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Monday, May 14, 2018

What’s WRONG With Avengers: Infinity War

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Many people were excited over Avengers Infinity War. However as a screenwriter, I noticed there were numerous problems with the Avengers: Infinity War screenplay as I watched the movie at the Magic Johnson Theatre last week. From a screenwriter’s perspective I haven’t seen a script this bad since Tyler Perry started writing Madea films.


Want to know what mistakes are in this horrible script? Here they are:


The opening scene didn’t establish the characters or the story. The opening scene of Avengers: Infinity War fades in on the damaged Asgardian ship in distress in a wide shot. This doesn’t do a good job of allowing a new viewer to see why the ship wound up in this condition or allow a good way to introduce the characters.


Contrast the opening scene of Avengers: Infinity War to Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. The opening shot on the FADE IN on of Star Wars Episode IV shows Princes Leia’s small ship being chased by The Imperial battleship. Then it shows the ship being taken down. As the camera takes us inside the ship, the crew in cloth uniforms prepares to fight, they get taken down by a series of armored Stormtroopers who appear intimidating and Darth Vader in all black makes his entrance. All of this establishes Vader’s character as important and why we need to take him seriously.


The opening scene of Avengers Infinity War is a Wide shot of Thanos holding a defeated Thor. That scene is good for a longtime MCU fan, but a new viewer walking in wouldn’t understand what’s going on. That wide shot doesn’t show us who the main character is, what they want and why we should CARE about them.


We needed to see the ship taken down in some establishing shots, and the fight between Thanos and The Black Order and Thor and the Asgardians to establish Thanos as the threat that was supposed to be built up over 20 or so movies. As it stands now the opening scene is incomplete and that lays the foundation for a very uneven movie.


Telling instead of showing. Avengers: Infinity War’s screenplay Tells instead of Shows. In the Asgardian battleship scene, we get told about the Power gem and the space Gem. We needed to see those gems in action to know what they are.

Avengers: Infinity War’s script does a LOT of telling. A good screenplay SHOWS us what happens with pictures and puts powerful visuals in front of us. With Avengers: Infinity War we get told about The Black Guard, we get told about the crafting of the gauntlet. We get told about the injured dwarf. All the telling in this movie is designed to cram a story into 2.5 hours, not allow it to flow organically from sequence to sequence.


Telegraphing the action. In that same scene where we’re told by Ebony Maw that the Power Gem makes Thanos the strongest being in the universe we have the Hulk fight him. Now if he hadn’t said this, the scene might have had some weight. Had Thanos mocked him and said I thought you were the strongest one there is that would have added some impact to The Hulk’s psychological issues later in the movie and foreshadowed the scene where Thanos said he knew about Tony Stark Unfortunately as it’s written and presented onscreen it takes away from the emotional impact the scene could have had.  


No Emotional Resonance. No scene in Avengers:  Infinity War makes the viewer feel anything. Part of that is due to the sheer number of characters onscreen. With so many characters onscreen we don’t get any one scene where a character can be developed in a multidimensional way.


The other part is due to the two dimensional way most of the characters are written. No one becomes a person we connect with in this story. With this supposed to be a movie filled with so much death and so much at stake the viewer needed to feel something.


Instead I was indifferent. All that violence and not one scene made me care about anything I saw.


With Terminator 2: Judgment Day we FELT emotion. From John Connor’s connection with the T-800 to Sarah’s love for her son, to the tension in every chase scene the audience felt something. And because we felt something from those sequences the audience was able to connect with those characters and CARE about what happened onscreen. 


Poorly written dialogue. In some scenes of Avengers: Infinity War the dialogue runs too long. And in others it’s practically interchangeable between the characters. And when Black Panther points at Captain America and says Get that man a shield I just facepalmed.


Good dialogue does two things. One it tells us about the characters. Good dialogue gives a character a “voice”. The other is moving the story forward. Good dialogue allows a story to move along at a brisk pace.


