Avengers: Infinity War vs. The Thanos Quest

The Marvel Cinematic Universe makes me very, very, very happy. Over the past decade it has been an absolute joy to see characters that fascinated me as a child brought to life in a way that treats them seriously while still having fun. On top of that, creating a shared universe that consists of 19 feature films and 11 television series is nothing short of astounding. Yes, there have been some missteps (Iron Man 2, Thor: The Dark World, Iron Fist, The Inhumans) but the Marvel Cinematic Universe has an admirable track record.

This year, 2018, is Marvel Studios’ best year so far. Not only are the second seasons of Jessica Jones and Luke Cage its finest entries on Netflix to date (in my opinion), the two cinematic entries dropped this year are the third- and fourth-highest grossing movies in North American box office history. Black Panther sits behind only Avatar and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but I would like to focus on the film that sits in fourth place with a box office tally of $678,515,869 – Avengers: Infinity War.

This movie is what Marvel Studios’ previous 18 movies were leading up to, so the anticipation was massive. Thanos, an enormously powerful baddy, was first seen in a post-credit scene in the first Avengers movie six years earlier, which had comics experts predicting that this movie would be an adaptation of Marvel’s massive comics crossover event from 1991, The Infinity Gauntlet. Even as recently as the day before I published this, the YouTube channel Watchmojo posted a video entitled “Top 10 Differences Between Infinity War Movie and Comic” referring, again, to The Infinity Gauntlet. I’m here to tell you that those people were mostly wrong. While The Infinity Gauntlet centres almost entirely on Marvel’s top heroes coming together to stop Thanos, I contend that Avengers: Infinity War hews more closely to a two-issue tale from one year prior entitled The Thanos Quest.

Avengers: Infinity War is also the fourth-highest grossing movie in worldwide box office history, having raked in more than $2 billion, so I feel well within my rights to discuss all aspects of the movie at this point. Don’t get angry at me if you were planning on seeing it but haven’t managed it yet.

The movie uses Thanos’ acquisition of each of the six infinity gems as the story’s structure. That is exactly what The Thanos Quest does. Both stories end with Thanos successfully gathering the stones, making him all-powerful. The movie and the comic are different in key ways.

First: Thanos has different motivations in both stories. In the movie, he sees himself as the only being willing to do what is necessary to ensure the universe’s survival – eliminate half of its population. To carry this out, he needs the six gems. In The Thanos Quest, he is in love with the physical personification of death, and seeks to please her by wiping out half the universe’s population. He has determined, after gazing into the Infinity Well, that the best way to do this is through gathering the six gems together.

Second: In the movie Bruce Banner (played by Mark Ruffalo) makes earthlings aware. In fact, two of the gems were on our little planet. In The Thanos Quest, Earth isn’t involved at all. Comics readers would have to wait a year until The Infinity Gauntlet for the Silver Surfer to tell earthlings of the danger Thanos poses.

Third: Marvel’s most lucrative characters appear in the movie. Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, Black Widow, the Hulk and Black Panther all appear. None of these are in The Thanos Quest. Thanos himself is the biggest star of the comic.

You may, by now, be under the impression that The Thanos Quest is a pale shadow of the movie. That doesn’t take into account writer Jim Starlin’s mastery of the Thanos character. I can’t think of a main character more sly and cunning in the medium of comics. (A case could be made for the Kingpin, especially as written by Frank Miller in the 80s.) Moreover, Thanos isn’t someone we want to succeed, but the manner in which he does is so fascinating, it’s impossible to not root for him at least a little bit.

The easiest way to outline the differences between the movie and the comic is to proceed gem by gem.

The First Gem

In the movie: the first gem Thanos gains possession of is the Power Gem. He already has it when the movie begins. You may remember the gem form its appearance in the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, when Star Lord would have perished while touching it had the other four not joined hands with him. At the end of the movie the gem was placed into safekeeping with the Nova Corps. As Thor explains in Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos was able to easily wrest the gem from their grasp. Thanos was likely able to withstand an assault from the Hulk because he possessed this stone.

This is one of the movie’s few flaws – this first acquisition happens off-screen. Instead of us witnessing it, Thor tells us about it – not thebest storytelling method.

