‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is packed with action

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After ten years of movies in the Marvel Universe, we are finally at the end, kinda. Part Two will be released in 2019. So, next year’s finale will bring a conclusion to the first nineteen Marvel blockbusters, kinda. There are thirteen more Marvel movies currently in various stages of production. Other than that, this is it!

“Avengers: Infinity War” features a cavalcade of stars and two and half hours of SFX (traditional props) and VFX (digitally created) non-stop action. With 64 main characters in this ambitious action opera, this overstuffed saga is more of a parade than a movie. It’s an epic spectacle that is exhilarating, bombastic and exhausting.

As the Avengers continue to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, a new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows that threaten the entire Universe. Thanos (Josh Brolin) is the most devastating creature in the Universe. In search of the six Infinity Stones, he is an intergalactic authoritarian planning to annihilate half the world’s ever-increasing population.

Thanos’ goal is to collect the six elemental crystals of red, blue, yellow, purple, orange and green, representing reality, space, mind, power, time and soul. Each artifact contains unimaginable power, but together, Thanos could be omnipotent. The Avengers, who have experienced a deep rift, must unite against this intergalactic despot.

Everything the Avengers have fought for has led to this moment. The fate of Earth and its existence itself has never been more uncertain. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Captain America (Chris Evans) lead the team from earth, while Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) lead from space.

Star-Lord asks Iron-Man, “I’m gonna ask you this one time, where is Gamora?” Iron-Man responds, “I’ll do you one better, who is Gamora?” Dim-witted Drax offers, “I’ll do you one better, why is Gamora?” Later, Thanos tells the Avengers, “In time, you will know what it’s like to lose, to feel so desperately that you’re right, yet to fail all the same. When I’m done, half of humanity will still exist, perfectly balanced, as all things should be.”

Brothers Anthony and Joe Russo (“Captain America” series), take over from Joss Whedon, who directed the first two “Avengers” movies. They effectively marshal this enormous and gifted cast (with eight Oscar nominees) so that each gets his or her time to shine in what has become the longest and most compelling Marvel blockbuster.

Other strong performances are from Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Strange, Mark Ruffalo as Hulk, Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther and Tom Holland as Spider-Man. Yet other notable enactments in this “cast of thousands” come from Zoe Saldana, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle and Tom Hiddleston.

Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans appear in their roles for the ninth time each, tying them with Hugh Jackman for his Wolverine. For those keeping score, this is Chapter Seven of Phase Three of the MCU. This movie is dark, thrilling and preposterous. There are more smackdowns than a WWE championship. The first trailer for this movie received a record two hundred million views in the first twenty-four hours.

“Avengers: Infinity Wars” is 149 minutes and rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language and crude references. This grand finale and next year’s grand-grand finale were filmed back to back. This series has collectively grossed over $15 billion globally, making it the highest grossing film franchise of all time.

This is the most action-packed, star-studded spectacle ever, but not necessarily quantity over quality. Yet, it is not inconsistent to say other Marvel features are more enjoyable. The extended running time goes fairly quickly due to the thrill meter relentlessly pegging at ten. There is no pacing, no subtleties, so our only suggestion is one word: Dynamics! Anytime there was a brief lull, we knew one thing, “Stuffs gonna ‘splode.”

Ron’s Rating: B+
Leigh’s Rating: B+

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Ron & Leigh Martel