It would be easy to spend a thousand words talking about the technical achievement that is Avengers Infinity War. How it makes such a massive cast all fit without sacrificing any of them; how it’s the culmination of everything that Marvel Studios have been building towards over the course of eighteen films; and how it feels like a comic book come to life. And I’ll get to that. But if you know nothing else about Avengers Infinity War, know this: it is a kick ass action flick that’s clever and funny and heartbreaking and probably the most fun you will have at the movies this year.
In Avengers Infinity War, we finally get to spend time with Thanos, the adopted father of Gamora and Nebula from Guardians Of The Galaxy, the boss behind the invasion in the first Avengers, and that guy in the post-credit scenes who’s always talking about his golden glove. He’s very concerned with overcrowding, and realizes that if he has the six infinity stones — reality altering gems that include the red rock (the reality stone) Natalie Portman had inside her during Thor: Dark World, and the yellow gem (the mind stone) that turned J.A.R.V.I.S. into The Vision in Avengers: Age Of Ultron — he can use them to wipe out half the people in the galaxy. Which is so very Ra’s Al Ghul of him.
When Avengers Infinity War begins, Thanos is standing on the space ship full of Asgardian refugees from the end of Thor: Ragnarok. He’s finally decided to get the stones himself, starting with the one in the tesseract — y’know, the blue one from Captain America: The First Avenger — which just happens to be in Loki’s pocket. Once he has that, he plans to visit Earth and other places for the rest, which is how he and his plan are brought to the attention of all The Superfriends.
Suffice it to say that if you haven’t seen most of the previous movies, you’ll be very, very confused by Avengers Infinity War.
If you have seen them, though — and more importantly enjoyed them — you’ll be entertained, satisfied, and even surprised by Avengers Infinity War. It not only manages to pull off the unique trick of pulling together all of these disparate elements and tones that we’ve seen in the previous films, but it also ties up a lot of loose threads and plot points, including some you might not have realized were still loose.
And it does so without sacrificing any characters’ screen time. Kind of. If you’re only going because you want to see Black Panther, or you only like Gamora, or you think Thor is just the dreamiest, you’ll be disappointed. This is very much an ensemble piece, far more than the Iron Man-centric Avengers, with every hero getting their moment to shine, just not a very long moment. And while this does mean that none of our heroes get the kind of characterization you normally need in a movie, it’s not really a problem if, again, you’ve seen the other movies, which is where these characters were previously introduced and fleshed out.
The exception to this, of course, Thanos, who’s not only the big bad here, but also the character about whom we know the least. But you get to know him really well in Avengers Infinity War. So much so that he starts to be a bit…sympathetic may be too strong of a word; but you will understand the madness behind his method, and maybe even feel a little bad for him the way you kind of felt bad for Darth Vader in Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi when you realized he was under the thumb of Emperor Palpatine.
Besides, while Avengers Infinity War may not explain or expand the characters we already know, it does often put them into new light by pairing them with previously unassociated characters. Black Widow and Okoye from Black Panther become BFFs when they team up to kick some alien butt, and the same can be said for when Bucky and Rocket tag team as well.
Unexpected pairings aren’t the only surprising parts in Avengers Infinity War. To paraphrase Luke in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, this is not going to go the way you think. While you may think you know the path of the plot from the trailers, no, no you don’t. Instead, the movie takes some rather unexpected turns, ones that are interesting and clever, but still plausible in the context of the plot. There’s even a couple shocking moments, including one I actually thought might happen when I saw one of the earlier movies a few years, but completely forgot about until it came back around in this one.
While Avengers Infinity War doesn’t play out like you might expect, it also doesn’t strike the tone you might’ve anticipated either. While a bunch of the movie is set in Wakanda, and a little bit in new York City, the bulk of it takes place in outer space. As a result, this has more of a sci-fi space opera vibe like Guardians Of The Galaxy, Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 2, and Thor Ragnarok, than the more grounded/Earth-centric feel of the original Avengers, Avengers: Age Of Ultron, or the Avengers by another name, Captain America: Civil War.
Though, on the flipside, the humor in Avengers Infinity War is also, thankfully, less like the cheesy and obvious jokes of the Guardians Of The Galaxy movies and Ant-Man, and more like the smart, situational humor of Avengers, Iron Man, and Spider-Man: Homecoming. It also, again thankfully, doesn’t have the terrible slo-mo, bad use of music, or painful schmaltz that undermined both Guardians Of The Galaxy movies.
Avengers Infinity War even has some emotional moments, which give the action weight and consequence. Though the emotion it inspires more is one of elation. There are a bunch of moments in this movie when you’ll want to stand up and cheer, most of which happen during the explosive action scenes, including one that rivals the scope of those in The Lord Of The Rings movies.
More importantly, Avengers Infinity War has the effortless feel of Avengers, Iron Man, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. While it’s run time is just shy of two and a half hours, including credits, it actually flies by like Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Deadpool.
In fact, the only less than stellar aspect about Avengers Infinity Waris that we don’t get to see Thanos getting the purple infinity stone (power), an errand he apparently ran before the film began, at least according to a quick line of dialog. Well, that and how the scenes in which Tony Stark argues with Dr. Strange don’t including anything about them being, “Awesome facial hair bros!” or have someone exclaiming, “No shit, Sherlock.”
In the end, Avengers Infinity War is an exciting, engaging, and genuinely funny action movie, one that’s on par with the first Avengers, the original Iron Man, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Spider-Man: Homecoming as one of the best of the Marvel movies, and on the same level as the original Blade, the first X-Men, Deadpool, and Logan in the pantheon of great superhero flicks. How they’ll possible top this in the as-yet-untitled Avengers 4remains to be seen, but I for one can’t wait to see it.