Note: This is a spoiler-free review, but it does reveal some vague details about the film's plot. Read at your own risk.
In 2011, "Game of Thrones" hero Ned Stark knelt before the diabolical King Joffrey, facing execution.
Everyone thought he would make it, somehow. Somehow he would get out of this. He's the protagonist, after all. But he didn’t. And the story went on, with even more protagonists dying along the way. That episode transformed what television could do, and the stakes "Game of Thrones" established within its first nine episodes made it great.
Now, “Infinity War” has done this for blockbuster movies.
Like “Game of Thrones,” the stakes feel real (and Peter Dinklage is in it). Anyone can die at any time, which gives the movie an edge-of-your-seat feel that will fill you with a cold sweat from the anxiety that builds and builds with every scene. It is masterful storytelling, seamlessly weaving dozens of heroes together while introducing new characters. It’s clever, traumatic, funny, and thrilling. And it’s so action-packed that you’ll probably only notice the 2-hour-and-40-minute running time if you made the mistake of getting a large drink.
The story, which starts very much in the middle of things, follows Thanos as he searches for the Infinity Stones he needs in order to wipe out half the universe. It seems like a strange goal: Most villains just want to destroy a planet (see: “Star Wars”) or rule the entire universe. But with more context about who Thanos is, and why he wants to bring this balance to the universe, it makes sense — and makes him one of the best villains in the MCU so far. While Thanos and his henchmen hunt for the remaining stones, the Avengers — split into various unconventional but hilarious pairings — try to stop them. These pairings provide very necessary relief from the intense action, drama, and devastation in the movie.
If you think you don't care about any of these characters, that will change once you see “Infinity War.” “Infinity War” makes you feel things you never thought you would watching a studio movie. It also has some incredible performances from Josh Brolin (Thanos), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), and Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange).
Before you see “Infinity War,” punt all of your expectations and predictions into a distant ocean for Aquaman to borrow for the next “Justice League” movie. Then be prepared to get your heart ripped out. There have been a lot of predictions surrounding “Infinity War,” and while a few are spot on, it goes so far beyond what anyone has imagined.
“Infinity War” is wildly well-written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and the Russo Brothers prove they’re the only people right for the job of directing it. Not only do they know and love these characters, they also love all of the movies that have led to this one for the past decade. The Russos have taken what people loved about “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Black Panther” and combined it into one movie. Themes of sacrifice and family make Thanos a terrifying (and very big) combination of great villains like Killmonger and Loki. But those two movies don’t have devastating consequences that will leave you wondering where the heck the story goes from here.