Whedon), after several years of brilliant characters introduced through similar plots. Now, the actual plot of The Avengers wasn’t anything new, it just occurred on a much larger scale and it did something no other film had ever done before: it tied the bits and pieces of a film universe together.
Phase Two culminated with Avengers: Age of Ultron (directed by Joss Whedon), but that wasn’t nearly as well-received as its predecessor. It introduced new characters, it pushed more familiar ones into other journeys — like Thor’s inevitably unsuccessful quest to find the rest of the Infinity Stones — and it helped to develop the dynamic between our favorite superheroes. Critics and fans alike agreed that there just weren’t as many memorable moments, proving that offering more epic fight scenes isn’t always the way to go, especially when they’re strung across a plot we’re all too familiar with: big good guys versus big bad guys. Of course, the Avengers would ultimately win, and Ultron would lose. The death of a new character wasn’t enough to allay the familiarity of the plot.
Then in Phase Three, we got to see Captain America: Civil War (directed by Joe and Anthony Russo), which had big repercussions for MCU’s ongoing story. There weren’t as many real fight sequences as the Avengers films– there wasn’t even a huge bad guy– but it didn’t need them. The film’s focus was on the relationships between each superhero and the consequences of their reckless antics. The main antagonist, Baron Zemo, was distinct from other supervillains – not only did he not have any powers, but he actually succeeded in his goal of ripping the Avengers apart.
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