Infinity war pt1

I think its a mistake to confuse “protagonist” as most people use the term and as Dramatica uses the term. They mean completely different things. It is best to treat Dramatica as a completely foreign language.
Whether Thanos is the Dramatica protagonist comes down to whether he represents consideration, pursuit, certainty, proaction, proven, effect, knowledge, and actuality.
And, I know I’m just the noob and have a lot to learn here, but, in my opinion, he absolutely does!
Pursuit of the stones (rather than acting purely defensively, reactively)
Certainty in the morality of his objective (no waffling about saving people, such as Vision, first)
Proaction to wipe out half the population before over-population destroys everything
The Effect of wiping out half the population
The Knowledge of what the stones can do together and where the stones are

And I can’t count how many people have confessed that they were secretly routing for Thanos during the movie.
I think the goal here (in a non-Dramatica sense) might have been to see just how bad a villain could be portrayed and, yet, have the audience support them. The movie is incredibly subversive that way.

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You’re right. I did conflate the everyday meaning of ‘antagonist’ with that of Dramatica’s. This happened whenever I brought in the morality aspect of ‘the bad guy’ and especially when I said ‘if you ask anyone they will say…’.

Beyond that, though, I’m not confusing the everyday terms with the Dramatica terms in my post. Every other use of ‘protagonist’ or ‘antagonist’ refers to their dramatic functions and elements per Dramatica theory.

The protagonist pursues the OS goal and gets others to consider its importance.

The antagonist avoids the OS goal being achieved and gets others to reconsider its importance.

Applying this to Infinity War:

The Avengers and allies pursue the goal of stopping Thanos from collecting the Infinity Stones. They get people to consider how important it is to stop him.

Thanos works to avoid (prevent) the goal of the Avengers and allies stopping him from collecting the Stones. He gets people to reconsider whether they can or should stop him.

These conflicting purposes provide the dramatic tension for the Overall Story.

In regard to[quote=“YellowSuspenders, post:78, topic:1730”]
pursuit, certainty, proaction, proven, effect, knowledge, and actuality.

You can easily explain almost any villain using these ‘protagonist’ words. Try it with a Bond villain. They’re all pursuing a clear agenda, certain in their morality, proactive in working to achieve their goals, seeking a certain effect, and confident in their knowledge of what they can/will do with their ultimate weapon or whatever. So, used this way, because these terms can be used to explain so broadly, they end up explaining nothing.

Remember the Protagonist is for the Overall Story goal. The Antagonist is against it. So really, it depends on what you think the story is about and who’s viewpoint you think the writers wanted us to take.

If you had to pick one, do you think the story is more about:

A team of heroes trying to stop a villain from doing something bad?


An antihero trying to get past a bunch of obstacles to do something morally right?

If the former, the Overall Story Outcome is Failure, in Dramatica terms.

If the latter, the Overall Story Outcome is Success, in Dramatica terms.

Further, if the Avengers failed to stop Thanos, do you think the individual Avengers characters resolve their personal issues? If not, you’ve got a Dramatica Tragedy.

If you feel Thanos is the Protagonist then he Succeeds in achieving the goal. And his smile at the end shows he’s content with this outcome—his angst is resolved. This gives you a Dramatica Triumph.

How do you think the writers wanted you to feel about the story’s ending? Elated or despondent? Dramatica, when used for analysis, is attempting to determine author’s intent. But regardless of author’s intent, how did you actually feel at the end of the movie?

I think, as others have mentioned, we do at times sympathize with and understand Thanos. I understand those who root for him. I love this tragic ending because it’s uncommon and compelling.

Making an effective villain, one not shallow, requires giving the audience some insight into the mind of the Antagonist (a literal serial killer in this case) and even understanding their skewed perspective and how their abhorrent behaviors logically follow from this perspective. This doesn’t make these antagonists into protagonists. It makes them deep, realistic and effective antagonists.

I hope this helps clarify.

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The definition of antagonist, in Dramatica, is Reconsider, Avoidance, Potentiality, Reaction, Unproven, Cause, Thought, Perception.

The Avengers don’t represent pursue as well as Thanos does. Thanos doesn’t let anything stop him. The Avengers are waffling constantly. If the Avengers were representing pursuit as well as Thanos does, they would have killed Vision in Act I. Star Lord would have killed Gamora before Thanos got her. They are reconsidering. They are avoiding. They are reacting.

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Avengers are antagonists in this story. Thanos is the protagonist.

There isn’t a functional argument in the film, so talk about Protagonist and Antagonist will continue to run in circles.


It’s sounding like a scene one.

I don’t have a ton of time to answer this week. But, this discussion has not reached a consensus.

It seems to me that there is a pretty clear argument in Infinity War…

Life should be pruned so it doesn’t grow out of bounds unless disruption is what makes life worth defending in the first place.

