Avengers: Infinity War ★★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Cosmic warlord Thanos begins his quest to gather the six Infinity Stones which will give him God-like power over the universe. The Avengers team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy in order to stop him, but can they?

It doesn't take long for "Infinity War" to make clear that this is not another typical summer blockbuster movie. Within the first five minutes the villain has already killed a ton of innocent people (among whom a beloved main character) and has beaten to submission Hulk, the strongest Avenger. Thanos isn't your cookie cutter bad guy who lusts after power for the sake of it. He is a man on a mission, and is determined to crush anybody who stands in his way. Unlike other Marvel villains, every time he appears onscreen the sense of apprehension is palpable. This time we aren't sure that our heroes will survive the ordeal. Josh Brolin's performance, together with the amazing CGI work, give us a character that is destined to be mentioned in the future along the likes of Darth Vader and the Joker.

The biggest concern about this feature was the ability of the Russos to successfully juggle almost 30 main characters and multiple plot-lines. They succeeded in this herculean task, as if through a miracle. The film's pace is relentless and despite it's considerable length at no moment do we feel any slack. The action is rousing and nicely balanced with more quite and personal moments that provide crucial character development.

You can't talk about this film without mentioning its ending. Surprising and gutsy don't even begin to describe it. I understand why cynics might dismiss it as a stunt. But I also contend that this doesn't take away from its visceral impact on first sight. It's a gut punch because Marvel has gotten us accustomed in boisterous, fun, happy endings.
This one has hopelessness and futility written all over it.

Within the context of the MCU, "Infinity War"'s comparison to "Empire Strikes Back" is well deserved. The final shots of the surviving heroes reeling from their defeat, while a wounded Thanos savors his victory on a distant planet, are potent. We can savor too what is IMHO the best comic book movie ever made, and anticipate with excitement what the second part has in store for us.