Remember the days when superhero movies were derisively described with words like “popcorn flick”?
Remember when summer blockbusters treated character development as an afterthought?
After reading the rave early reviews for Avengers: Infinity War, it looks like those days are well and truly gone.
An article by Business Insider rounded up some of the early praise for the latest Marvel masterpiece. Clayton Davis tweeted that it is “the culmination of the last 10 years in the MCU, coming to a point of flawless action, dramatic effect, and breathtaking appeal for its fans,” adding that “it could be ‘Empire Strikes Back’ of superhero films,” a notion that was echoed by Joshua Yehl and Sam Toy, who also likened it to The Godfather Part II.
Infinity War was preceded by another MCU gem, Black Panther, a movie with a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 88 on Metacritic. Black Panther took superhero movies to a new level with its exploration of subjects like national moral responsibility and its character-driven plot development, something formerly reserved for arguably the best superhero trilogy of all time, Christopher Nolan’s Batman.
The comparisons of Infinity War to Empire promise something similar. Empire is widely regarded as the best Star Wars movie, in part, because the characters become more rounded, and every action in the script conforms to their motivations while also furthering their development as believable, multi-dimensional people (or droids!).
Hopefully Infinity War delivers the same and, if it does, hopefully audiences reward it at the box office because, if there’s one thing studios listen to, it’s their bottom line. Quality cinema with a massive return on investment will only beget more quality cinema.
Black Panther already laid the groundwork for this, shattering box-office projections from with its $1.3 billion worldwide haul (to date). Once an afterthought in the odds to win the 2018 box-office battle it’s now creeping up on the start-of-year projections for Infinity War ($1.6 billion), which was the overwhelming favorite.
Now, last month it looked as though Black Panther has confidently found a comfortable place at the top. The odds online say that its’ 2/3 for Infinity War (yes you can even bet on this stuff, if you wanted to Sports Betting Dime lists the sites and has info on entertainment betting). Honestly, while thinking about the trailer, and thinking about the final battle, I am not sure any more. Infinity War has a lot of power behind it (Black Panther fans in particular). The frenzy of fans putting odds on who dies in this movie is enough to get a non-fan into the theater.
But no matter which of those two ends the year on top, the trend of high-quality superhero movies is in motion, and the profits that are accompanying it should give it more momentum than Juggernaut.