So it’s finally here, and it’s goddamned enormous. Avengers: Infinity War, Marvel’s attempt to put an exploding bow on 10 years of corporate synergy, is a lurching, ungainly colossus of a blockbuster, with far too many characters and storylines stretching across a series of planets that resemble 1970s prog-rock album covers. The thing is, though, while you’re watching it? None of these elements feel like debits. Sometimes, excess hits the spot.
Picking up roughly where Thor: Ragnarok left off, the plot finds bad guy Thanos (a surprisingly nuanced Josh Brolin) assembling a weapon that will wipe out half of the galaxy’s population, and it’s up to every hero in the universe (except Hawkeye) to stop him. No more details will be given, other to say that fans of Dr. Strange and the latest Spider-Man will be very happy, and that Dave Bautista’s turn as Drax the Destroyer continues to be a thing of beauty.
Directors Anthony and Joe Russo deserve a huge amount of credit for simply making sure all of Infinity War’s 5,000 performers hit their marks—but they also find room for most of these characters to get an honest-to-god character moment or two. The Russos aren’t exactly stylists, however, and there’s a flatness to the establishing scenes here that feels similar to Marvel’s first wave of films. A little bit of Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther panache would’ve gone a long way.
But once the action kicks in, the ridiculous scope of this thing takes over and sweeps away any quibbles—particularly during a multi-world final battle that somehow keeps finding new ways to trot out severely cool stuff. (Speaking as a comics fan, the only element missing is a moment where a villain is thwarted by Hostess Fruit Pies.) By the time Infinity War draws to its enigmatic whopper of a close, even viewers feeling burned out by the guys-in-long-underwear genre will find themselves eager for the sequel. Is it next summer yet?
... How about now?