The dialogue in MCU movies these days is a lot of banter and a lot of jokes. And a lot of it doesn’t allow the characters to develop into multidimensional people anymore. It’s clear to me that the writers of Marvel Studios films are too comfortable with the characters and have become emotionally attached to them. In order to write great characters a writer has to remain objective and take themselves out of the story. That way they can give us a panoramic picture of the action transpiring around us.


No Depth/layers. The Avengers: Infinity War screenplay is a shallow one. Part of it is due to Jim Starlin’s source material, part of it is due to the screenwriters being forced to cram so much story in 150 pages.  Over 2.5 hours, Thanos steamrolls heroes, stuff happens and then Thanos gets the Infinity gems. Roll credits. Wait a year to see the next movie. There’s no symbolism, no irony, no foreshadowing or any of the elements of great storytelling. That’s why I called it a big budget Star Trek: The Next Generation Season Finale Part 1.


Worse there’s no subtext or social commentary. Great fantasy like the Twilight Zone, Star Wars Trilogy, Oldschool Star Trek and Terminator 2; Judgment Day tells a story between the lines and makes a commentary about the world around us. We got none of that due to the surface adaptation of the Thanos Quest and Infinity Gauntlet storylines. It’s depth and layers that give a story substance and allow it to resonate with readers. And when a story resonates with the reader they share that story for years to come.


Not making the villain into a credible threat. Yeah, Marvel tried to build Thanos into a badass villain over ten years, but we don’t get a payoff due to that opening scene with that wide shot that obscures Thanos. That’s part of the Russos’ numerous directing mistakes, but the writing lays the foundation for that FADE IN for those shots.


Over the course of the movie we don’t get any scenes to make Thanos appear to be a legit badass on his own. Instead of him legit kicking ass he has the Black guard doing his dirty work for him. Those henchmen water down his threat. They do all the fighting for him and allow him an out from avoiding actual conflict that would have added to the emotional resonance of the story and showed why he was legit threat to the universe.


The Black Guard aren’t characters. They’re basically a plot device used to bring The Avengers into the movie and get Tony Stark to Titan. But after over 20 movies we needed to see Thanos’ threat in this movie. Instead of him being the star, he’s just another background character. 


In Terminator 2: Judgment Day we see the T-1000 as a legit threat because he’s a relentless killing machine. Dressed as a cop he blends in and gains people’s trust. And because he has everyone’s trust he runs roughshod throughout L.A. wrecking shit and destroying lives everywhere he goes in his quest to kill John Connor. If Thanos is so obsessed with his quest why isn’t he pursuing it with that kind of tenacity?


No serious tone. There are just too many jokes in this movie. For a movie about a cosmic level threat to the universe the tone needed to be a LOT more serious. There was NO place for all the ridiculous banter scenes and the jokes in this movie.


Sure, a little humor can break up tension like the Let the wookie win scene in Star Wars Episode IV. But Marvel Studios movies have WAY too many jokes in them. Instead of the humor adding to the experience, all it does is suck the energy out of many scenes.


In Terminator 2: Judgment Day we see the gravity of the situation due to the serious tone of the film. Each scene builds the tension and suspense.


With Avengers: Infinity War we don’t see any sort of tension or suspense built throughout the film. It’s just humor sequences followed by intense action. The inconsistent tone keeps the story from having any serious impact on the viewer.


When I wrote The Man Who Rules The World I wanted a serious tone to the story. With God Katious being a world ending threat I wanted the reader to understand how much impact this godlike man would have on the entire world of the SJS DIRECT Universe. If I could put a serious tone on a world ending event, why couldn’t the screenwriters of Avengers: Infinity War?


Convenient/Coincidental occurrences. As Thanos gets the gems, it’s not done in an organic fashion. Instead we get sequences where he gets the gems through him bullying heroes.


That’s some Tyler Perry level bad writing.


When I watched Thanos gets one stone by bullying Loki for Thor’s life in the opening scene I cringed.


And when Star Lord got emotional over Gamora just as they’re taking the gauntlet from Thanos I just said WTF?