The first gem Thanos gains possession of in The Thanos Quest is the Soul Gem, which allows the bearer to bend the will of whoever they want, however they want. Thanos travels to an area of space called the Nexus of Reality and finds a cosmic being imprisoned in a magic bubble. This being is known as the In-Betweener. Thanos offers to help free him from his prison, and even though the In-Betweener doesn’t trust him, he agrees. Both of them use their powers simultaneously, and the bubble bursts. Once free, the In-Betweener tries to turn his powers against Thanos, but finds himself powerless. It was just as Thanos anticipated. Knocking the In-Betweener to the ground taking the Soul Gem, Thanos explains that his captors chose the Nexus of Reality as the location of the prison because, in case he broke out of the bubble, the location itself would remove his powers. Thanos takes his leave as the In-Betweener’s captors angrily return.

This first gem theft is a prime example of what The Thanos Quest does so well. Thanos’ cunning and trickery are on full, glorious display. Starlin, while letting us into the Mad Titan’s headspace, never lets us readers in on his strategy. While we are right to fear what havoc Thanos will wreak once he gathers the six gems, we can’t help but enjoy the craftiness he employs as he outsmarts each gem’s protector.

The Second Gem

Avengers: Infinity War opens with Thanos having already attacked the spaceship shuttling the people of Asgard to a new home (as we saw at the end of Thor: Ragnarok). Dead Asgardians are strewn on the ground as one of Thanos’ henchmen walks around them, demanding they produce the Tesseract. Thanos has imprisoned Thor and is threatening to kill Loki, who responds with the line, “We have a Hulk.” The green behemoth leaps on to the screen and begins slamming his fists against Thanos, but, as I already spoiled, the Mad Titan already has the Power Gem, and withstands whatever beating the Hulk can lay out. He even overpowers the Hulk and knocks him unconscious. When Loki is again asked to produce the Tesseract, he still refuses, but Thanos turns his destructive powers on Thor, and begins crushing the life from him. That’s when Loki reveals that he possesses the Tesseract, which we previously saw in Captain America: The First Avenger and The Avengers. Loki stole it from Asgard at the end of Thor: Ragnarok, and it turns out to contain the Space Gem. Thanos adds the gem to his gauntlet, and Loki tries making deals with him to spare his life. Thanos has none of it and strangles Loki to death in front of his brother.

This was a surprising way to open a blockbuster. All the Asgardians we saw flying away safe at the end of Thor: Ragnarok ended up slaughtered by Thanos and the Black Order, except for Thor, who was helplessly bound to witness the murder of his brother. And if Thanos can not only take on the Hulk, but knock him unconscious, is there anything the audience can imagine that can stop him? This opening does an excellent job setting the stage for what’s to come.

In The Thanos Quest, the Mad Titan next heads to Tamarata, a planet plagued by constant violence due to its strategic location in the plans of five warring federations. This makes Tamarata the perfect home of an Elder of the Universe known as the Champion, who delights in flexing his muscles and showing off his fighting skills against anyone who ever approaches the planet. The Champion wields the Power Gem, and has never experienced defeat.

It doesn’t take long for Thanos to goad the Champion into a fight. While the Elder is all strength and force, Thanos infuriates him by dodging and catching him with counter-attacks. He works the Champion into such a frenzy, that Tamarata ends up shattered by the Elder’s own ferocious power. Thanos, true to his plan, teleported off the planet before the destruction happened. He offers to deliver the Champion to a new planet in exchange for the Power Gem.

Even though the comic features none of the heroes with which we have grown so familiar over the previous 18 films, the comic has the benefit of centring Thanos firmly as the main character. Starlin and artist Ron Lim do a fantastic job showing the magnitude of the Champion’s might. At one point, Thanos encases himself in the safety of a forcefield, and the Champion is pounding away at it with his massive fists. “The force he concentrates on my shield is nearly inconceivable.” Thanos thinks. “I already begin to feel them buckle.” A few panels later, Thanos actually worries the force field won’t hold up. That moment goes a long way in making Thanos an empathetic character. Also contributing to that is the Champion’s swaggering buffoonery.

By this time in both stories Thanos has the Power Gem. The comic says that this stone “backs all the other gems with infinite power.” In the movie, Thanos also has the Space Gem, which allows him to “subconsciously manipulate space.”

