Infinity War: The Best Documentary of 2018

WARNING: Review contains spoilers.

By John Zmirak Published on May 11, 2018

Infinity War is well-acted, archly funny, exciting, and best of all … not baffling. By that I mean that it’s quite unlike Avengers: Age of Ultron. Though Infinity War has more superheroes than Ultron did, its writers kept a clear story arc and didn’t muddle things. Still, it might be a good idea to view this fun 17-minute trailer compiling the backstories of all the characters, preparatory to watching.

The action scenes are not (as in so many CGI-heavy films) just baffling, to the point where you have to ask the person next to you, “What just happened?” Again, quite unlike Ultron.

The Titan Thanos: Sustainability Expert

As many other conservatives have noted, the villain of Infinity War, the titan Thanos, is a grimly familiar figure. He’s the TV environmentalist who warns that economic growth is wicked. Or he’s the UN population specialist foisting birth control on African families, as the price of needed aid. He’s the high school health teacher eager to get your 12-year-old daughter on birth control without your knowledge…. Maybe to introduce her to Planned Parenthood activists who will teach her “safe” BDSM.

He’s the upper- or upper-middle-class voter who whispers after the third gin and tonic that legalizing abortion cut the crime rate. And helps cull the welfare rolls.

The villain of “Infinity War,” the titan Thanos, is a grimly familiar figure. He’s the TV environmentalist who warns that economic growth is wicked. Or he’s the UN population specialist foisting birth control on African families, as the price of needed aid. He’s the high school health teacher eager to get your 12-year-old daughter on birth control without your knowledge.

He’s the doctor working for a socialist bureaucracy who decides that a handicapped child’s life has “no value” even to himself. And he’s the smiling, flexible bishop who backs that doctor against the parents. Then banishes from the country the troublesome priest who ministered to them. 

Or he’s the weary-looking abortionist who works in the ghettos for less pay than she might make elsewhere, who has just about convinced herself that she’s liberating the young women whose children she destroys, day in and bloody day out. Though at nights, sometimes, she thinks she can hear their ghosts….

No Bleeding Heart

Like each of these real-life people, the fictional Thanos has his reasons. He has seen genuine suffering, and empathized with the victims. He wants to spare people from scarcity, anxiousness, conflict. If that means sparing them life itself … well how do you make an omelet? You have to break some eggs.

Thanos takes on himself the high and lonely task of destroying the world in order to save it.

No, Thanos is no bleeding heart. He has had to steel himself. To make the tough decisions that others aren’t willing to honestly face. He has “bravely” confronted and conquered every objection: The sanctity of life. The autonomy of others. The fact that life surprises us, and often turns sorrow to joy. The historical track record of free people, left alone, finding ways to conquer scarcity through hard work and innovation. He won’t be deterred by any of these cloying, milksop distractions. He has taken on himself the high and lonely task of destroying the world in order to save it. Of wiping out 50% of all life in the universe, to leave for the survivors a lovely, weeded garden. What a noble, stoic soul.

It’s telling, and fitting, that much of the final battle in Infinity War between Malthusian pessimism on the one hand, and a sane love for life on the other, takes place in Africa. (In the fictional Wakanda of Black Panther fame, to be precise.) Because the front line right now in the war between powerful pessimist ideologues wielding hundreds of millions of dollars, and ordinary families, is in Africa. Obianuju Ekeocha is a courageous pro-life activist from Nigeria. In her powerful new book, Target Africa (review coming soon), she shows how Thanos’ allies are busy at the U.N. and on Capitol Hill, trying to control the fertility of faraway women of color. I think she’d enjoy the movie.

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The Power of the Film’s Ending

Spoiler warning: If you haven’t seen the movie, here’s your chance to stop reading this article. Because I’m going to talk about the ending.

Okay….

Have all of you who didn’t see the movie cleared out by now?

Okay.

Good.

Because as the rest of you already know, Thanos wins. He gathers the McGuffins — sorry, Infinity Stones — thanks to an inexplicable decision by Dr. Strange to hand them over. (In the next film, he’s got some explaining to do.) And the film ends with half of all life indeed disappearing into dust. The filmmakers depicted this beautifully, showing us several of the main characters in the film dissolving into what looked like brown autumn leaves. Then dissolving into dust. In fact, they turned into compost, and fell to feed “the planet.” That must have made Thanos happy.

In the past 50 years we have seen the disappearance of millions of our classmates, fellow citizens, co-workers and neighbors into oblivion thanks to abortion. How many? Go to the website numberofabortions.com. It actually has tickers. The number of abortions in the U.S. since 1973 is, as of this writing, is 60,401,042. (Of those, 18,120,313 babies were black.) Of course, by the time you read this, the numbers will be higher, since the daily total listed is more than 2,000. The numbers increase as you watch. The most chilling statistic it offers is this one: “Since you loaded this page.” My total was in the hundreds.

Infinity War depicts such losses in stark and powerful terms: You see figures you care about, heroes you’ve followed from one movie to another, simply vanish into dust. That is the price of high-minded, elitist theorizing about the “usefulness” of lives. It’s the real world footprint of ideology’s jackboot. It’s the world we already inhabit.

And that’s why, despite all its fun and frivolity along the way, Infinity War is, in the end, a sobering documentary.

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  • NaplesExpat

    SPOILER ALERT:
    1) Did I hear Thanos make a personal reference to “I AM” during one of his monologue s?
    2) How about Thanos sacrificing his daughter?
    I’m not sure if any of this is blasphemous, but it does indicate the writers know their theology even if they are standing it on its head.

  • Chris in NC

    When Thanos was created in Iron Man back in the 70’s he was just a villain. Later, when another writer wanted to make use of the character we find that he has fallen in love with Death. In these stories Death is given a female appearance – thought she never speaks.
    Thanos has no interest in anything except his own concept of things that would please her and show his ‘love’. The more people he can kill off – as ‘gifts’ to Death – the more important he sees himself in Death.

    I haven’t seen this movie and if the things you point out are Thanos’ motives for his war I don’t know how much I want to see it. I would like to know what Jim Starlin thinks.

  • Lysias

    Thought I was going to boycott this movie because a certain character I hated didn’t die. Then Zmirak comes along and changes my mind.

    Dangit.

  • Trilemma

    Thanos does have a point about overpopulation. The big reduction in population caused by the plague was followed by the Renaissance.

    • Craig Roberts

      Really? Ergo proptor much?

  • tz1

    Agreed on all counts.

    I shall note one more scene that was also significant (SPOILER!)

    At one point the heroes manage to converge to start pulling the gauntlet off Thanos arm, but in an intemperate moment of (justified) anger, another character decides to strike Thanos that has the side-effect of breaking apart the unified effort to actually win the war. He preferred to extract – I’m not sure what – in the heat of the moment instead of helping win which a few minutes later after the gauntlet was removed, he could have done so safely and effectively.

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