My family got Avengers: Infinity War on disk as part of our holiday haul. My eldest daughter never got to see it in cinema, so we watched it together tonight, first time for her, second time for me. The rest of this entry includes spoilers, but I don't feel bad about this as the movie is hardly new anymore.
I'm still profoundly ambivalent about this film. I'm not sure I've forgiven Marvel for the emotional abuse.
It was a ballsy move to make a superhero movie where the superheroes lose, even if you have a back-pocket plan to make another movie to let them still win, in a way. On a second watch, much of the emotional impact is lessened, since you already know its coming, but it still managed to punch me in the feels a few times, and I really appreciated the performances.
There were lots of small movements and great eye work. Tom Hiddleston's Loki and the "go ahead and kill him" feint falling apart; Chris Pratt's Starlord keeping his word to kill Gamora like he'd promised; Danai Gurira's shocked grief as Okoye when T'Challah disintegrated before her eyes.
(On the other hand, I was mostly annoyed by the Spidey/Ironman exaggeration. Tom Holland got longer to die so the kid could beg for his life and die in his mentor's arms. Chew that scenery a little harder guys; I think a piece of it was still standing).
Like a lot of viewers, watching the first time, I felt suckered. On my big-screen viewing, a man seating near me slammed down his popcorn bucket and said, "The f*ck I just watch!" and a lot of audience members sympathized. Even now, months later and with previews of the sequel out there offering reassurance, I still feel wounded. That's probably a kind of compliment to the work-it hurt, lastingly.
As a writer, I was very impressed by how well it functions, structurally. I have my doubts that it plays well if you haven't watched the whole MCU, but if you have, it does a deft job balancing so many moving pieces! The Guardians were used to great effect for the "worlds collide" moments of heroes meeting heroes. Everyone falling in love with the angel-pirate Thor. And the hero-vs.-hero misunderstanding over who worked for Thanos and who didn't with Strange, Ironman, and Spidey.
The weakest bit in my mind was the whole not-killing-Vision thing. I wasn't that attached to Vision as a character from previous movies, so we retro-fitted a romance storyline with Scarlet Witch that I don't remember even a whiff of in previous films. It felt even more manufactured than the Hulk/Black Widow romance line and I thought that whole thing was a cheap shot, too.
But, the movie needed us to feel bad about killing Vision, so we gave him a girlfriend and some scenes with a human face on first. Total cred for the writers though for using Quill and Gamora's "kill the one you love" moment earlier on as a foil for the "Scarlet Witch has to kill her honey-bun" moment. It really did help bolster the emotions for a scene that didn't have enough emotional payoff on its town.
Whether this one becomes a film I can watch over and over again like some of the others in the MCU will depend on the sequel and if they pull this out without it feeling like a total cheat. Time will tell.