Ten years. That’s how long the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU, has been building to this moment. We’ve gotten to know and love so many memorable characters through this past decade, and that’s why Avengers: Infinity War works as well as it does. A movie featuring such a massive ensemble needed all of that build-up to not only make the stakes so high for the Avengers and the Guardians of The Galaxy, but for us as well. Each hero has had at least one truly terrific time to shine, and each of us have our favorites. That’s why the MCU is such a compelling film series, and the directing duo of the Russo brothers use that to full effect here. I’ve never seen a movie that kept an entire theater silent and still for most of the credits until today. It took us so long to get to Infinity War, and holy cow was it worth it.
The film takes no time establishing Thanos (played to perfection with the voice and motion capture of Josh Brolin) as the biggest, deadliest, and most driven villain of the MCU. His goal is to acquire the Infinity Stones, six gems that each control different fundamental parts of the universe, so he can instantly wipe out half of all life in existence. While I can’t say why without spoilers, the logic driving Thanos is more understandable than you’d think. He’s not right, but also not without reason. The different factions of Avengers and the Guardians learn of Thanos’ plans, and join forces in an effort to stop him.
From Steve Rogers (formerly Captain America) to Groot, every character gets screen time to do something awesome, hilarious, or both. Some of them get more to do than others, but nobody feels left out. That’s an incredible feat with such a ludicrously large cast, even with a two and a half hour runtime. The action and humor that the MCU is known for is on full display, with many jaw dropping action sequences and gut busting one-liners. And I have to mention that there was one heck of a cameo that was an absolute blast from the past.
However, Infinity War matches it’s best qualities with something new: despair. There were more than a handful of times my heart sank, a couple moments my eyes watered, and one line that made me burst into tears. If you thought that Captain America: Civil War was dark, just wait until you ride this emotional roller coaster. Sure, some of it might eventually be undone, but the sadness will linger until/unless it is.
I also found myself caught off guard with Infinity War enough times that I began to second-guess my assumptions with each new story beat. I went into most of the movie’s early scenes “knowing” how they were going to play out, but then ended up getting completely blindsided. I had a pretty solid track record for predicting how things in the MCU movies would play out, but Infinity War has completely tarnished it.
With all said and done, Avengers: Infinity War stands at the top of the MCU, and among the best superhero films ever. Thanks to the ten years of build-up behind it, Infinity War features some of the biggest brawls, loudest laughs, most soul-crushing defeats, and overall best moments of any film this year. I only expected a fantastic action film, but ended up leaving with an even deeper respect and adoration for a series I already loved.