Epic doesn't even begin to describe it.
Before you read any further, it is important that you understand something. While this is a spoiler free review, it is almost impossible to speak about this movie without hinting at plotlines and character interactions. Don't worry, nothing major will be revealed below, but as an avid comic book collector and Marvel fan, I thought that I should at least warn you. The best way to walk into Avengers: Infinity War is without even a tiny bit of inkling of what might happen. The Russo Brothers did an amazing job keeping almost the entire cast in the dark, as well as the press, until the Hollywood screening of the film, and it is easy to see why. Once again, while there are no spoilers below, the warning still stands. Thanos demands your silence.
First and foremost, this is Thanos' story. Directors Anthony and Joe Russo stated as much months ago, but after watching the film, their words became that much more potent. Avengers: Infinity War succeeds for the same reasons it fails. It plays like a comic book. For those, like myself, that read major comic book crossover events, you will follow the plot easily. Large crossover events usually feature so many characters, that no one character really has a moment to shine. Several planets are introduced or visited rapidly. Everything moves so fast that it feels like an actual roller coaster. That is pretty much the best way to describe this film.
Thanos is the main character in every sense of the word. He has the most screen time, the most lines, and the most fulfilling story arc. His past is explored, and viewers will be treated to a villain whose motives to destroy half the galaxy actually make sense. Too many Marvel villains want domination of the world or the galaxy, but Thanos does not want to rule. Instead, he wishes to be the curator of peace. His motives are driven by a personal story that forces him to believe that the universe is overrun and there needs to be a mass culling in order to achieve balance.
If Thanos is the main character, then Iron Man, Gamora, Thor, and Doctor Strange would be the supporting cast members. They are the only characters allocated any real screen time, especially Robert Downey Jr.'s cocky yet tortured genius. While that may seem disappointing to some, it makes sense. Iron Man kick started this whole thing in 2008. Gamora is Thanos' daughter (which is probably the most intriguing relationship in the film). Thor is a God and has the best chance of actually defeating the Mad Titan. Doctor Strange wields possibly the most important Infinity Stone. Much like in the comics, all the other heroes are mostly around for amazing action sequences.
If you love Captain America and want to see more of Chris Evans, or if Black Panther was your favorite superhero ever, you might feel a little letdown. Both heroes have less than a full page of lines in the entire film. Same goes for Black Widow, Falcon, War Machine, Hulk, and the rest of the Avengers. While some heroes do have some funny one-liners and important roles to play in the overall story, this really is Thanos' movie.
Avengers: Infinity War plays like most Marvel films with the humor, although there is much more death than any other film in the MCU to date. Everything that has been revealed in the trailers, and everything that has carefully not been included, was planned that way. If you didn't see someone in any of the promos for the film, there's a reason. If you saw too much of one character in the promos, there's a reason.
Once again, this movie is epic in every way, but it plays like a comic book crossover event reads; most of the heroes are glazed over to help propel the bigger picture, and by the end of the film, you'll be wondering where the hell the franchise can go from here.Stick around after the credits (of course) for the best hint at what is to come next, but honestly, the next step for the Avengers is really up in the air. Don't expect anything, and just enjoy the ride. After Black Panther, I'd say that this is the best movie that Marvel has ever put together. I can't wait to see what's next.
Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters this Friday.