MOVIE REVIEW

Count On Your Friends: A review of "Avengers: Infinity War"

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The Marvel Universe of films expands by one with the release of "Avengers: Infinity War." It's a difficult film to review because, as all the pre-release advertising states, "Thanos demands your silence." So how in the world am I supposed to tell you what this Avengers film is about?

A historic battle is about to take place. Thanos (Josh Brolin) is not just coming; he is here, and he is after the six Infinity Stones. If he gets them, he will unleash chaos on Earth. But our favorite Avengers, both old and new alike, will try to save the day. And against the formidable opponent that is Thanos, every last one of them will be needed if Earth is to survive.

And that is the extent of plot summary I'll give you. I don't want to give away too much, and quite frankly you aren't reading this review for a recap — you'll see the film yourself. However, you may be interested in what I thought of what I witnessed onscreen — so let's get to that, shall we?

It's important for readers to know where I stand on Marvel movies in general — I love them and think they have reinvented the genre and raised the bar the way Pixar did with animated offerings. We need more than just special effects in a superhero offering. We want a solid narrative that takes us on a journey when the lights go down. The story arc throughout the Marvel offerings delivers something unique that is an amazingly woven tapestry interlacing multiple stories into the entirety of the universe.

Expect to see pretty much the entire arsenal of characters (with a couple that are just mentioned but not seen). Yes, there is major screen time for Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Captain America (Chris Evans), but this is a film dominated by Thanos on his journey to collect the Infinity Stones.

As with any movie with such a large number of stars, finding screen time is challenging at best and frustrating at worst. It felt like a constant struggle to balance the fact that every single one of the Avengers is needed to fight Thanos but very few can ultimately shine in a film given time limitations to tell this story. And that is where the film has a solid hiccup. The story is ultimately part of the bigger tale and thus feels a bit never-ending. Action-packed throughout, "Infinity War" never feels like it drags, but the ending feels like a pause in the action. Could this mean big things for future movies in the Marvel Universe?

"Avengers: Infinity War" is a dizzying tale that proves to be a substantive addition to the landscape.

If you haven't seen the earlier cache of films, you might want to check them out. Although the story can stand on its own, the relationships and interactions between characters are eminently more satisfying if you have experienced some of the background. There is a post-credits scene in the film. Only one, and it is at the end of the credit roll — it is worth it to see!

While I enjoyed my new excursion with the Avengers, I believe it will take two or three viewings to absorb all that is here. That'll be just enough time to get us to the next Avengers film due to kick off summer at the box office in 2019 — and after this one ends, you'll know there is much more of the story to be told.

Don't give secrets away — I'm confident I didn't here. See it twice and put out a call to your friends. As with the Avengers, we need to count on our friends, both new and old, to get us through the challenges that are put in front of us.

Paul's Grade: A-


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