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How Did Infinity War Become Marvel's "Best" Movie? | Screen Rant

Empire Magazine chooses Avengers: Infinity War as the best Marvel film — how was it able to nab the accolade? Released in 2018, the movie kicked off the culmination of the Infinity Saga, with its direct sequel, Avengers: Endgame functioning as the second half of its story. Marvel Studios tapped directors Joe and Anthony Russo to helm the massive project, while Stephen Markus and Christopher McFeely wrote its script. Avengers: Infinity War became the first superhero film to gross over $2 billion at the global box office and generally received positive reviews from critics. Given these, it seems like a no-brainer that it ranked as the best of what Marvel has to offer — at least according to Empire Magazine. But that doesn't mean that this decision doesn't have its own detractors.

Captain America: Civil War perfectly set up the events of Avengers: Infinity War — including the heroes' defeat. The film took place two years after Earth's Mightiest Heroes broke up because of Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man's (Robert Downey Jr.) falling out due to the Sokovia Accords and Bucky Barnes' (Sebastian Stan) involvement in the death of Tony Stark's parents. The Avengers' separation gave Thanos (Josh Brolin) the perfect opportunity to attack in an effort to collect the Infinity Stones — two of which were on Earth with Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Vision (Paul Bettany) possessing the Time Stone and Mind Stone respectively. Despite the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and other independently-operating superheroes' combined efforts, the Mad Titan ultimately succeeded in his quest to wipe out half of life in the universe for the sake of balance.

Related: How Eternals Supports “Thanos Was Right” (& Why He Wasn't)

Avengers: Infinity War was one of Marvel Studios' biggest blockbusters to date. Considering its impact on its franchise, many fans deem it as one of the top-tier films from the MCU. But, to claim that it's the best of what the universe has to offer as Empire Magazine's list did has understandably drawn varying opinions from fans. So, we look at why it was awarded the accolade and whether or not it actually deserves to be called the best MCU film.

Empire Magazine recently released their list of the 100 greatest movies of all time. According to the outlet, the selection included "classic movies that have stood the test of time, to contemporary works that changed the game – offer heartwarming comfort, iconic scares, big laughs, and pulse-pounding suspense, becoming firm audience favorites and garnering critical acclaim." Both Empire Magazine readers and film critics contributed to the process of deciding which movies deserve to be on the list, and where they land on it. As expected, films like Casablanca, It's A Wonderful Life, Schindler's List, and The Godfather all made it. When it comes to the currently popular comic book movies, however, Marvel Studios dominated, having five entries with Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarok, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Endgame, and Avengers: Infinity War landing at numbers 91, 86, 83, 58, and 8, respectively. Meanwhile, non-MCU flicks from the superhero sandbox include Logan and The Dark Knight landing at numbers 91 and 4.

As with all-time rankings, Empire Magazine's list was based on criteria. According to the outlet, the selection was decided by the movies' impact on pop culture and the art of filmmaking, in general, as well as, audience investment. In their brief blurb for the blockbuster, the news agency described Avengers: Infinity War as "the biggest crossover event in cinematic history," pertaining to the MCU's culmination, with all of its pockets coming together for the first time. The film's unexpected cliffhanger ending was also cited wherein Thanos was able to defeat the Avengers and enact the snap at the very last minute. Overall, Empire Magazine lauded Avengers: Infinity War for its breakneck speed and balanced storytelling amidst a massive cast.

Based on Empire Magazine's criteria, it made sense that Avengers: Infinity War ranked very high on their list. As mentioned, it's the biggest film crossover in history with the Avengers finally meeting the Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as other heroes in the franchise. It's a gross understatement to say that making the movie was difficult and pressure-packed. Aside from bringing together all pockets of the universe, it also had the massive task of properly introducing Thanos — the Infinity Saga's big villain. While the Mad Titan had appeared in the franchise sporadically in previous films, Avengers: Infinity War marked his first formal introduction. In the end, Marvel Studios pulled it off. Not only were they able to seamlessly assemble all of its primary characters, but they also succesfully established Thanos as one of, if not the best MCU villain.

Related: Star-Lord Is The Only MCU Hero Not Yet Redeemed For Infinity War Mistakes

Given its narrative relation to Avengers: Endgame, comparing Avengers: Infinity War to its follow-up was inevitable. Since the Infinity Saga capper landed not too far behind its prequel on Empire Magazine's 100 best movies of all time list, there are questions if Avengers: Infinity War deserves to rank higher than its sequel. However, it's worth noting that had the 2018 blockbuster fell flat, Avengers: Endgame would've more than likely struggled to succeed. Despite supposedly being two separate stories, Avengers: Endgame's arc was set up by its predecessor. If viewers didn't buy Thanos and his plan, and the snap wasn't properly executed, chances are that Avengers: Endgame wouldn't have felt as cathartic and satisfying as it did.

Outside of the MCU, there's also no denying the film's impact. Various scenes in Avengers: Infinity War turned out to be iconic and viral. That includes Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) peering into the future and seeing 14 million possible outcomes of the heroes' fight against the Mad Titan; Spider-Man's (Tom Holland) heartbreaking death, where he repeatedly told Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) that he didn't want to go, and finally, Thanos’ unexpected snap itself. Even those who aren't particularly keen on the MCU knew about these moments.

So, does this mean that Empire Magazine's decision to crown Avengers: Infinity War as the best Marvel film justified? Based on its own benchmarks, it seems likely. It ticked all the boxes laid out by the outlet — it had an impact on pop culture and the filmmaking industry. The majority of viewers enjoyed it and it continues to be a favorite topic of discussion among fans despite the MCU moving on from the Infinity Saga. Case in point: there are debates regarding who's really to blame for the Avengers' defeat until now. But the good thing about this is that it's not a definitive ranking. Those who aren't sold on it because they prefer other MCU films over Avengers: Infinity War are equally entitled to their opinions. For what it's worth, many might even point out that the selection of Marvel Studios flicks that got included on the list is debatable. For example, films like Iron Man, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and The Avengers are all fan-favorites, and some of them might argue that they're better than those that Empire Magazine chose to include. It all depends on people's tastes.

More: All The Reasons The Avengers Lost In Infinity War

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