The Third Gem

At this point in Avengers: Infinity War, Thor informs the Guardians of the Galaxy about Thanos’ horrible plans. Star Lord, Gamora, Mantis and Drax head to Knowhere, the home of the Collector, to prevent Thanos from getting the Reality Gem, which allows the bearer to make real anything they dream.

Gamora is Thanos’ adopted daughter, and calling her relationship with him complicated is putting it lightly. She tells Star Lord, who adores her, that she knows the location of the Soul gem. Knowing that Thanos will go after anyone with the location, she refuses to share it. She makes Star Lord promise he’ll kill her if Thanos takes her captive. He very reluctantly agrees.

By the time they get to Knowhere, Thanos had already taken the Reality gem from the Collector, and that puts him halfway towards his goal. Drax, Mantis and Star Lord try their best to stop him, but Thanos manages to find Gamora, and she pleads with Star Lord to kill her, just like he promised. Thanos dares Star Lord to do it. The leader of the Guardians looks his beloved in the eye and pulls the trigger… and Thanos transforms the projectiles into harmless bubbles. He then vanishes with his captive daughter.

Once again, the movie packs some tasty human drama around some easy gem acquisitions. Nobody possessing a gem has been able to put up much of a fight so far. It’s what’s happening around the gems to well-loved characters that is driving this movie. Star Lord’s pulling of the trigger is a big character development for him. It shows that he is willing to fulfill a promise to a loved one even if means losing that loved one. It shows that he is willing to do what it takes to ensure the greater good. At this point in the movie, it’s still the heroes driving the plot.

Needless to say, the acquisition of the third gem in the comics is much different. It’s a very quiet and tranquil scene involving an Elder of the Universe known as the Gardener, who possesses the Time Gem. This Elder tends a garden where each plant is forever at its point of perfect bloom. Thanos arrives and strolls through the garden with him. They both agree it’s the most beautiful place in the entire universe. Thanos pledges his respect for those who can create such beauty. They sit down to enjoy the green.

The Gardener says he knows Thanos has come for the gem. The Titan says he needs it to realize his dreams. The Gardener asks if those dreams are more important than this garden. Thanos plainly says, “My goal must override all others.” Even though the Gardener knows that Thanos already has two gems and is, therefore, unbeatable, he says, “I, too, must be true to my own desires and needs.” “I have no wish to harm you, Gardener,” Thanos says. “Nor I you,” he replies, “but our dreams are at odds.”

Vines begin wrapping themselves around Thanos’ body until he’s covered from head to toe. Thanos breaks free from them and begins talking to the Gardener who is off panel. Thanos explains how the Time Gem allowed the Gardener to race through each plant’s growth cycle and freeze the moment each reached the zenith of their beauty. He expresses regret that since he’s leaving with the gem, the garden’s beauty won’t last. As the plants wither and die, we see that the Gardener’s lifeless body has been asphyxiated and impaled by branches and vines. As he leaves, Thanos explains that he used the Power Gem to augment the Gardener’s stone beyond levels he could control. His parting words are “I admittedly feel a certain amount of shame in turning your greatest gift into the instrument of you destruction.”

This may be my favourite scene in all of The Thanos Quest. The genuine respect Thanos holds for the Gardener and his ability to appreciate the beauty of nature provide another interesting facet to his character. He clearly spoke honestly and openly with the Gardener, and unlike his other opponents, made no effort to deceive him. While there are things Thanos would rather not do, he is clearly devoted to his cause, and will not be swayed from it.

Three gems in, I feel we have gotten to know the comics version of Thanos much better than his cinematic counterpart, but the movie is centred much more firmly around the struggles of the heroes.

The Fourth Gem

Anyone who has seen Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 knows that Thanos has a long history of abusing his daughter Nebula in the most horrific of ways. The theme of abused siblings was handled with surprising depth in that movie, and both Gamora and Nebula grew closer as a result. Now, in Avengers: Infinity War, Gamora finds that her father has strung Nebula from a ceiling and promises to inflict grievous harm upon her unless he is given the location of the Soul Gem. For her sister’s sake, she tells him it’s on a planet called Vormir.

Off to Vormir Thanos and Gamora go. They find the home of the Soul Gem is guarded by the Red Skull, Captain America’s deceased arch-enemy during World War II. The Skull says one can only acquire the stone by sacrificing the life of someone they truly love. Gamora takes this opportunity to taunt her father.

