Early reviews are officially in for the 19th entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Avengers: Infinity War.” The film premiered at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood Monday night, while the film’s wide release is slated for this Friday.
The latest film from Marvel is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, who are no strangers to the franchise, having directed both the Captain America sequels following “The First Avenger” — “Winter Solder” and “Civil War.” “Infinity War” also rides on the coattails of the monumental box office success of “Black Panther.”
Variety’s Owen Gleiberman likens “Infinity War” to “What If Marvel Threw a Superhero Party and Everyone Came?” And despite the fact that the film is “knowingly overstuffed,” Gleiberman further notes that “it’s the first to push to the wall, to the max, to the ultron the notion that the MCU really is a universe: a vast intermeshed thicket of comic-book icons, destined to be an army that’s greater (in theory, at least) than the sum of its parts. If, for decades, the metaphor for propulsive blockbuster filmmaking was the ‘ride,’ then watching ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is like going to a theme park and taking three spins on every ride there.”
The second installment of “Infinity War” is set to hit theaters May 3, 2019. Read below to see what the critics are saying about the latest superhero mash-up.
“So is the movie a jumbled, top-heavy mess of cynical franchise overkill? Sort of like the bloated and chaotic ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ taken to the second power? Far from it. It’s a sleekly witty action opera that’s at once overstuffed and bedazzling. The directors, Anthony and Joe Russo, as they proved in the two ‘Captain America’ sequels, are far more stylish and exacting filmmakers than Joss Whedon, who made the first two ‘Avengers’ films. ‘Infinity War’ is a brashly entertaining jamboree, structured to show off each hero or heroine and give them just enough to do, and to update their mythologies without making it all feel like homework. At the same time, you may begin to lose hold of what made each of these characters, you know, special.”
“Audiences by this point have so much feeling for these characters that the Russos get by with a lot of undistinguished work. People applaud at the first sight of Wakanda, as if cheering its very existence. And while Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa and his marvelous women warriors have nothing particularly novel to do, merely seeing them again so soon (with ‘Black Panther’ still in some multiplexes) is a treat.”
“‘Avengers: Infinity War’ contains the most dramatic cliffhanger of any major blockbuster since ‘The Empire Strikes Back,’ and everything leading up to it is a marathon. After 18 movies and 10 years of Marvel superheroes battling through overlapping plots, sibling directors Anthony and Joe Russo unite nearly every single character for a series of epic showdowns and one giant, universe-shattering threat. It’s a lot more cohesive than ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron,’ and the sprawling, busy ensemble often feels like every Marvel movie engaged in overlapping conversation, like a slow-zoom from the Robert Altman playbook laced with CGI. As a virtuoso juggling act, ‘Infinity War’ has no real parallel in popular culture; as a movie, it’s an impressive montage of greatest hits until the gut punch of a finale.”
“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. There are occasional tonal disparities when you get a smart-aleck character firing off quips next to a stoically straight-faced one like Chris Evans’ Captain America. Even in the real world, if you put a large enough group of people in a room together, all of the different personalities aren’t necessarily going to mesh. Comic book heroes, they’re just like us!”
“Marvel has set the hype bar high even by its standards with ‘Avengers: Infinity War,’ a massive assembly of practically every hero in its cinematic portfolio, representing the culmination of a decade’s worth of groundwork. As sheer spectacle the movie amply delivers, hitting the ground running (and punching and leaping), in a gigantic enterprise that colorfully unfolds simultaneously on multiple fronts.”
“The story will conclude next year with a part-two film, which gives ‘Infinity War’ a slightly unsatisfying tang. Still, I appreciate the film’s move toward something concrete, inching us closer to a time when at least some of these stories will be complete. I don’t necessarily wish death upon any of these (largely resurrectable) gods and aliens and souped-up humans, but the faint sense of impending finality hanging in ‘Infinity War’s’ air is refreshing.”
“The long-awaited face-off between the Avengers and Thanos (Josh Brolin), the MCU’s ultimate big bad, is massively entertaining, deftly incorporating dozens of characters across multiple storylines with a kinetic flair. Its devotion to banter and one-liners makes it one of the funniest movies in the studio’s history, but it’s also a film where very bad things happen to good people. After years of movies where even the most mediocre heroes appeared to be invulnerable and indomitable, it’s an arresting jolt — and exactly the film the franchise needed.”
“Considered on its own, as a single, nearly 2-hour-40-minute movie, ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ makes very little sense, apart from the near convergence of its title and its running time. Early on, someone menacingly (and presciently) says, ‘You may think this is suffering. No: It’s salvation.’ That’s a bit overstated either way. It’s puzzlement and irritation and also, yes, delight. But of course this film, the 19th installment in a series, was never meant to be viewed or judged in isolation. In that respect it shouldn’t really be thought of as a movie at all, at least in the ways people with jobs like mine are accustomed to using the word. Which poses a few difficulties, for me and also, I would argue, for you.
“‘Avengers: Infinity War’ feels like a Marvel movie on bath salts. Trying to describe any part of it alone will make you sound like you’ve lost your mind; trying to describe it all kind of makes it sound like it’s lost its mind. And it’s all the more confounding for how closely it mirrors its decade of movie predecessors only to end up shattering that mirror: ‘Infinity War’ moves, sounds, and acts like a typical Marvel movie, but then unmasks itself as a creature distinctly its own.”