Avengers: Infinity War has been the talk of the town for the past two weeks and you wouldn’t even think twice as to why that is. You just accept it as a universal truth like gravity, even though you cannot completely understand it. But yes, you must have wondered what made the movie such an epic phenomenon with a storyline so simple, and maybe even predictable for die-hard comic fans.
There are numerous reasons why the movie was a success but the root cause is psychology. With early successes like Iron Man (2008), Captain America: First Avenger (2011) and Avengers (2012), Marvel really found it hard to stoop low. Even movies which were just supposed to be fillers which nobody really liked that much; became big hits as the fanaticism towards completion was born. Nowadays we term people who have watched all the Marvel films to be Marvel ‘completionists’. One would just watch a Marvel film for fear that if they don’t, there could be a detail that they would miss, which could be important for the next Avengers film.
Another psychological trick used here is cognitive dissonance, which is a theory that is best explained by an example. Let’s say, a man liked the first phase of Marvel movies and he is going to watch a less successful film like Avengers: Age of Ultron which was highly criticised by the general public. The psychological theory would state that he should be willing to forgive the movie and still watch it by exaggerating the good things in the movie as it is much easier than just giving up liking Marvel altogether.
Another aspect could be balance theory in terms of casting. Casting actors who have good appeal make the movie more audience-friendly. It is just how celebrity endorsement works with products. In this regard, a Robert Downey Jr. fan may still watch the movie even if they have no interest in Marvel or superheroes.
Avengers: Infinity War, in particular, has stirred a lot of anticipation in the public. This level of anticipation is rarely created by other movies. It can be said that Infinity War has an advantage because the movies that they have made prior to Infinity War are of various types and appealing to various audiences. Some might like the quirky humour of Thor: Ragnarok whereas some might go for the particularly heroic Captain America movies. This wide array of audiences would all be in anticipation of what would happen to their beloved characters in Infinity War.
This is further brought about by the boldness of the directors and the studio, to kill off important characters and settings. Be it the destruction of Asgard in Thor: Ragnarok or the promise of deaths in Infinity War by the filmmakers, the studio has shown its boldness towards moving forward with the story rather than sticking to the heroic cliché of everyone living and the villain being incarcerated or deceased.
Moreover, Infinity War has interestingly put more focus on the villain Thanos and making him the central figure, rather than only on the Avengers. This uniqueness in portrayal has further increased its numbers in the theatres.
The Bandwagon Effect also has a crucial role to play in the success of Infinity War. One might not be interested in superhero movies but will go for it in order to fit in with friends or to accompany their children. This also produces more numbers at the theatre.
The cinematic language of the films has also been apt, keeping the characters unchanged from the very start. The Tony Stark we know and love since Iron Man (2008) has hardly changed in a drastic way unless it is explained by the movie itself. This makes the characters more relatable to the audience. The camera work and computer graphics have also been top notch.
Probably, the last reason for the movie to be successful is the fearlessness to put money into the making of the movies. Avengers: Infinity War alone cost between $300-400 million, and along with Avengers 4, it is predicted to cost $1 billion making them the most expensive films ever made. This shows that they want the camera work and technology to be top-notch, and are confident that they’ll be able to make the money back at the box office.
The reviews of Avengers: Infinity War have also been a key helper in its success. And with them earning $1 billion in just two weeks, it doesn’t seem like the phenomenon is going to stop anytime soon.