Recently, Marvel’s Infinity War has taken the world by storm. As superhero fans, fans of the Avengers, and MCU fans alike flock to the movie theaters to watch this much-anticipated installment, many connoisseurs of the hero genre are questioning the plot’s believability. Can a modern audience, with no prior knowledge of the preceding hero movies, make any sense or gain any appreciation from Infinity War?
The idea that superhero movies require some context is not a new one. For example, director Joss Whedon’s Avengers, which is a pivotal point in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) arc, is the last of many superhero related stories to occur within the MCU. The Avengers aren’t the first heroes of the MCU universe; Iron Man, Thor, and even Ant-Man have all debuted, leading to the epic conclusion of all the storylines: The Avengers. Thus, it already appears that in order to understand the plot of Infinity War, some sort of familiarity with the title heroes and their situations is necessary; however, this does not necessarily hold true for all aspects of the plot.
Phillip Farago, a comic book enthusiast and movie critic, notes that elements of the movie can be understood without having seen the other Marvel movies. “Even if you don’t know Iron Man from a spider’s web,” he says, “The basic plot is easy enough to follow.” He suggests that the audience can still become engaged with the narrative, as they watch the action unfold, which may be all they need to appreciate it. This, Farago explains, is due to the vastness and diversity of the Marvel scene – with its layered universe and plethora of characters.
Like with any great story, there is a hero and a foil, and, in the case of Infinity War, the heroes are Marvels’ own. The heroes, with their expansive powers, represent hope and justice and their strength is reinforced by the villain’s chaotic and seemingly unstoppable power. In order for the viewers to appreciate these two forces up against each other, however, the audience first needs an understanding of the established heroes’ abilities, origins, and respective stories.
According to Chris Markovic, a member of the American Film Critics Association, the pre-existing superhero movies of the same universe are essential to understand the saga as a whole. He argues that each Marvel Cinematic Universe movie builds and develops upon the story arcs laid out by the previous installments. Thematically, he says, this allows viewers to build an understanding of the Marvel world. Without the understanding of the precedence, Markovic claims, it is difficult to understand the implications of each scene and what the characters are going through.
In conclusion, viewers do need to have an understanding of the Marvel’s superheroes that have come before in order to grasp Infinity War’s overall plot; however, many elements of the story can be appreciated without a prior knowledge of the pre-established Marvel universe. Whether or not you are a die-hard Marvel fan, the story of Infinity War can be enjoyable and engaging.
Role of Character Development
Character development is an integral part of any successful superhero movie. A movie cannot rise to the heights of Infinity War without characters viewers can care for. Characters must be fleshed out, flaws and all, for viewers to understand and relate to them. Preceding superhero movies play a huge part in the development of character backstories. Not having watched them may lessen the impact of any emotional connection viewers have with the characters in Infinity War.
One character that exemplifies this is Iron Man. His first rise to prominence in ‘Iron Man’s movie informed viewers about his skills and how he became the superhero billionaire philanthropist that he is today. It is these character traits that make him standout from other Marvel heroes and make viewers relate to him. “It was the development of Iron Man that made us all the more eager to watch Infinity War” says Joanne Caramel, biopsychologist and Marvel follower. She adds, “Without having watched Iron Man’s movie, viewers would not be able to relate to Iron Man as much as we do now”.
Notable characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe like Spider-man as well have incredibly detailed backstories that have greatly enhanced the plotlines of Infinity War. Without such backstories, many parts of the plot in Infinity War would not be as understood by viewers. This understanding is essential in order to capture the intensity of the movie fully. Jenna Allen, comic enthusiast and assistant professor of literature acknowledges this importance. She claims “It is the character development of Spider-man that made us understand the relevance of his involvement in the movie”.
Role of Pop Culture References
Pop culture references play an important role in any superhero movie, Infinity War being no exception. They help viewers to better understand the consequences of the plot and aid in the understanding of the issues that characters are facing. For example, in Infinity War, when teenage Groot is showing off his new video game he made, it is actually an origin story to a significant part of Thor’s character. Have not watched Thor’s movie, it would be impossible to realize the importance of this game to Thor.
Carl Merlo, an entertainment expert and Marvel fanatic, agrees. He says “It was the game that helped us understand the character development of Thor and, therefore, gave us an insight into why he was doing certain things within the movie”. He adds “seeing Thor, that has a deuteragonist role within the movie, have that kind of recognition, made the universe of Infinity War pop”.
The pop culture references, such as the game between Groot and Thor, may be minuscule in the movie plot. However, in the moments when they occur, they make the universe of the movie feel real and close to home. It is these kind of moments fans of the Marvel universe have come to expect, which may be lost if they haven’t watched the other movies.
Role of Comic Books
Comic books have been around for years and, as the big-screen industry has grown, so too have the comics. Not only are comic books based on the same story, but they also expand upon the universe created with certain superheroes and villains from movies. With that, comic books enhance and give quantum of details on the world of the heroes, heroes abilities, and villains’ powerful moves.
Danielle Hamilton, a comic book enthusiast, exemplifies the importance of the comic books and their contribution to the Marvel universe. “The comics serve as an invaluable tool for anyone looking for deeper insight into the characters,” she says. The comic books provide a lot of the background information on characters, including family and personal relationships, education, and more – that may have been left out of the movie. She adds “Without having read the comic books, it is sometimes difficult to understand the consequences of some of the scenes and why they occur.”
Comic books have also been a major asset to the success of Infinity War. They have become a widely watched source of the Marvel universe. The comic books are a great source of storyline inspiration, as they provide a breadth of information on heroes and villains alike. However, they can also be used to enhance the depth of movies such as Infinity War. Fans of the Marvel universe, who haven’t watched all of the other movies, can seek comfort in knowing that the comic books can offer supplemental knowledge about the characters and their situations.
Role of Social Media
In recent years, the use of social media platforms for marketing has increased immensely. This phenomenon has been used to create hype and appreciation for the movie’s release.By leveraging popular memes and viral hashtag campaigns, platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook play an influential role in creating a film’s popularity and awareness.
Infinity War’s hashtag campaign, #InfinityWar, was one of the most successful hashtag campaigns ever in terms of reach and engagement. Its success was attributed to popular meme campaigns that utilized several of the heroes and villains within the movie. Some of the popular memes gained more than 500,000 likes and over 3 million views. John Hughes, a business development manager and Marvel aficionado, appreciates the power of social media in promoting Infinity War. He claims “We must recognize social media platforms as the lifeblood of movies, especially superhero movies. It was the ability to reach as many followers that helped create the hype”.
Social media also gives viewers with no prior knowledge of the universe a chance to access a wealth of information about the movie. It helps viewers stay updated with news, trailers, and posters. It also helps attract the interest of a new generation of Marvel fans by providing humorous content that gives insight into certain elements of the movie. Not only does it help build hype for the movie, but also helps promote its characters and culture – both of which play a major role in viewers’ enjoyment of the movie.