Avengers: Infinity War Review Round-Up: A Funny, Surprising And Dark Expansion Of The MCU

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Destiny has arrived for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it seems Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are up to the task.

Three days out from the launch of Avengers: Infinity War, Marvel Studios has officially opened the floodgates to a sea of positivity (and a few measured criticisms) now that the review embargo has lifted.

And to keep you up to speed, we’ve cherry-picked a sample that is totally free of spoilers, and the overriding consensus appears to be that, yes, Infinity War has somehow – almost inexplicably – delivered on its sky-high expectations. There are a handful of issues, of course, but nothing too terrible.

In short: Infinity War stills feel like the opening chapter of a two-part saga, and that’s a recurring theme all throughout this consensus. Because with Avengers 4 on the horizon, it seems Joe and Anthony Russo have left things on a pretty big cliffhanger. So let’s just say the wait until 2019 will be a long one.

Here’s a collection of those reviews, beginning with our own:

WGTC: Avengers: Infinity War cares a bit too much about being “Part 1” and holding enough development for “Part 2,” but MCU fans should see their 10-year buildup expectations met – not exceeded, but met.

CBM: Marvel Studios has never produced a film quite like Avengers: Infinity War – and you’ll find out why when you see it! Some will undoubtedly hail it as the greatest superhero movie of all time, and while that’s obviously debatable, there’s no doubt that The Russos have delivered on 10 years of build-up and next-level anticipation. Avoid the spoilers, and you’re in for quite a ride.

Variety: Of all the things that have ever happened in an MCU movie, there will be much chatter about the ending of “Infinity War.” It is dark and spooky and, in its way, chancy and shocking. Do any of our beloved characters die? Well, yes. But, in fact, the ending is so audacious that you realize it’s all an elaborate card trick. Despite what it shows us, these movies are rarely about more leading to less. Count on the sequel — due one year from now — to demonstrate that more, in the MCU, will lead only to more.

EW: Let’s be clear, Infinity War is a movie for the fans. Especially those who’ve spent any time wondering what it would be like to witness Chris Hemsworth’s Thor wisecracking with Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord, or tagging along with some of the Avengers as they hightail it to Wakanda (the arrival there got a rousing wave of applause at my screening). It’s the Marvel equivalent of watching the old “We Are the World” video (Hey, it’s Bob Dylan singing between to Cyndi Lauper and Huey Lewis!). And for the most part, this super-sized mash-up works better than you’d expect.

The overwhelmingly positive round-up continues below:

IGN: Using the strength of its powerful and interesting villain to set the stakes higher than ever, Avengers: Infinity War successfully brings together the past 10 years of Marvel movies into a largely effective cocktail of super-heroic dramatics. The fact that it manages to give nearly every member of its admittedly overstuffed cast at least a moment to shine is its greatest feat. Sure, it ends on a cliffhanger, but those final moments elevate the entire series in a poetic, if horrific, coup de grace.

THR: With so many ingredients to stir into this overflowing pot, you have to hand it to the two experienced teams of Marvel collaborators who had a feel for how to pull this magnum opus off. Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely wrote all three Captain America entries and have a deft, jokey, sometimes glib touch that spreads the humor around and prevents this long film from ever getting stodgy. Brothers Anthony and Joe Russo directed the last two Captain America features and have a breezy approach that prevents the action here from sagging in any serious ways.

Vox: But also as in comic books, there’s one absolute bombshell of a moment that grabs you by the neck and drives you back into the story. Infinity War boasts the most breathtaking, audacious moment in superhero movie history, one that rocketed through my brain and tore apart everything I thought I knew about the past 10 years of Marvel moviemaking. For the first time in a while, I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Polygon: Overall, however, Infinity War lands the vast majority of the emotional beats it’s reaching for, which is why we’re here anyway. There are some tremendous surprises in store for viewers, and I’m not just talking about Peter Dinklage’s secret role, although it’s a wonderful one. The Russos play expertly in a sandbox that’s already chock full of castles built from 10 years of fan theories, speculation and even complete fiction about what might happen when Rocket Raccoon meets [SPOILER], or [SPOILER] meets Iron Man.

However, other outlets were less impressed, with Forbes, in particular, labeling Avengers: Infinity War as “half a movie” in need of a little polish:

Forbes: Avengers: Infinity War may be the biggest Marvel Cinematic Universe thus far, it is nowhere near the best. It is esssentially set-up for whatever comes next year. But it works as big-scale entertainment. And, come what may, I’m willing to presume that the Russos are merely table-setting a finale for the ages.

Digital Spy: It’s epic, sure, but if anything it’s too epic. The characters are too many, the action too massive, the stakes too high, the players too powerful. And at times, it’s like watching dominoes fall down – you can sit and watch, and enjoy the spectacle and the technical proficiency, but you know exactly where they’re going to land in the end.

Los Angeles Times: Not even the threat of universal annihilation, it seems, will keep this assembly line from chugging ahead with its signature polished, mechanized efficiency.

TIME: There’s no pacing in Avengers: Infinity War. It’s all sensation and no pulse. Everything is big, all of the time.

All in all, it’s not exactly a slam dunk. But at this stage in the game, it feels as though Avengers: Infinity War is too big to fail – and apparently too big to spoil – and with industry analysts now predicting a global opening weekend in the region of $498 million, there’s really no telling how high Marvel’s epic can climb.

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