(The Crucial Elemnts would be Help vs Hinder)

I think what makes this challenging is that the relationship story is hard to see unless you can track all the ICs. As Jim pointed out, one almost needs a Marvel theology degree to do so. But, I don’t agree that this is Jesus Chainsaw Massacre since that is just the Passion Tale ripped from a larger work. (Sorry, couldn’t resist). And, if anything, the weakness in the RS is what makes it hard to see where the Protagonist and the Antagonist roles are in the film. I would argue, that this is a Melodrama—doesn’t it feel like a Greek play? It is kind of a cool one because the MC is a “bad” protagonist—Something we saw in Civil War. But, this time subjectively instead of objectively.

When I did my analysis, I left the oucome blank and had to dive into the signposts before bouncing back to landing on the proper RS element. The element I picked based on Thor’s Vengeance with Thanos over Loki, Starlord’s grief with Thanos over Gamora, and Scarlet Witch and Vision’s sacrifice…was a Solution of feeling and this implied a Success Outcome (It could only be a failure story if the RS shared the OS problem element—and, it doesn’t seem to fit). Since Thanos Wins, he is the Protagonist. This seems to fit with the fact that he is collecting stones and the Infinity Gauntlet acts as an Optionlock clock for the OS story. (If I’m wrong about the outcome, than Thanos is the Antagonist and the Avengers handoff and sometimes split the protagonist role)

I would think of the RS almost like Ring Bearers. Like they are akin with Thanos because they have weilded Cosmic Power Items (Stones, Hammer/axe or Guantlet). This bonds them like siblings of a sort across the universe. Perhaps weakest in storytelling, but most clearly stated is how Vision (who is not even human is protected by the lives of many others despite his own desire to sacrifice himself for humanity) because he is one of them and considered alive and not to be pruned.

As an MC, Thanos’ personal problems have to do with Conscience because his standing for his long term desire to rebalance life no matter the short term cost is what drives him. As a steadfast character, he never gives into Temptation even though he is tempted to spare Gamora.

The key ICs change from a lack of Support (after the band broke up and plus a lot of them don’t know each other) to Oppose. Thor, Starlord, Vision, and Dr. Strange all indirectly go after Thanos without considering the Guantlet’s power. Thor doesn’t decapitate the head so he can savor the emotion, Starlord messes up project-remove-Gauntlet when he realizes his GF was murdered, and Vision’s sacrifice is meaningless since Thanos is a Cher fan (he can turn back time) (sorry it is late). —none of their ending actions is a direct prevention…they are not only objectively outmatched in the OS, but they are subjectively outmatched by Thanos who not only makes his finger-snap, but also delivers the emotional blows to each of the romances and bromances the ICs have in the story.

The bad judgment is clear when Thanos is hanging out in the Soul Stone/Stuck in his mind (Dramatica pun intended) with little Gamora haunting him, “Is it Done?” —this green little girl isn’t going anywhere and Thanos will always wish he could have spared her.

I think one can argue that the OS is fragmented across other films for some of the backstory, the Change the ICs undergo could have been managed better, the justification for keeping Vision alive at the expense of others is inconsistent with the ICs POV at times or weakly justified, and the RS throughline is weak if not absent.

But, I don’t think you can successfully argue that this movie doesn’t have a storyform. At the very least, the MC and the OS are enough to fill in the gaps of what is missing for the IC and the RS through modeling it out. So, if it is broken, our minds can fill in the gaps so they can get the whole cast their screen-time. I think they would have needed another thirty minutes to sprinkle in the RS properly.

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But the final scene of the movie has Thanos at peace with what he’s done. He’s sitting in his little cabin smiling. If anything, his grief about sacrificing Gamora is a cost.

In fact, that whole sequence with the soul stone/“Thanos’ mind Gamora” literally has her asking “what did it cost?” to which he says “everything.”

I’m gonna get ahead of Jim’s inevitable question: how is any of that different from their OS roles?

It’s a Success/Good story. Thanos is the intended MC. So truly from that perspective the judgment is good.

You’ve read a whole lot into it and made it a complete storyform. Thor not decapitating the head so he can “savor the emotion” is something you projected onto it. I didn’t get that at all, nor was that discussed in the film.

I’m pretty sure there was a major consensus that there wasn’t a storyform–even by those who started thinking out there was a complete argument. The idea that this discussion has gone on as long as it has, and no one can agree on anything, is pretty much proof positive there isn’t a single functioning argument.

No one can agree on Protagonist or Antagonist. No one can agree on Goal. No one can agree on Judgment Good or Bad. Case in point: you argue for a Bad Judgment—if anything, it’s clearly Good. The Costs were high, but it was worth it.

