Avengers: Infinity War movie poster
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Avengers: Infinity War
Avengers: Infinity War movie poster

Avengers: Infinity War Movie Review

Available on Blu-ray and DVD on August 14, 2018 (Buy on Amazon)

Action-packed, exciting and surprisingly dark, Avengers: Infinity War exceeds expectations. Directors Anthony and Joe Russo somehow manage to effectively intertwine dozens of characters spread across the universe and have assembled a slick, explosive, and epic showdown.

Too bad it’s only half a movie.

The Russo brothers (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) make up for the disappointing Avengers: Age of Ultron by finally offering up what many Marvel movies have lacked: a legitimately frightening villain. Thanos (Josh Brolin) could have easily been yet another world-conquering, one-dimensional monster, but he proves to be a three dimensional (well, as much as a CGI-animated purple guy who wants to wipe out half the life in the universe—yes, only half) baddie with clear motivation, some semblance of a back story, and a truly intimidating how-the-hell-are-they-going-to-beat-him presence.

Well written by Marvel alums Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, Avengers: Infinity War efficiently shifts from one exciting battle sequence to the next, with Thanos slowly marching toward Earth. The first scene proves that the Russos are willing to kill off big characters, and others fall by the wayside throughout the film’s 2:30 running time. It’s constantly exciting and boasts many well-staged action sequences, though the movie probably could have shed a few CGI fights and been just fine.

Most impressive is how the filmmakers adequately involve most of the Marvel characters who have been introduced over the last ten years. I tend to prefer standalone comic book stories for a variety of reasons, but the Russos make the most of smashing various characters together in clever ways that feel neither forced nor unnecessary.

As expected, the Guardians of the Galaxy crew steal the show by injecting more energy and charisma than many of the traditional characters combined. On the flip side, Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Strange appears to be completely out of his element.

As good as it is, Avengers: Infinity War can’t quite escape its Marvel tropes—most notably, the stakes aren’t quite as high as they first appear. While the Russos do a good job of maintaining a constant sense of tension and foreboding—something that has alluded many other Marvel movies, no matter how entertaining—the film’s cliffhanger conclusion and the presence of Dr. Strange leaves no question that much of what happened here will be erased in future movies.

It’s a standard comic book cheat that doesn’t work as well on the big screen. It’s pretty annoying to sit through two and a half hours of fight scenes only to discover the story is incomplete.

Even with that, there’s no denying that Avengers: Infinity War is a thrilling, epic clash of titans that exceeds expectations and deserves the billions of dollars it will earn over the course of 2018.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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