With ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ currently ripping a hole through the record books of box office history, it seems only fitting to look back in time at the character that got the entire MCU off to a hot start: Iron Man. Tony Stark, played to perfection by Robert Downey Jr, is inarguably the heart and soul of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The billionaire-playboy-philanthropist has turned into one of the most iconic characters in comic book history and his continued growth up to and into ‘Infinity War’ serves to reminds viewers just how powerful the character’s arc has been. For fans not looking to read spoilers about ‘Infinity War’ now is your one and only warning.
May 2nd, 2008 was the start of Tony Stark’s journey in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the now-legendary ‘Iron Man’ standalone film. With little more than the bare bones of a script and a slate of talented actors, including Jeff Bridges and Gwyneth Paltrow, ‘Iron Man’ opened up the MCU with a bang and a flourish. Now, a decade later, Stark is at the center of the biggest comic book event of all time: the Infinity Wars featuring Thanos, the Mad Titan.
In ‘Infinity War’, Stark takes on a major role as the leader in bringing the fight to Thanos himself. Alongside Doctor Strange and Spider-Man, Stark presents himself as once more the savior of mankind — willing to put his life on the line in order to put Thanos’ away for good, echoing the events of the first ‘Avengers’ film and the attack on New York. Stark is still, at heart, much the same character as he has always been but now there is a layer of responsibility and gravitas that permeates every action he takes. No longer is he the carefree, happy-go-lucky bringer of technology and death. Every move is calculated, every word is weighed, and each action he takes is predicated on saving his home from Thanos. It’s this ability, making a flamboyant comic book character into a true hero, that has given Marvel and Tony Stark the edge over any other competitive options in the comic book world.
There has been a lot of hype around Infinity War, The Avengers and the overall MCU. One thing that is certain is that Avengers: Infinity War has lived up to the hype brought forth by the marketing and the fans. One of the aspects of the hype is the title of the upcoming Avengers 4 which was original referred to as Infinity War Part 2. They changed the title into something that they have not released to the public yet. One of the reasons behind this is that the title would be a spoiler to Infinity War. Now that a good number of people have seen the movie, there are more educated theories on what the title of Avengers 4 could be.
One title that people are thinking it can be is Infinity Gauntlet. Even though this title is denied, it does make sense because the Infinity Gauntlet comic book series involves a version of the events that happened in Infinity War (although it has played out differently in a lot of ways).
Another title that people are bouncing around is The Secret Wars. This involves time travel and many people think that a lot of what has happened at the end of Infinity War is going to be reversed with the time stone.
The Russo brothers have stated that the title of the film will deal with the heart of the story. Therefore, some people are suggesting that the title might be Avengers: Endgame for many reasons. One reason is that this comes from a line spoken by Doctor Strange where he said that they were in the endgame. This is also partially because the people responsible for the MCU have suggested that this next Avengers movie is supposed to be the end of the MCU as everyone knows it. Another title that has a similar effect is Avengers: Rebirth, which plays with the idea of bringing the MCU into a new era with new characters.
Captain America. Thor. Doctor Strange. Thanos. Tony Stark. Spider-Man. Ten years of work has led up to the release of the most ambitious crossover film of all time, ‘Avengers: Infinity War’. With some of the most recognizable names in nerd-culture anchoring the film, and some of the most charismatic actors in the world representing them, it is the unassuming (but beautiful) Zoe Saldana that steals the show. Saldana plays the complex-yet-fearless Guardian of the Galaxy, Gamora, and she sets the tone as the heart and soul of the ‘Infinity War’ film — and that’s just fine by us. If you have not seen ‘Infinity War’ you might want to turn back now for there are spoilers coming your way.
Gamora is the Daughter of Thanos. Stolen from her home planet after her mother was killed, Thanos made her into something of his personal pet-project. He raised her to be the perfect killer and credits her as being the most dangerous ‘woman in the galaxy’ because of his upbringing. There is true love and pride in Thanos’ voice when he says this and Gamora, despite herself, feels something in return. Unfortunately for Gamora, the complex and Stockholm-like feelings that she has for Thanos end up undoing her. It is revealed, roughly 2/3rds of the way through ‘Infinity War’, that she must be killed in order for Thanos to acquire the Soul Stone. Thanos does the deed in one of the most powerful moments in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe and fans everywhere are left shocked to their core.
While Gamora has to die for Thanos to succeed and, ultimately, push the story forward, it is what her character did in life that will be remembered. Gamora elevates the stakes for everyone involved while giving Chris Pratt’s character, Peter Quill, one of the most beautiful and frustrating character arcs in the entire film. Gamora’s presence looms large over every sequence, from Titan and Knowhere all the way back to Wakanda on Earth, and that is by design. She is the fabric by which the MCU has pulled itself together and we praise the Russo Brothers and James Gunn for handling her growth so well.
At this point in time, it is almost impossible to say that Disney doesn’t singlehandedly hold the future of all nerd-culture in the palm of their clenched, gauntleted fist. Having taken over ‘Star Wars’ and the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’ it seems like there are few options for entertainment at the Box Office that don’t have Disney looming over them. Still, this entertainment monopoly hasn’t been all bad and we can point to the wildly successful, both critically and financially, ‘Infinity War’ as proof. However, Disney dropped the ball with ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ and fans are starting to wonder why the monolithic production company is having trouble balancing the two properties. Let’s take a spoilers-free look at how Disney is juggling two of the biggest properties in nerd culture.
Both ‘The Last Jedi’ and ‘Infinity War’ were box office juggernauts that did things financially that few other filmmakers will ever dream to dream, excluding guys like James Cameron. However, despite their mutual success only ‘Infinity War’ is bringing in the amazing critical reception while ‘The Last Jedi’ is being named one of the most divisive entries into the entire ‘Star Wars’ universe. What is the difference between the two properties? At face value they both have much in common: they are products of years of preparation and they feature some of the most well-known characters and cinematic universes in the history of pop culture.
The difference, as it turns out, is reverence for the source material. The Russo Brothers have done something with ‘Infinity War’ that would have been considered altogether impossible even just a few years ago. While Marvel has consistently leaned on their ‘quip-a-minute’ formula, the Russo Brothers were admirably balanced in their approach to the Mad Titan Thanos himself. Thanos and his minions are as horrifying and uniquely driven as they were in their comic book counterparts. They are still distinctly Marvel characters, but there is real weight to their actions. In ‘The Last Jedi’, director Rian Johnson leans into Marvel-quirk without any of the actual charms and he ends up underselling his space opera as a result, leaving everyone with a foul taste in their mouth.