“All my life I dreamed of a day, a moment, when you got what you deserved,” she says. “And I was always so disappointed. But now, you kill and torture and you call it mercy. The universe has judged you. You asked it for a prize and it told you no. You failed. And do you know why? Because you love nothing. No one.”

Thanos looks at Gamora. He quietly weeps.

“Really?” she asks. “Tears?”

Thanos draws near her.

“They are not for him,” the Red Skull says.

With horror, Gamora realizes that, in his own twisted way, Thanos loves her. He lifts her up, throws her off a cliff to her death, and the Soul Gem is his.

This is really the first time in the movie we got a good look inside what makes Thanos tick. The revelation that someone as ruthless as Thanos could genuinely love his adopted daughter carries a considerable emotional punch to the gut. The death of a character as well-loved as Gamora is proof that no one is safe in Avengers: Infinity War.

In the comic, Thanos travels to the sector of outer space where the Elder of the Universe known as the Runner is usually found. Thanos is taken by surprise when the Runner rams into his spacecraft, smashing it in two. He tells Thanos he was warned about his quest, and hands him an ultimatum: Reveal why he’s searching for the gems or he’ll beat him to death at super speed.

Thanos reveals that from gazing into the Infinity Well, he learned that the six gems predate all recorded time. “They were once a single unit, a lone entity,” he tells the Runner. “They were a sentient being of limitless power.” Nothing existed in the universe but this entity, and out of loneliness it chose to end its existence. “But such power does not give up the ghost easily,” Thanos explains. “From its ashes rose all that is currently reality, in all its many forms. The core of this being’s might was reincarnated in the form of the six Infinity Gems.”

Having learned about the gems’ capabilities, the Runner threatens to kill Thanos so the secret of the gems will be his alone, but the Mad Titan uses the Time Gem to age the Elder beyond a million years. He takes the Space Gem from the now feeble Runner, and then reverses his age backward until he’s an infant. Thanos picks the helpless baby up, and they teleport to his next destination.

Starlin raises his story to mythic proportions with the origin of the gems. The story now has a quasi-religious scope, which lends Thanos’ malevolent quest more depth.

The Fifth Gem

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Strange’s amulet houses the Time Gem. In his solo movie we see him use it to trap Dormammu in a time loop. In Avengers: Infinity War, we see him use it to view millions of futures, finding only one outcome in which Thanos fails in his quest.

Thanos shows up in his own homeland, one of Saturn’s moons called Titan, to take the Time Gem away from Strange. Unfortuately for Thanos, Strange isn’t alone. We also have Iron Man, Star Lord, Mantis, Spider-Man, Drax and Nebula, and they have a plan to get the Infinity Gauntlet off of him. Mantis actually puts Thanos in a trance, and is able to sense that he’s in mourning. Nebula deduces that he must have killed Gamora, and Star Lord flies into a rage. Iron Man pleads with him not to attack Thanos – to just let Mantis maintain her trance, because they nearly have the glove off. But Star Lord can’t rein in his emotions. He attacks the Mad Titan, and Thanos snaps back to consciousness. We actually see that Spidey gets the glove off for a split second, but Thanos immediately gets it back.

Much vitriol has been spewed over Star Lord’s actions in this scene, but there have been almost as many people defending him. Can I understand Star Lord losing his cool? Absolutely. He loved Gamora. But how high do the stakes have to be in order for him to keep perspective? Walk a few steps away and have a tantrum. That would have been okay.

I completely understand what the screenwriters and directors were doing. They needed Thanos to win this battle, but they wanted it to appear like he could lose. Unfortunately, I feel that this scene cancelled out Star Lord’s character growth from the earlier scene when he pulled the trigger.

The fight takes a turn for the worse and Thanos is close to killing Iron Man. Seeing this, Doctor Strange surrenders the Time Gem to Thanos in exchange for sparing the Avenger’s life. After Thanos departs with the gem, Strange tells Iron Man, “Tony, there was no other way.”

The fights between Thanos and the heroes are magnificently staged, and there isn’t a weak actor in this entire movie. Thanos’ brutalization of Iron Man is a heavy moment, since it honestly seems like anyone could meet their final end in this movie, and Robert Downey Jr. started this entire enterprise off one decade ago. Strange’s “no other way” line is also compelling, leading us to believe that Iron Man was integral in the one victorious future the Sorcerer Supreme saw.

