Marvel is referring to Avengers: Infinity War as the “biggest crossover event” in movie history and while that statement has led to all sorts of fantastic memes in the months leading up to release, I’d be surprised if it wasn’t true. For those not keeping track, Infinity War is the ninteeenth installment in a franchise that has been going strong for a full decade, featuring a cast that counts dozens of Hollywood A-listers on its roster. Everything in this film, from the production to the story itself, is massive in scale and scope, to the point where it’s hard not to wonder if it’s all too much. Because while both The Avengers and Age of Ultron (and Captain America: Civil War, which was basically an Avengers movie in all but name) have proven that Marvel is capable of delivering on the big team-up epic front, Infinity War is on another level entirely and could very easily have crumpled under the weight of its own lofty ambitions in less capable hands. Fortunately, while Avengers: Infinity War does hit a few snags along the way, it’s ultimately an immensely satisfying conclusion (of sorts) to ten years of universe building that also lays the groundwork for the inevitable next ten years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Though it doesn’t go so far as to include an opening text crawl, Infinity War takes a cue from Star Wars by kicking off in media res — with a space battle no less — as the film picks up just moments after the events of Thor: Ragnarok with the mad titan Thanos assaulting the ship carrying Thor, Loki, Hulk, and the rest of Asgard’s survivors. Skipping any sort of preamble and jumping right into the action ends up being a wise decision on the part of writers/directors Anthony and Joe Russo, the same pair who wrote and directed the two previous Captain America films. The Russos seem to recognize that fans have been patiently waiting years to see Thanos unleashed ever since the Marvel big bad was first teased in the post credits scene of the original Avengers and don’t make fans wait to see what he’s capable of. That’s as much as I’m going to say about the plot, as discussing anything more would be giving too much to way, but needless to say it doesn’t take long for every hero in the galaxy to become aware of Thanos’ plans to acquire all six Infinity Stones and wipe out half of all life in the universe.Marvel Studios