Marvel has placed our world into a marvelous journey (pun intended) through a mystical universe of superheroes, royalty, villains, and the powers of darkness. To date, that extraterrestrial voyage has involved 10 years, 14 directors, and 17 movies all for one majestic culmination – Thanos eradicating half of the populace everywhere.
How was the payoff for you? For the open cash registers at Marvel Studios, it has been fruitful, to say the least. In the first three days of its international release, ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ has earned more than $178 million, according to a fiscally overwhelming article by The Hollywood Reporter.
Nonetheless, as the headline reads, “It took an Infinity to find the best (comic book movie) in the universe,” and you know what? It is not the one everyone is regaling today.
That title still goes to the Academy Award-winning mezzo motion picture “The Dark Knight.”
Notwithstanding ‘Infinity War’ just broke a record that stood since 2008 – the record for the biggest Thursday night opening of a CBM. Marvel pulled in $39 million last Thursday night. Back in 2008, ‘The Dark Knight’ raked in $30.6 million on a dusky-hued Thursday evening.
“It made so much more money! Of course, it’s better.” Well, just like your mama told you, “Money ain’t everything baby. (Now go shut up.)”
Make no mistake: What the Russo brothers achieved with Thanos was a masterpiece. His cosmological vengeance was the result of a decade-long strategic chess match that surgically connected movies to movies, characters to characters, and post-credit scenes to post-credit scenes.
Every hero was a part of a recipe that would make Gordon Ramsay curse in his kitchen because he knows he could never cook that well. The trek through the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a wild, wonderful, and wealthy journey that was so worth the wait.
But, as a single movie, it still wasn’t more powerful than Christopher Nolan’s dystopian vantage point into the soul of a hero, the mania of a villain, and the plight of man.
Think about the most iconic films, TV shows, or books ever written. The quotable sources. The memorable scenes. The unforgettable moments in time. Why do people hearken back to the things they have seen and read over-and-over again? The story.
Whether the gifted soul who takes a comic book story and makes it into a script is responsible for the adapted screenplay, the cinematography, the VFX, the overall direction – they all have the same things in common.
These people are fastidious wunderkinds who take into consideration more than just good background material in comics to create a dozen Easter eggs. They are passionate about the material – and the people within those pages. And then, as if their knowledge about the characters’ origin and pathos wasn’t enough, they remain wide open to ideas to make their final work more fluid.
A true story teller understands if the only two eyes used to view a apologue belong to him or her, it will not resonate to the other million pair of eyes who will see the words on paper or the narrative on screen.
Most Marvel directors have been the perfect fit for their movies, but the stories that come to life through their vision have been a subjective development (apart from the brilliant sociometry of ‘Black Panther’ and Ryan Coogler). Their insight has been paramount to the development of these movies, but that’s the thing – fans leave clearly understanding they are movies, stories about a world that while appears to be in your backyard, isn’t.
Think about ‘The Dark Knight’. The antipathy of the city Heath Ledger masterfully provides. The internal conflict Christian Bale portrays. There is a consistent torrent of emotion in this movie that is only reflective in the life it involves. It feels real. Sure, the odds of a plaque-faced criminal with henchmen who could have left their day job at McDonalds are highly unlikely, but.
And it’s that brief moment where you catch yourself watching that story thinking about the pain, the torture, the melancholy, believing all the Hollywood pomp and circumstance may not be necessary. You are there, in Gotham, with your feelings, if even for a while.
No time travel. No stones. No galactic battle. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But, somewhere in this world of ours could be a region stricken by mirth with someone cackling in the midst. Why? Because the world has its jokers, not a Thanos.
And it just took a snap for this comic book fan to figure that one out.