Ah, summer movies. The summer blockbuster tradition is relatively new, but summer moviegoing likely became a big thing when air conditioning was new and “Air Conditioning” on a theater marque guaranteed an audience.


But as I sat in a nearly empty local theater last week watching Avengers: Infinity War (it was a weekday afternoon and the movie had been out for 2 weeks), I wondered if the now ubiquitous Marvel Universe has painted itself into a corner. There are now too many characters to squeeze into a single film, even if some of the lesser lights were sidelined in this one (on holiday, perhaps—after all, only the future of the universe was at stake). So you have a gaggle of actors, each one of which is expecting significant screen time by getting his or her own little slice of the pie. That means a few meaty and/or witty lines for each of them and then off to the next battle. And if there’s one thing this movie isn’t lacking, it’s a next battle. And the next. And the next…