Editor’s note: This review is mostly spoiler-free, but does vaguely discuss plot points. You have been warned.
Avengers: Infinity War is one of the most highly-anticipated films of all time. Few franchises can match what Marvel has accomplished, and fewer still have released movies that rival theirs in terms of popularity and quality. Infinity War was destined to be a box office hit since 2008 when the first Iron Man movie came out—but did it live up to the hype?
In a way it did, and in a way it didn’t.
I’ve enjoyed all of the Marvel movies to date. Black Panther was one of my favorites so far, and I’m still reeling from its release earlier this year. That being said, it makes it an incredibly hard act to follow—even if Infinity War features many of the same characters. The fact that Infinity War also had so many different series and superheroes coming together under one banner meant that the film was already in danger of being overwhelming before it even made it to the big screen. Nonetheless, I was excited.
Avengers: Infinity War has more stars than you can count, and nearly every fan favorite from the past decade of Marvel movies lining its roster. How could anyone not like it?
But when you try to fit numerous people, personalities, and plots into one film, you’re bound to have some conflicts. Infinity War dove right into the story from the start. There was no slow build or gentle warmup—you get action within the first few minutes of the movie. At this point in the MCU, that makes sense. We’re familiar with the characters by now; you don’t need to build them up any further. It did, however, leave me feeling a little whiplashed at times.
Some plot points breezed by at lightspeed, whereas others felt overly drawn out during the two-and-a-half hour movie. When it comes to pacing in film, there has to be some suspension of disbelief as you obviously can’t show everything, but it can be jarring for viewers when there are significant gaps in the timeline.
The fact that so many separate films were coming together under one roof also meant that the scriptwriters had to blend varying tones from across the franchise into one cohesive story. They did an outstanding job, but this also meant that the film ricocheted from humor to sorrow and back to humor again very quickly.
I laughed a lot during the film—which is something I truly enjoy about the MCU—but I also teared up twice. Avengers: Infinity War is certainly an emotional rollercoaster.
When the film ended, I walked away feeling unsatisfied. Even with the post-credits scene, I felt like there should be more to the movie. It’s always hard to do two-part films, and finding an excellent cut off point can be difficult, but I felt like Infinity War could have transitioned more smoothly into the next film.
Additionally, the fact that there are plans for additional Marvel movies in the next phase makes me guess at specific plot points for upcoming movies, including the sequel to Infinity War. While there is no way of knowing for sure, it makes me feel like some of the tension in Avengers: Infinity War has been sucked out of the room—or at least more than if I was going into the theater utterly blind about plans for the rest of the MCU.
That being said, I still really enjoyed the film. At this point, it would be incredibly difficult for Marvel to make a bad movie—or even an average movie. They’ve merely built themselves too big to ever let down fans. But I couldn’t help but feel like something was missing. It’s entirely possible that my brain really, really wants the sequel already, and it will be interesting to sit down and watch both films back to back when that becomes an option.
Overall, Avengers: Infinity War is an incredibly solid film even if it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I’d genuinely be surprised if that majority of Marvel fans didn’t like it, and I’m eager to see where this takes the MCU in the future. There is a huge content roadmap already lined up for future films, so it will be interesting to see how Thanos and Infinity War shape the world of the rest of the franchise.