I’m told if I spoil anything in this review that the wrath of Disney/Marvel will be upon me. And since that’s far more terrifying than the wrath of Thanos, I will do my best.
You’ve waited 10 years and sat through 18 films to get here — the culmination of all things Marvel Studios set in motion with the release of “Iron Man” in 2008. Does it live up to the hype? Only you can be the judge of that. I will say that it is an epic film: epic in scope, epic in dramatic heft, epic in cast and special effects — it’s a big deal.
Thanos (James Brolin) has been tormenting our heroes in behind-the-scenes fashion since the end credits of the first Avengers movie back in 2012. Now he’s taken center stage, gathering up the six all-powerful Infinity Stones so that he can bring balance to the universe by killing off half of the population.
As villain motivations go, it seems a bit dodgy. I prefer the comic book version, but I guess someone thought Madman who has an issue with overpopulation was a better sell. Brolin delivers a strong presence to the character and gives him the weight he needs to carry the film.
When the film opens he’s three stones short of a gauntlet, so to complete the set he and his stooges are going to have to go through the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Dr. Strange, the Black Panther and Spider-Man. It may not be as hard as it sounds.
Directors Anthony and Joe Russo took on the unenviable task of bringing together 19 superheroes, various supporting cast, 1 big bad and his crew, and pulling together a coherent, compelling story. Obviously not everyone gets equal time and the usual suspects get the lion’s share, but the Russos still manage to capture the voice and unique characteristics of each player. I’d list them all but you know who they are and I’d get carpal tunnel syndrome if I had to type every name.
All your trademark Marvel tics are here. Although the humor is downplayed for the most part there is still plenty of comic moments. Of course it all comes to a climax in an overblown orgy of fighting and special effects. Like always.
But the characters remain the centerpiece of these films and there are plenty of hefty emotional beats that get hit. “Infinity War” is a 2-and-a-half-hour roller-coaster ride with few moments to stop and catch your breath.
So strap in. You’ve waited a long time for this.