Not even the Russo Brothers' 'Infinity War' is immune to one’s parents' pointed criticisms.
As some of you may know, Netflix quietly released Avengers: Infinity War last night. Having really enjoyed the film when I saw it in theaters last May, I thought it would be a pretty harmless and fun watch for the family to partake in on Christmas.
The film was perhaps the most successful ever to be released in terms of box office gross. In its first weekend, it shattered the previous highest-grossing opening weekend record, racking up $678,815,482 in the United States and Canada. To date, it has made $2,047,687,731 worldwide. The film set records for the highest-grossing opening weekend, was the fastest to gross $1 billion through $1.5 billion and it also set several single-day records and had the widest PG-13 opening and release to date.
But would that be enough to impress a former psychiatrist and a health insurance salesman? Inspired by Jourdan Aldredge's recent post on viewing Roma with his parents, I thought I'd take a moment to share my own experience as well.
THEY HADN'T SEEN ANY OF THE OTHER MOVIES
My parents seemed confused by the fact that there were so many superheroes in one movie. Every time a new one popped up on screen, instead of merely waiting for the inevitable demonstration, they would ask me to explain what their powers were. Some were easy, like Groot, ("he is a tree") but others like Vision and Scarlet Witch proved to be much more difficult. "What is that red stuff that is coming from her hands?" I have no idea what that red stuff is, Dad.
We wasted a lot of time on this. Eventually, I settled on, "It doesn't matter, the purple bad guy is trying to get the stones and pretty much all of the other guys are trying to stop him."
That seemed to clear things up until the line of questioning changed to "Who is that actor?" All of this forced me to talk over some important plot points, which led to the next problem.
MY FATHER FELL ASLEEP FOR AN HOUR AND A HALF
If I've noticed one thing while being home in San Francisco the past couple of days, it's that my father can't stay up past 9:30. Having seen the film before and being keenly aware of its two-and-a-half-hour runtime, I knew that, starting the film around 8:30, we were going to run into some trouble. Indeed, the snores started pouring in right around the time Thor makes it to the place where Peter Dinklage forges weapons. Miraculously, he made it through some of the films louder sequences with the home stereo system at full volume.
Now it's true that this movie is probably a little too long, but I am genuinely impressed with the pacing of it and how much the Russo Brothers are able to pack in. The multiple storylines are woven together in a way that keeps things really entertaining and engaging, while simultaneously covering a lot of plot over multiple settings.
As my father awoke somewhere during the final battle on Wakanda, however, it was clear he was unimpressed. "You know, I don't think anyone has said a word larger than three syllables this entire time," he edified. This struck me as quite a miraculous observation for someone who had missed the majority of the movie, but it did make me think about the powers of exploring plot visually rather than "expositorily" through dialogue. I figured these points would be lost on my father. He had clearly made up his mind about the film. As for my mother...
MY MOTHER HAS DISAPPEARED
I had been warned that my mother didn't like science fiction movies.
Over Christmas dinner, my father had relayed his grievances to the family on how he is forced to wait until she is out of town to watch movies based in the genre. His most recent venture, the 2017 Scarlett Johansson vehicle Ghost in the Shell, did little to impress upon his tastes either. My mother, who again had not seen the film and is not a fan of science fiction, quickly came to Johannson's defense and proclaimed it must've been the director's fault the film turned out so poorly.
Back to our viewing experience. I know she was with us at some point, but where has my mother gone? What is she doing now? Will I ever see her again?
In the end, my dad had this to say about the film: "It was garbage."