Still—you’re not wrong about the Judgment anymore than I’m right. We’re trying to interpret a tale pretending to be a story—there isn’t going to be an answer.


quote=“crayzbrian, post:84, topic:1730”]
(If I’m wrong about the outcome, than Thanos is the Antagonist and the Avengers handoff and sometimes split the protagonist role)
This sounds like my comic book reading in the fifties. This is what I would anticipate going in to the movie theater. Just saying

laughs I have never seen a better description of Passion of the Christ. When I walked out of there, I felt like I’d just watched a snuff film and I’m Christian.

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You don’t have a consensus yet. I’m not enrolled. So far you have a suspicion. Majority agreement is not a consensus. You need to SHOW that there isn’t a story form. —If we don’t do that, then Sebastian is right that you aren’t exploring things scientifically. And, I know that is not the case. This is a disagreement about Methodology. How you arrive at and display your response matters. You don’t have a consensus yet. You may be right, but you haven’t earned it yet.

Also, if you are going to claim that I am reading into it, I am going to claim that you aren’t reading it closely enough. But, it doesn’t matter because we should be focused on the text.

Isn’t the definition of a Tale a single throughline? There are clearly at least two throughlines. Everyone agrees Thanos is the MC with personal problems and that there is an OS about obtaining stones that results in a fingersnap.

I’m not saying this isn’t a broken story. But, I am saying that there is a storyform the authors worked from. Calling it a tale when it has mutiple throughlines is not evidence that there is no storyform.

Moonlight is not a tale. But, it is an intentionally broken storyform. I don’t think Infinity Wat is an intentionally broken storyform. Nor do I think it is missing a signpost. But, this film deserves the same treatment.

It shouldn’t be that hard to show how it is broken. I’m presenting the storyform I believe the Authors were working with and Identitying how I think it is broken.

If you don’t agree with how I think it is broken, you need to SHOW how you think it is broken.

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I can only name a few scenes that relate to anything non-OS. Most of those few scenes are there to explain backstory (i.e. character introduction–like “Thanos really cares about Gamora”). Most everything that you are calling MC, IC, & RS throughlines are conflicts in the OS since they relate to infinity stones and the related plot points (costs, consequences, prerequisites, forewarning, etc).

Give one scene per act of a personal problem that has zero to do with infinity stones & zero to do with character introduction.


If you compare this discussion to our discussion about Kubo the other night, you’ll should see a huge difference. As complicated and sophisticated Kubo is, we were able to agree on the message of the film—or the storyform.

The reason this discussion is similar to watching a dog constantly try to eat it’s tail is because there is no discernible message from the film. Yes they tried. Yes they failed.

No one hear will agree on Protagonist or Antagonist. No one will agree on Story Judgment. I specifically pointed out an example you cited that wasn’t in the film to show you needed to project an interpretation of meaning onto something that is meaningless (in the Dramatica sense).

A Tale is not s single Throughline. A Tale is a series of events whose meaning is dependent on when and where you start and stop the narrative.

Case in point: you look to Thanos last goodbye with Gamora as indication of a Bad Story Judgment. Those of us who see a Stist Judgment of Good don’t ignore the scene on the porch. The meaning changes dependent upon where you decide to end the narrative.

That’s a Tale.

Arguing Process is a means by which to avoid very clear Results. It’s sleight of hand to argue semantics of consensus or “enrollment”.when faced with the outcome of a discussion this circular.


Can you clearly write out your definition of a tale and the essential properties you can test for that doesn’t rely on looking at the effect of the process people go through to determine if a storyform is there?

You don’t have a consensus yet. This isn’t the first time you have told me there is not a storyform and then later we all agree that there is one. So, if you want to explain clearly what a tale is and how you identify them, that would probably help all of us not have to go through this in this way. But, a group struggling to find a storyform doesn’t imply a tale necessarily. A tale does imply that a group will run in circles. —I can’t be the only one that is bothered by this sort of logical fallacy.

What is your method for identifying a tale? Do you have detailed slides or aides from Chris’ lectures in the past. I think I have heard you mention that there are some great visuals he used for tales.

Would you call Moonlight a tale? Would you call it a story?

How is Fight Club a tale?

I’m not debating who is right, I’m saying that the process isn’t rigorous and that these arguments suck.

The process we went through with Kubo or Pretty Woman in DUG is a rigorous process.

I almost can’t believe I’m saying this, but I agree with @jhull on a Marvel movie.

I don’t see a complete storyform here. The only thing the audience knows with absolutely by the end of the movie is that this isn’t the end of the story.

What’s odd to me is how each of the Lord of the Rings movies managed to feel like they were complete in and of themselves (and thus what used to be called a ‘cycle’ as opposed to just being one story split into three) and yet Marvel couldn’t accomplish that with Infinity War.




A post was split to a new topic: The Definition of a Tale

I don’t know where each of you stand on whether there is a story form, but it seems that the OS Problem is supposed to be Feeling. If so, and if the MC is Thanos, then the Outcome is a success and the Judgement is a success (given his smile at the end).

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