If you remember my Black Panther review earlier this year, I'm not exactly hugely involved in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

So why did I go see Avengers: Infinity War?

Well, beyond the fact that it's the only movie opening in wide release this week, it did draw me in with its promises. The franchise has been building up to this movie for literally a decade; this isn't just a movie, it's an event, the culmination of billions of dollars of work and profit. It would be kind of silly for me not to see a movie this significant.

But what did I think of it? Well, it's complicated.

Avengers: Infinity War deals with the rise of Thanos(Josh Brolin, through very good motion capture), an extraterrestrial being that has the goal of collecting six primordial, extremely powerful objects known as Infinity Stones, that give their bearer control over their attribute: the stones are Power, Space, Reality, Time, Soul, and Mind. We have seen these stones throughout the various MCU films; for example, the Space Stone was in the Tesseract we saw so often, while Doctor Strange is the guardian of the Time Stone.

With the power of the Infinity Stones, Thanos plans to eliminate exactly half of all life in the universe, in order to achieve his goal of balance; he believes that with finite resources, its "mercy" to do so, and he believes his actions are not only positive, but morally required.

Of course, the Avengers can't allow that to happen, so they team up and get the help of a truly staggering number of heroes to deal with the problem. Captain America, The Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, The Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, Black Panther; they are all there and more.

Marvel Entertainment via YouTube
Marvel Entertainment via YouTube

Infinity War goes on an action-packed romp once the fiction is laid out, and it really is quite enjoyable. I love stories that are told on an intergalactic and even universal scale, and this movie has that in spades. We see Thanos going to bizarre landscapes to achieve his goals, and it's a treat for the eyes and the mind. The concept of the Infinity Stones as well is right up my alley.

The action in the film is fun as well, although at times it does suffer from that same Marvel problem of fight scenes being filmed in the dark or with weird angles, so you have trouble determining who is doing what.

Plot wise? I'm not going to get too deep into. Obviously, I don't want to spoil the film for die-hard MCU fans, and for those of you who don't know much of the lore it would be confusing for me to lay it out. I will say though, they absolutely should have stuck a "Part 1" at the end of this movie's title. I knew that going in this was going to be the first half of a larger story, but I don't know how many other audience members knew that; in a packed theater, I heard at least a few people say "is that it?" since the story ends on such a downer note.

I do appreciate that they cut this story into two films, though, since Avengers: Infinity War is already incredibly, almost prohibitively long. At 2 hours 40 minutes, you'll probably be needing a bathroom break if you're guzzling soda. Luckily, though, this isn't a film that drags on; I didn't notice the time passing, because so much was happening.

Marvel Entertainment via YouTube
Marvel Entertainment via YouTube

I don't want to get to deep into the acting either, because there are just too many actors to discuss; I will say, they all do a really good job, and I particularly appreciated Tom Holland as Peter Parker, Elizabeth Olsen as the Scarlet Witch, and Zoe Saldana as Gamora.

However, by far the best performance of this film was given by Josh Brolin, in his portrayal of Thanos. Even though it has "Avengers" in the title, this movie is definitely about Thanos and his actions and motivations. I absolutely did not expect Thanos to be a sympathetic character, but they made him so, and I attribute that to Brolin's acting skill in part. There is one scene in particular that simultaneously made me feel dread, sympathy, anger and loss at the same time, and I say this as someone not really invested in the universe of the franchise. Now THAT is good screenwriting and acting.

Now, the question is; should you see Avengers: Infinity War if you haven't seen all of the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Well, if you haven't seen any of them, or you just saw the original Iron Man and maybe something a bit less important like Ant-Man, I'd say you might want to skip it. You'll probably end up spending some time wondering what's going on, because you don't recognize characters or don't know what the Infinity Stones are.

However, if you've seen a decent amount of them (like I have) or you think you have a semi-formed idea of the fiction behind this film, I absolutely would recommend it. As long as you have a basic understanding of what ties everything together, most of the movie is easy enough to follow.

And what there is to see is a lot of fun! I eagerly await Part 2 of this story next year.

See the trailer for Infinity War below.

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