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Review: ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ makes a big and powerful statement (Includes first-hand account)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has been laying the groundwork for this epic crossover for years. First, post-credit sequences included unrelated characters; then they began to interact with individuals from other storylines; and finally, those characters began to appear in each other’s narratives, including a movie featuring unparalleled in-fighting. Now, all of this preparation is culminating in possibly the greatest — and most ambitious — superhero movie to date. A villain that’s lurked on the periphery for some time is ready to make his big move in Avengers: Infinity War and it’s going to take everyone in the MCU to stop him.

Thanos (Josh Brolin) is on a singular mission: to collect all of the Infinity Stones spread across the galaxy and use their power to destroy the universe. Wielding the largest and most ruthless army in the cosmos, he begins to gather them one by one. When Gamora (Zoe Saldana) realizes her father’s intentions, she enlists her fellow Guardians of the Galaxy to help her stop him. In the meantime, the Avengers must put aside their differences to reassemble and use their collective abilities to stop the purple tyrant. With the aid of Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and a new powerful weapon, the superheroes have a shot at winning — but it’ll be their toughest battle yet.

This is the first time a lot of these characters are meeting each other, or even learning of each other’s existence, which leads to some interesting exchanges and a lot of chest puffing amongst the stronger personalities. The most anticipated and amusing of these is when Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) meets Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), two men who believe they’re always right and know everything. Similarly, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Star-Lord’s (Chris Pratt) initial meeting includes some (unintentional?) name calling and peacocking. These first-time interactions provide a lot of the film’s humour, in addition to the high-intensity comic relief that’s become typical of the franchise. Nonetheless, this movie is definitely closer to the more serious tone of Civil War than the more recent merriment of Ragnarok.

Not entirely unexpectedly, there is a lot happening in this movie. There’s almost always a minimum of four storylines unfolding, most of which are unaware of what’s occurring in the other narratives. As a result, there are also multiple, unrelated plans being developed to stop Thanos. Each of these plots is exciting and captivating, but there’s also a little fragmentation occurring because they’re so disconnected from each other. In any case, all of the heroes are putting their best fists forward and continuing to be the world-saving champions everyone loves (or hates).

Beginning with an immediately hard-hitting scene, there’s no time for the narrative to slow down: the fight isn’t coming — it’s here and there’s nowhere to hide. There are numerous clashes of varying size that are gradually leading up to the main confrontation; but Thanos isn’t a sit-back-and-watch kind of guy, so he’s out there doing his part to further his own goal. Two hours later, part one of this spectacular journey is coming to a close and after a few jaw-dropping scenes they go for a shocking mic drop. But they may have gone a touch too far, softening the impact of what should have been an earth-shattering conclusion. There’s definitely an effort to pull at audience’s heartstrings, but in the context even if it’s effective it feels a little manipulative.

Still, that’s the most egregious complaint (if you don’t count not playing “Immigrant Song” during Thor’s epic entrance) in a two-and-a-half-hour movie that pulls together more characters than has ever been attempted. The Russo Brothers accomplish something significant with this film and the concluding chapter should be equally satisfying — and likely disappointing because a movie of this scale can’t please everyone. And while it appears they may have forgotten the now sacred post-credit sequences, not to worry — they’ve simply foregone a mid-credit sequence for a high-impact post-credit scene.

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And I can say nothing else on the matter.

Directors: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo

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