The Year in Superheroes

The Bit Where I Discuss Infinity War

And also Ant-Man And The Wasp.

Fun with numbers time!

In North America, Infinity War was actually outgrossed by Black Panther. Internationally, however… remove Infinity War’s domestic gross, and it still outsold Black Panther. In short, Infinity War would have outgrossed Black Panther even if it hadn’t been released in the United States. Look… movie studios have avoided movies starring African-Americans for a long time based on the belief that black movies don’t travel… and this did not help with that.

Anyway.

Infinity War was, in many ways, one of the very best Marvel movies. The banter kills, the character combinations work like gangbusters, the stakes are high, and Thanos worked better than I ever expected, given the franchise’s history of weak villains. My one and only complaint about the movie is, was, shall be the fact that it’s only half a story. I’ve been resisting rewatching it for some time now, because the next time I watch Infinity War I want to be able to watch the second half right away.

I just… I don’t fully get their release order.

I mean I do get it, a little? They wanted to release Infinity War as close as they could to the 10th anniversary of Iron Man, the movie that started the entire franchise. With their whole “It’s all been building up to this” marketing pitch, which they didn’t want us to know really meant “It’s all been leading up to this, and also the one we’re releasing a year later.” I get that.

It’s just… it ended on such a moment of uncertainty (sort of) for everything, a powerful and cutting sequence (if you can forget for a moment that Endgame is going to undo it all, which I couldn’t at the time), their end-credit scene teased Captain Marvel… and then they followed it not with Captain Marvel, but with the wacky heist adventure of Ant-Man And The Wasp. The AV Club summed it up pretty well with their headline: “How the hell are we supposed to care about Ant-Man And The Wasp now?

Also, it means that Ant-Man And The Wasp is the 20th Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. That’s… that’s weird. It’s not their worst movie, it’s not nearly their worst movie, that remains one of the non-Ragnarok Thors, but… their 20th movie is very clearly a palate-cleanser. The sorbet that classier restaurants hand out to clear the taste of your salad before the main course.

Actually I’ve only encountered that once, it was at a yacht club in Illinois, which I was at with my then-fiancee’s family, and the waiters went out of their way to serve me last. Like, they’d walk past me to hand identical food to someone else at the table. So I guess screw restaurants that have a sorbet course.

Anyhoo, Marvel had a choice… schedule Infinity War close to their 10th anniversary, or make it their 20th film. They chose 10th anniversary. Yes, Ant-Man And The Wasp’s mid-credit scene only makes sense if you’ve seen Infinity War, but there were ways around that, ways that didn’t involve shoving 2018’s weakest superhero movie (that didn’t need to ADR a terrible pronunciation of “symbiote*”) in between giant-team-up flick Infinity War and Marvel’s-answer-to-Wonder-Woman Captain Marvel.

(*Venom. That was a crack at Venom. At the time of writing, I don’t know that Ant-Man And The Wasp is better than Venom, but I’d bet money on it.)

It was a weird choice. And since Infinity War was guaranteed to make money, a choice they weren’t forced to make.

Next Page: Parting thoughts

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