How I Would Have Done AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (Spoilers)
This past Sunday I saw Avengers: Infinity War. Based on reviews and word of mouth, I expected something great and glorious and ended up disappointed. However, anybody can complain. I did some thinking based on my concern that there's a lot of stuff that's told rather than shown and decided that Infinity War would actually work better as a trilogy than a duology.
Firstly, I would have had the Asgardian refugees escape Thanos' initial attack (implied in the post-credits scene of Thor Ragnarok) and make it to Nidavellir. Nidavellir's dwarfs are the ones who made the Asgardians' weaponry and it would make sense the homeless Asgardians would seek the hospitality of their allies, especially a race of weaponsmiths who could help them fight off this new attacker. Eitri (Peter Dinklage) begins making Thor Stormbreaker to kill Thanos, but before it can be finished, Thanos and company catch up with them. We have the battle between him and his goon squad and the Asgardians that we only see the aftermath of in the beginning of the film. Here's a chance to develop the Black Order further--Ebony Maw, Thanos's sorcerer, can battle Loki, while Corvus Glaive and Proxima Midnight can be revealed as Dark Elves (the ones from Thor Dark World) with a major grudge against the Asgardians and battle Thor and Heimdall.
(With the exception of those weird horns Proxima had, I thought Corvus and Proxima were Dark Elves. With most of their race having been killed prior to or during the second Thor film, it would make sense that any dregs might fall under the domination of Thanos.)
Not only are Corvus and Proxima Dark Elves, but Thanos' muscle is augmented by none other than Ultron. It turns out the wounded Ultron Vision killed at the end of Age of Ultron wasn't the only surviving copy and Thanos collected him and gave him the resources needed to repair himself and build a new army. Although his ultimate goal would be confronting his creator Tony Stark, Thor destroyed his fair share of Ultron-bots and so he'll gladly fight him too. The surviving Asgardians and dwarfs are beaten. Thanos kills Heimdall and Loki as he does in the film, and then he forces the dwarfs to make the Infinity Gauntlet for him.
(Continuity error, as in the post-credits sequence for Age of Ultron, it seems he already has the Infinity Gauntlet. Maybe he needs it augmented or altered in some way?)
Thor manages to get away with the newly-forged Stormbreaker, perhaps as a result of Heimdall's sacrifice that also enables Banner to escape. Perhaps Thanos forcing Eitri to make or improve the Gauntlet for him is specifically a punishment for making Stormbreaker? This will foreshadow Stormbreaker is something Thanos fears.
Not long afterward, the Guardians are on Xandar when Thanos and company show up. They help the Nova Corps fight the oncoming enemy, possibly with the help of Ravagers coming to aid Yondu's adopted son Peter Quill (Chris Pratt). Unfortunately, Thanos has his own contacts within the Ravagers and some of them turn traitor at the worst possible time, seduced to Thanos's cause with the promise of looting Xandar once the Nova Corps is destroyed. The Ravager commander Sylvester Stallone (does he have a name?) is killed and the dregs of the loyal Ravagers are forced to retreat under the command of Kraglin (Sean Gunn). With the Nova Corps destroyed, Thanos manages to capture another Infinity Stone. The fact Thanos won through treason and dividing his enemies will show that he's not just a big purple brute, but a clever politician and general too.
(I'm actually reminded of Morgoth engineering the Easterlings' treason in the Battle of Unnumbered Tears in The Silmarillon.)
The Guardians flee the devastated Xandar to Knowhere, hoping to retrieve the Infinity Stone the Collector has now they know what Thanos is up to, but they find Thanos has gotten there first. The Knowhere sequence plays out largely like it does in the actual film, which leads to the Guardians heading for Titan. I'd also like Howard the Duck to make a cameo, since he was in the stinger of the first Guardians of the Galaxy. Perhaps during the fight Thanos nonchalantly steps on him and it's played for laughs?
Meanwhile, Thor and Banner arrive on Earth and meet Dr. Strange and Iron Man. The film ends with the arrival of Thanos's Black Order generals on Earth and everybody preparing to fight. Pepper might play a larger role than just getting ditched so Tony can run off with Banner and Dr. Strange--in Iron Man III she becomes an Extremis super-soldier and although Tony claims he can "fix" her, if she can avoid accidentally blowing up, why would she want to be fixed? It'd be hard for villains to take her hostage or menace her to mess with Tony if she's superpowered herself. It's not like Pepper doesn't become super-powered in the comics--she gets her own powered armor and becomes the superheroine Rescue.
To include the Avengers in this otherwise cosmic-focused film, perhaps there's a parallel plot featuring the loyalists (Tony and friends) hunting the rebels (Captain America and his crew) and we have a rematch? Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) meeting up for romantic rendezvous could make this happen--they meet in New York City on the grounds it's the last place the loyalists would look, but Tony and Colonel Rhodes manage to track Vision despite his precautions and arrive to detain Wanda. Then Captain America, Black Widow, and Falcon show up, having anticipated exactly this. There's a fight and then Thor, Banner, Dr. Strange, and Wong show up to put a stop to it, much to the annoyance of General Ross (William Hurt). Unfortunately, just when the old friends have finally made peace, Ebony Maw and friends show up on Earth. Credits.
The second film will begin with the fight that triggers Tony and friends going to Titan where they encounter the Guardians. Thanos's goons attack the reunited Avengers and wound Vision, leading Captain America and his team return to Avengers HQ (which I don't think is that far from NYC) to treat him and collect War Machine (Don Cheadle). General Ross has anticipated this and unleashes the Abomination (Tim Roth) on them. They escape and head to Wakanda with Vision for the canonical "remove and destroy the stone" plot while Thanos defeats the good guys on Titan. The remaining members of the Black Order arrive, with Ultron's robot horde providing the muscle, and we have the canonical battle with the Wakandan army and (most of) the Avengers.
Perhaps Ultron fighting every Avenger but Tony Stark becomes a running gag? Spader was good with the exasperation in Age of Ultron, so we could see more of that here. For a more serious alternative take, he ends up facing Wanda, who destroyed his primary body in Age of Ultron. She's still pissed about the death of her brother and Ultron feels guilty despite himself. After all, she was the only human he seemed to have any sympathy for, even warning her to run and save herself after she and her brother abandoned him for the Avengers. If he's a sophisticated enough machine to have Daddy issues and be so disgusted by humanity he wants to kill everybody, he can feel guilt as well.
Either way, although the Black Order is destroyed, Thanos arrives to claim his prize. My movie ends the same way as the canonical film did, with the upcoming second film being the third film in my proposed trilogy.
What do you all think? The one flaw I can see in this is that it juggles multiple parallel plots, but the Asgardian one can be merged into the Earth-based Avengers plot relatively quickly, perhaps a quarter to a third of the way into the film.