Films Have Running Times…Comic Books Do Not
The Infinity Gauntlet series begins when Thanos already has all six Stones. In the MCU, Thanos does not currently possess them. Sure, we still have a few movies in between now and May 4, 2018, the release date for Infinity War – Part I, for Thanos to get his hands on them, but could the first of the two Infinity War films focus on the limited series The Thanos Quest, published in 1990? Those two books chronicle Thanos’ acquisition of the Infinity Stones, which leads up to the events of Gauntlet.
Perhaps Part I focuses more on Thanos’ attaining the Stones while Part II will be an adaptation of the Infinity Gauntlet, with Thanos’ courting of Death by battling Earth’s heroes for supremacy. This would then leave out the somewhat complicated events that surround Adam Warlock and the Magus that take place during the Infinity War books.
Though we have yet to see what plot points remain and what has been excised from Civil War, the trailers have already given us an indication of a much smaller conflict between superheroes than what was portrayed in the books. A conflict that pales in comparison to that which takes place in Infinity Gauntlet. Movies are a much different medium than comic books. They’re more expensive to produce and distribute. Plus, audiences have to see them in a single sitting, so running times become a factor. Joss Whedon’s original cut of Age of Ultron was three and a half hours long but he was forced to trim it down to deliver something more palatable for theatrical distribution, and let’s be honest, there is far more ground to cover in Infinity Gauntlet.
So Is It Too Much?
There’s no shortage of material to be mined for the pinnacle of Phase Three but can Marvel really do the story justice on the big screen? It seems as if every film that the company has made is all part of the lead up to Infinity War in some form or another, just like the tie-in comic books that came with each six-issue limited series run before, during, and after their initial releases on newsstands. But let’s not forget these two films alone have a rumored one billion dollar combined budget, so they can’t help but become massive movies when they’re finished. Of course, the stakes are astronomically high and Marvel runs the risk of overstuffing both films with the sheer amount of story and character that need to be covered. There are already some corners of the Internet grumbling about how many characters are being wedged into Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, with reported cameos by members of the new Justice League, along with Lex, Doomsday and rumors of a third villain to crowd the landscape.
The question is, when does it all become too much? Are we more concerned about seeing a good story or seeing our favorite characters fly in as they essentially wave to the camera, throw a punch, and then exit stage left? If there is one word I would use to describe Age of Ultron it would be “cramped”. None of the plot-lines had much time to breathe and some things had obviously been left on the cutting room floor in the eleventh hour in the interests of running time…and that negatively impacted the film, in my opinion.
But hey, we all got to see the Hulkbuster right?