Avengers: Infinity War

“Avengers: Infinity War” proves that Marvel still knows how to make new and exciting changes to the blockbuster comic book movie formula.

The film, directed by the duo of Anthony and Joseph Russo, is the first film in the entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that feels like it actually has stakes.

The entire MCU has been building towards a confrontation with Thanos [Josh Brolin], a intergalactic warlord determined to obtain all six infinity stones, since the end-credit scene of the first “The Avengers” film, and “Avengers: Infinity War” doesn’t disappoint.

Within the first five minutes of the movie, it’s undeniably clear what kind of threat the universe is up against. It’s impossible to explain how it’s clear without giving away a major spoiler, but you’ll know

Thanos plays the first villain in the MCU who seems unbeatable. From the moment the film begins, we’re shown that the Avengers, the earth’s mightiest heroes, are defeatable. For once in the modern comic book movie genre, it’s not clear if the heroes are actually going to succeed.

Somehow, the Russo brothers, who have previously directed “Captain America: Winter Soldier” and “Captain America: Civil War,” manage to not only bring a sense of scale and danger to the film, they do it while somehow wrangling one of the largest action movie ensembles in recent history. It shouldn’t be a huge surprise that the guys who directed a lot of “Arrested Development” were able to fit a large cast together to great success, but this movie is somehow the best showing of a superhero team in movies yet, even with triple the cast size of its predecessors.

At 2 hours and 40 minutes, “Infinity War” is also the longest movie in the MCU, but every minute of it feels necessary. The movie is lengthy, but remains fast-paced and tense throughout. Every character, from old favorites like Iron Man [Robert Downey Jr.] and Captain America [Chris Evans] to the new faces of Spider-Man [Tom Holland] and Black Panther [Chadwick Boseman], get their fair share of screen time.

There’s even a fair amount of new development with other characters who have previously been relegated as side characters, like Scarlet Witch [Elizabeth Olsen] and Vision [Paul Bettany].

Despite being one of the most serious comic book movies of the past decade, the film manages to find plenty of space for jokes. However, unlike “Guardians of the Galaxy” or “Thor: Ragnarok,” the tension in the plot makes the comedy fall a little more flat — in a good way.

The humor in “Infinity War” serves to break the tension, but it’s often unable to actually do it. It frames comedy-centric characters like Spider-Man’s quips in a new light that aligns more with source material from the comics.

Our heroes are making jokes because sometimes that’s what you have to do in the face of something unspeakably awful.

While the first “Avengers” sequel, “Age of Ultron” didn’t set the world on fire, Marvel has set the bar for the gold standard of comic book movies again with “Infinity War.”

The movie doesn’t require a complete knowledge of the MCU, but the movie is definitely enhanced by it.

With that said, if you’re even slightly interested in Marvel’s movies, this is a must see. Get to a theater and watch it before it gets spoiled for you.

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