There is a disturbing trend affecting recent comic book movies, which I think is only going to get worse. When Marvel Studios formed over a decade ago, the idea was to make comic book based movies the way they wanted, without studio interference. After all, if a studio was footing millions in production costs, they had the right to insist Spider-Man wear his web-shooters in his nose and have a blue hoodie and sweatpants instead of a costume.
When the Marvel Cinematic Universe began, Marvel enlisted creators who either grew up loving the stories they were adapting (Sam Raimi—although he worked for Sony, Joss Whedon) or were more than happy to reflect the comic book aesthetic (Jon Farveau). As we get further and further from those early days, the directors and production staff and Marvel Studios itself not only avoid the comic aesthetic and sources, but hold them in red-hot contempt. Soothing actor egos, eliminating costumes and letting directors de-comicify the look and stories of the films are the active agenda of Marvel Studios today.
Avengers: Infinity War is good. It’s not great. I admire the director’s ability to fit everyone in and give them their moment while still telling a coherent story. There are some nice one-liners and comedic moments, again differentiating Marvel from DC films, which wallow in their own misery and lack of humor. I did hate the ending and don’t want to wait a year to see it finished. My biggest gripe with the movie is that many characters are unrecognizable.
|This is Captain America|
T’Challa, the Black Panther, looks good. Viewers can identify the Guardians of the Galaxy. Dr. Strange is identifiable. But the default superhero costume in every superhero movie made, black leather ninja crap, is pervasive in this film. The most egregious example is Captain America, who is not in this film. Part of the film’s title is Avengers, yet not recognizable in it are any Avengers.
|Somewhat acceptable as Captain America|
Captain America is an Avenger. Cap has a specific costume that he has worn since 1941 (with some brief exceptions). In the first Avengers film, Cap wore a close version of this costume. Instead of Captain America, Avengers: Infinity War features Chris Evans in a beard and black ninja crap. The public gets Captain America in a movie what, every two years? And they couldn’t put a recognizable character on screen for five minutes? One can’t really have an Avengers movie without Captain America, yet here we are. Stupid.
|Not Captain America|
Thor is another example. This eye-patched, shorthaired weirdo looks more like the real Nick Fury than Thor. Thor has worn long hair a cool winged helmet for over 50 years in the comics. It looks great. Chris Hemsworth wore a similar helmet for five minutes in the first Thor movie, it looked great.
|This is Thor|
Marvel Studios really hates wings for some reason. The Black Widow’s trademark is long (and sometimes short) red hair. She has never changed her hair color in the comics. She is, through costume and hair color, instantly recognizable as the Black Widow. Why did she go blonde in the movie? So the action figure could be different? That’s what you get when everyone is in black leather ninja crap; you have to change the hair color to tell characters apart.
|Not sure who the #$%& this is, but it's not Thor|
I really hate the moronic Spider-Man costume they forced Tom Holland into for Infinity War. I think it was the DisneyXD one. It looks awful, and a great costume is available! Just look at the comics. It’s been basically the same for 50 years BECAUSE IT WORKS.
As the years go by, Marvel Studios care less and less about respecting their source material. I’m not sure Anthony and Joe Russo, directors of Infinity War, have ever read a comic in their lives. Have any current or upcoming Marvel directors? Sometimes it doesn’t matter—Black Panther wasn’t really taken from a specific Marvel story, but they got the tone, and the costume, right. But it was already black leather (vibranium?).
|Kid Flash from The Flash on CW|
For some reason, directors and producers think colorful costumes are stupid and the public won’t accept them. WRONG! Most of the CW superhero shows present colorful costumes and they look great—and that is on a TV budget! I’m not saying every costume in the comics would work on screen—but most of them could be much more similar with some development by a determined costume designer. Give Cap his costume and head wings! Give Thor his helmet (and hammer)! Give Black Widow silver bracelets and red hair! These things have worked for over five decades for a reason. People like them! Don’t make everything bland black ninja crap. And don’t let the actors go without masks because of their attention-grabbing need to show their faces all the time. Captain America wears a mask. Iron Man wears a mask. Spider-Man wears a mask. If you don’t want to adapt comic books, try YA novels, like everyone else! Not many of those characters wear costumes. But if they did, I’m sure they would wear black leather ninja crap. It’s tiiiiiiiiiiiiime to stop!
If most of the characters from Avengers: Infinity War were recognizable as Marvel comic book characters, as in Avengers 1 & 2, I would have loved this film. Since they weren’t, I had no emotional attachment to them. As it is, I somewhat liked it.
Rating: *** stars out of 5