In the comic, Thanos appears inside the Collector’s installation and offers a trade: the infant Runner for the Reality Gem. The Collector can’t refuse it – his own Elder of the Universe for his collection! Besides, he has inspected that gem with every scientific means at his disposal, and he’s convinced that it’s nothing more than a “worthless hunk of polished glass.” Thanos takes hold of the gem and quickly proves him wrong, altering the dimensions of his installation and turning everything topsy turvy. As he takes his leave, Thanos releases his infancy spell on the Runner, who is furious with the Collector for even thinking he could add him to his collection.

This is a less remarkable gem acquisition than the previous ones in this comic. While Thanos is still extremely sly in his dealings with the Elders, the Collector seems to be the least formidable of them. Whether in the comic or the movies (portrayed by Benecio Del Toro) the Collector seems to exist merely to be duped. Not once was I worried Thanos wouldn’t get the gem. Fortunately this scene seems to just exist as an epilogue of his earlier and stronger scene with the Runner.

The Sixth Gem

Throughout Avengers: Infinity War, one of the major sub-plots is the considerable effort to save the Vision, the synthezoid created by fusing J.A.R.V.I.S. (Stark Industries’ artificial intelligence) with the Mind gem, which we first saw way back in the first Thor movie when it was part of Loki’s scepter. It was used, in the first Avengers movie, to take over the minds of Hawkeye and Erik Selvig.

I’ve always liked the Vision. He has cool powers; he’s able to alter his density so he can pass through walls, or become hard as a diamond. Plus he had a bright colour scheme. However, as long as I’ve been aware of Marvel Comics, there has always been something about the Vision I found ridiculous – his romance with the Scarlet Witch. I mean, he’s not a human being. I realize he looks like one and talks like one, but she knows he’s not a human being! The strangest point in the comics was when Mantis fell in love with him too, and both ladies were fighting over him. It seems like the female population would be ecstatic if the Vision could be mass-produced.

At any rate, Avengers: Infinity War is true to the comics in that the Vision and Scarlet Witch are now in love. Both realize that Thanos is after the Mind Gem that is part of the synthezoid. Everyone has pleaded with Scarlet Witch to use her powers to destroy the gem, which, while killing the Vision, would wreck Thanos’ plan. She agrees to do so, but only after the gem is safely separated from the Vision. The only person with the means of doing this appears to be Shuri – scientist extraordinaire and sister to the Black Panther. So off to Wakanda they go.

All of the heroes except for the ones we just saw on Saturn’s moon are present in Wakanda to do battle with Thanos and the Black Order when they come for the Mind Gem. The heroes manage to hold off the Black Order, but Shuri is not given enough time to separate the Vision from the gem before Thanos advances. The synthezoid and the Scarlet Witch flee Shuri’s laboratory, but the Vision realizes it’s too late. He instructs his beloved to destroy the gem, and, consequently, end his life. As Thanos advances on them, the Scarlet Witch concentrates her hex power on shattering the gem, and, to her horror, she succeeds. She has ended her lover’s life, but she has prevented the eradication of half the universe.

Or so she thinks. Thanos looks at the Vision’s forehead, where the Mind Gem used to be. The Scarlet Witch is doubled over in grief from the gruelling act she just performed. The Mad Titan then takes the Time Gem and rewinds a few dozen seconds before the final stone was destroyed. He then grabs the now intact Vision’s head and gouges out the Mind Gem, destroying the synthezoid all over again. Thanos adds his latest gem to his gauntlet, and his quest is complete.

As ridiculous as I may find the romance between the Vision and the Scarlet Witch, I have to give credit where credit is due. Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen are utterly convincing as a romantic couple, even with Bettany’s crazy make-up. The absolute horror the Scarlet Witch endures as she actually succeeds in killing her beloved, only for it to be all for naught, is heartbreaking. It’s, without question, one of the most powerful moments in the movie. The fact that everything the Scarlet Witch went through meant absolutely nothing to Thanos makes him all the more contemptable.

