Ten years, 18 films, and it all comes down to this… Well, half at least. Avengers: Infinity War is a celebration and culmination of the last decade. Combining an entire universe — it is called the Marvel Cinematic Universe for a reason — of comicbook superheroes and spanning years of anticipation, can Earth’s mightiest heroes stand up to the hype? Unsurprisingly, the answer is yes. Infinity War delivers across all fronts with spectacular action, huge laughs, and an aching heart. But the Russo brothers (Joe and Anthony) send phase three out with a spectacular bang.
Picking up after Thor: Ragnarok with Thanos (Josh Brolin) taking over Thor’s (Chris Hemsworth) ship of Asgardian castaways, we find a battle of wits as Thanos threatens to kill Thor in order to get his giant hands on the Tessaract (the Space Stone) from Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Thanos plans to gather all six Infinity Stones — the rest being the Mind, Soul, Power, Time, and Reality Stones — in order to control the universe. He also plans to wipe out half of Earth, bringing together the Avengers, and a slew of help, to try to stop his evil doings.
Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Spider-man (Tom Holland), Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Captain America (Chris Evans), Mantis (Pom Klementieff), White Wolf (Sebastian Stan), Nebula (Karen Gillan), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Drax (Dave Bautista), Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), Shuri (Letitia Wright), Okoye (Danai Gurira), Vision (Paul Bettany), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), M’Baku (Winston Duke), Wong (Benedict Wong), War Machine (Don Cheadle), Ayo (Florence Kasumba), and Thor, must keep Thanos from bringing his brand of perfect balance to the galaxy, saving the universe’s existence in the process.
No movie could attempt the kind of epicness the Russo brothers manage to bring to the screen. With every film in the collective there’s another piece of the puzzle. And the end game is finally here. The cast can play these characters in their sleep — aside from Olsen’s disappearing accent — but never come across as bored. The camaraderie works wonders considering screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely are handling so many characters from so many movies with so many different tones. It never feels as much like channel surfing as it could and also never feels like a greatest hits collection either. Every character is given something to do and no one goes to waste.
Is this a perfect movie? That would have been impossible. Things slow down toward the middle causing a moment or two of restlessness, but then it’s back to full throttle and hits the gas again. The 149 minute runtime flies by. The cliffhanger ending will make your jaw drop making the most hardcore MCU fans ask, “Is this real life?” This is the Marvel movie that’s going to be dissected and analyzed for the next year while we wait out for the second half — filming is already completed and we don’t even have a title yet! You’ll find no spoilers here, only the biggest jerks would commit that crime. But, no one is going to leave Avengers: Infinity War without a smile on their face, a tear in their eye, and distress on their minds.
*Make sure to stay through the end credits for a single stinger. Anyone needing to make a restroom run during the credits is safe to do so. Also make sure to see it in IMAX, it was filmed with IMAX cameras and unfortunately, our press screening was framed at 2.39:1 in a scope ratio causing a lot of the image to go missing. It’s a huge movie that demands to be seen on a huge screen.