There is an inherent peace within Thanos’ motivations. A quiet want and quest for setting a scene that sets the Mad Titan up with a pathos worth following and admiring in its boldness and interpretation. Here, destruction is not for its own sake, but as a necessary instrument of balance.
Thanos (Josh Brolin), driven not by trying to impress Death, but by righting a fundamental resource issue, is doing an inherent “ecological good” by unpalatable means. Population control is an ever lingering concern, and one that falls on the tracks of the Trolley Problem. However, understanding the price and making out with worthy sacrifices is just an undercurrent in Avengers: Infinity War. It’s all secondary to an actual awkwardness of meetings that is the real plague.
Through school, jobs and moving from one side of the tracks to another, you wind up with circles of friends. People who know you but don’t know that you know other people as friends. Each of these circles will claim (or assume) to be your primary. That is until one situation comes along where the Venn diagram questions how small can that intersection really be.
The interaction between the Avengers and Earth-bounds (Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland) and the Guardians of the Galaxy (Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Pom Klementieff) plays on the best of expectations in a scenario similar to this. Disparate bands finding out that they have a common thread among them, yet without prior knowledge of each other. It’s a tricky thing to deal with when you’re the one in the middle, wondering if you’ll ever have to deal with it when you’re alive, or manage to manoeuvre posthumously with them in the same room.
Avengers: Infinity War takes the ideal approach in how it handles the crossing of the worlds. With slices of levity mixed with brash misunderstandings, the meet-ups are in tone and fitting of how each of their voices have come through all these years. They ring true and to character. A fantasy world for sure. In reality these circles would more than likely introduce themselves briefly only to hunker down in their own camps, wary of slingshotting out of the gravity wells.
Then we head back to ask the real question and again with a balancing act.
Focus splays out as volleys between battles on Wakanda and Titan on an unrelenting third act where the weight of all a decade of whispers and cameos gets its due. It’s an exhausting out that escapes not because of the beatings and seeing bodies drop here and there, but of the aftermath that carries it. A deep breath stumbles and a quiet fills the darkness. It’s come to this.
At what point is too high the sacrifice made for that notion, that semblance, of something called a work/life balance? Can a Mad Titan have it all?
It’s a bloody unrelenting depiction of years working the on-call shift. Not getting a chance to really wind down for the evening because a server rack whips up in flames and ends up torching the building and you have to ride in with a fire extinguisher to hold the door open because you need to make a break for it before they find your fingerprints and melted shoes at the scene.
Life is a many threaded thing. Waste away on the wrong path and it all means for naught. Thanos’ boots may look comfortable and ready for long walks to endless realities, but the tears keep trickling down to carve out cracks of riverbeds on our faces.
Avengers: Infinity War strikes swift and from all sides on the at times hapless but noble pursuit of finding equilibrium. Of being able to struggle on both sides hoping the ends justify the means.
Reviewed on Monday, 7 May 2018