This was followed up with Tony Stark getting stabbed.  When I watched Thanos get The time gem another by bullying Dr. Strange I just facepalmed.


 In both these sequences Thanos had been reduced to Mean Max. If the gems are so dangerous I’d like to think people would be willing to sacrifice their lives to keep Thanos from getting them. But this movie goes on in spite of these plotholes.


Worse, in most of these sequences, there’s no tension, no buildup, no suspense. Nothing to make us believe that Thanos is DANGEROUS. Like the Gary Stu he is, Thanos doesn’t get the gems through actual skill or treachery, just through convenient plot devices created by the writers to move the story forward because they like him.


Then there’s how Thor gets his new eye. Rocket Raccoon conveniently has an eye on him to replace the one Thor lost in Ragnorok. And that Mechanical eye doesn’t malfunction or get destroyed when he’s trying to ignite that forge with the heat of a neutron star.


Good Gravy.


Then there’s the sequence with Thor’s new hammer. After the pieces come out of the forge, we have Groot there to continently give it a brand new handle. It’s an extremely telegraphed sequence that smacks of bad screenwriting.


Poor Transitions. The Entire Reality Gem sequence featuring the Guardians of the Galaxy is one of the WORST ones in the film. We don’t get to SEE Thanos beating the Collector to get the reality gem, instead we get to see Thanos manipulating reality.


That one sequence cheats viewers out of a major part of the story. If the story is supposed to be about Thanos getting the Infinity Gems as some MCU fans would love to argue, then why wasn’t this sequence added to the movie?


Ridiculous plot points. In an attempt to give us a plot Twist we have Thanos calling Iron Man Tony after he stabs him. And revealing that he knows who he is.


That’s RIDICULOUS.


Thanos has NEVER met Tony Stark. He doesn’t know who he is. While this was designed to shock the fanboys it  made no logical sense. With no buildup It’s Tyler Perry level bad screenwriting.


And the whole Tony Stark putting the arc reactor back in his chest for his nano armor at the start of the movie’s earth sequences CONTRADICTS ALL of Iron Man 3. The whole point of Iron Man 3 was to show that what made Tony Iron Man wasn’t the armor, it was HIM. And he threw the second arc reactor in the sea to show he didn’t need it as a crutch to carry him through life. This sequence completely DESTROYS all the character development of Iron Man 3.


Then there’s the whole Vision having Ultron in him. This revelation makes no sense. Didn’t the Vision destroy Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron?


The entire Wakanda climax. One of the WORST sequences in Avengers: Infinity War was the entire Wakanda Climax. Clumsy awkward and uneven it continues the trend of Marvel Studios NOT being able to write a third act.


The Aliens going through the barrier: Ridiculous. Conveniently added so Black Panther could let down the barrier.


The war wheels were DUMB. Stolen straight from Justice League’s Savage Time they were just there to kill Proxima Midnight, not add to the story.


Then there’s Captain America and Black Panther taking punches From Thanos. Here’s a guy established as being capable of beating down the Hulk, but Cap and Black Panther who are LESS powerful get punched by him and just get knocked down. No broken bones, no internal injuries. Nothing.


Yeah, I know it’s a comic book movie. But come on. When I wrote the first Isis and E’steem Ascension people who fought people with super strength had broken bones and internal injuries from being hit by someone with that kind of power.


Avengers: Infinity War had great special effects. But they were made to overcompensate for a terrible screenplay. From what I saw onscreen the script for this movie it was clearly a second draft that was in desperate need of a rewrite. With another polish they might have made a movie that would have paid off from 10 years and 20 movies worth of buildup. As it stands now, it’s an overrated movie that’s the equal of its overrated source material.

2 comments:

  1. I honestly think you're trying to reach for flaws here. Still, it's like the previous Marvel films, pretty boring most of the time.

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  2. I am not agree with you. I am so happy to watch Avengers Infinity War movie. I love to watch Marvel movies. Right now I am so excited to Watch deadpool 2 Full Movie online. The movie is just going to release on this Friday.

    ReplyDelete