If you’ve been with me for any length of time, you know that I have a series of posts that look at the writing in superheroic movies. This goes back quite a few years now and my plan is to even go back to movies that have been released for years and include them as well (because I really should get on the movie I think has the best writing out of all MCU movies). The reason I do this series is because the genre is related to the kind of writing I do in my novels. Plus it’s something I’m a fan of. On top of that, we (meaning other speculative fiction writers) can learn from the writing on the screen and apply it to our novels. There are elements that we can utilize the same way.
So, some of you have probably been expecting me to do a post on this sooner but I waited a while though I actually went to see it opening weekend.
What can we say about Avengers: Infinity War? Well, quite a bit.
I want to preface this by saying that this is not a review. This — like all of my posts in this series — is about the writing and how those who do speculative fiction, especially in the superheroic genre, can learn from watching these movies. That being said, I like the movie. I don’t think it was the best out of all the MCU movies but I did like the movie and it is in the top five out of all MCU movies in my opinion.
As a writer, the first thing I can say that you can learn from watching all of the movies in the MCU is that they know how to build to a climax which is a simple rule of thumb when it comes to writing any novel. We have been waiting for 10 years to get up to this point and this was actually foreshadowed all way back in the original Avengers. This is novel writing 101. Every book should build to a climax but there should be an overarching build if you are writing a series which seems to be very popular today. What exactly are you building up to when you are writing your series?
I’m about to release my second full-length book Blackson’s Revenge. This is the first in a trilogy but this is part of an overarching storyline that runs through several novels that are not part of the same series. When it’s all said and done, there will be 12 books. Yes, that is going to take quite a bit of time to do and it also is going to take quite a bit of planning in order to make sure that all of the small little things that are part of it fit nicely together. The only way to do that is if you plan before you write which is what I do.
It’s apparent that this particular movie was more in line with a lot of what was in the original source material and I was very appreciative of that. Of course, some elements had to be changed and rearranged but it stayed in line with the general theme, tone, and goal of the comics, all the way until the end which was something that was a twist on what you would expect. There were quite a few of those in the movie.
That brings me to another point in terms of writing. Always keep them guessing. Always have that element they are wondering about in the back of their mind. Keep it enigmatic. These things are what keep readers reading and coming back. That’s why I can’t understand how anyone can just sit down and write without a plan. I can’t do it because there are so many things I like to tie together and hide in my stories. If you’re just doing a one-off novel, then sure. I’m not saying that it’s bad to be — what we call in the business — a pantser. I’m just saying that for me and what I’m trying to accomplish with my stories, it’s simply not possible to sit down and start writing without a plan because there are so many things I pepper throughout my novels that are tied to other novels to keep people guessing and keep people reading. This is the number one reason why we continue to go see Marvel movies. Those little elements at the end after the credits keep us guessing and also keep us coming back.
It appeared that in this movie, the writers took the advice of classic novelist William Faulkner who was the one who coined the phrase, “Kill your darlings.” What he meant by that is to sacrifice what you hold dear and even what your reader might hold dear in order to elevate the story. That may mean editing out a certain passage that you love when you know it doesn’t really do anything to advance the story or actually doing something to a character you hold dear that you don’t want to do. The only thing I want to say about that so I don’t give you any spoilers that they did that. In spades.
The tone of this movie was darker than most and it should’ve been. When I was in the theater, the movie ended and there was a visceral response from the audience as I heard someone actually shout and scream, “What?!” When you can get people to have that kind of response, you’ve got them and that’s the same kind of response writers want to get when people read their novels. What it means is that their heart is in the story.
The writing for the movie was so good that I would go and see it again. Probably will. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, I suggest you do but be prepared. It just may not be what you expect. But it will be good.