The Mind Gem is also the final one Thanos goes after in the comic, and it is guarded by an Elder of the Universe whom he refers to as the strategist supreme: The Grand Master. (He looks nothing like Jeff Goldblum – well, maybe a little.) The Elder places the Mind Gem in a device that will shield it from Thanos unless The Grand Master loses the contest he arranged for the two of them. Should Thanos lose, the Grand Master will get the other five gems.

The contest ends up being some Tron-like computer simulation of a fictional battle arena, complete with armour. The stakes are raised by having killshots not just immobilize, but actually kill the contestant. For a second, it looks as though Thanos has gotten the better of the Grand Master, but then a gas emits from Thanos’ armour, and he becomes covered head to toe in a silicon-based fungus. The Grand Master, naturally, sabotaged Thanos’ armour before the contest because “the stakes were too damn high and you’re too dangerous an enemy to trifle with.” The fungus is supposed to permeate Thanos’ entire being within moments. It looks as though this is the end of the Mad Titan.

The fungus crumbles and we see machinery where Thanos’ guts should be. It turns out he had a robotic decoy dealing with the Grand Master from the beginning of the scene. The real Thanos smashes the simulator while the Elder is still in it and takes the Mind Gem.

While the robotic decoy is something of a neat twist, it is kind of disappointing that the Grand Master can’t tell the difference between a robot and flesh and blood. Starlin even points out how ridiculous it is that the possessor of the Mind Gem wouldn’t have used it to realize that the being to whom he was speaking wasn’t the real Thanos. As the Mad Titan points out, that gem is “a doorway to the mind.” While the twist is another demonstration of Thanos’ cunning, this gem acquisition isn’t as satisfying as the first four were.

Obviously the presence of Thanos, the names of the gems and the attainment of each of them one at a time are the only real similarities between Avengers: Infinity War and The Thanos Quest. The Collector is the only Elder of the Universe to appear in the movie, and the comic has no heroes standing in Thanos’ way as he deceives gems out of the hands of their possessors.

So, you may be wondering, which do I prefer? The movie or the comic?

It’s hard to say. While the movie isn’t perfect, it’s very, very good. Yes, I would have liked to have seen the first gem stolen from Nova Corps, and the Asgardian ship attacked, but what we did get was full of top-notch acting and character work. Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth and Elizabeth Olsen were standouts in a uniformally excellent cast, but Josh Brolin as Thanos deserves the highest kudos along with the movie’s effects team. Brolin had to wear a foam headpiece that was the size of Thanos’ head, with a camera on his face for visual effects. Also, depending on the scene, Brolin had to wear various foam parts on his body so other actors didn’t get too close to his real body, thereby maintaining Thanos’ physical dimensions. Nevertheless, Brolin turns in a powerful performance, loaded with gravitas, arrogance, and even, at times, compassion. Apparently, Brolin used Marlon Brando’s performance in Apocalypse Now as a starting point, and you can kind of see it. The result is perhaps the most impressive motion-capture character since Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The movie benefits from the presence of almost all the heroes with whom we’ve grown so familiar over the past decade since the first Iron Man movie. They’re the draw. They’re the reason why the butts are in the seats, and even if none of them turned out to be the movie’s main character, their struggles and losses give Thanos’ journey so much consequence.

As previously mentioned, you won’t find any of them in The Thanos Quest, but that omission helps it feel separate from the rest of the Marvel Universe. More of the focus, as a result, is allowed to be on the quest for the gems itself, and the fact that Thanos goes after them one at a time gives the entire tale a mythic quality akin to the Labours of Hercules.

But, in the long run, I think The Thanos Quest benefits from its economy of characters. Starlin was allowed to concentrate on exploring and showing different sides of Thanos’ character. The movie does that very well too, but sometimes all the characters make it feel crowded. So if I’m forced into admitting I prefer one over the other, I have to lean towards The Thanos Quest. It’s cleaner, takes up only two issues, and it will be impossible for you to hold back from continuing the story with The Infinity Gauntlet.

As is obvious, I’m completely under Marvel’s spell, and can’t wait until the next Avengers film comes out next spring. Fortunately the studio has offerings to tide me over until then. On Netflix I have the third season of Daredevil coming up, as well as the second season of Iron Fist (which better be a gigantic improvement over the first.) Then, on March 6, the studio’s first movie with a female protagonist, Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson, comes out. They have earned my loyalty, and I’m happy to keep giving them my business.