Similar to Thanos finally descending into the fray of action in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, the first reviews for Avengers: Infinity War have been released. And either Marvel's using actual Mind Gems to sway critics, or this film is one of — if not the best — comic book movies yet.
Of course, not all critics are singing praise in harmony, as one took their review as an opportunity to lash out at how this is less of a movie (it wasn't made to be seen on its own) and more of a cog in a giant corporate machine. Here's what the critics are saying about Avengers: Infinity War.
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Over at The Verge, Bryan Bishop relieves concerns about how well the villain Thanos comes to life.
"The film’s sparkling sense of humor balances the weight of Thanos’ actions. Marvel’s films have always had a flair for comedy, but Infinity War turns the dial up further, maximizing the levity found in movies like Thor: Ragnarok and Guardians of the Galaxy."
"Even with all of that, this film belongs to Josh Brolin’s Thanos. The prospect of a giant purple computer-generated bad guy has prompted some skepticism, but in context, the character is wonderfully effective."
"The action sequences are mostly effective, but at times, there are so many characters being flung around like CG rag dolls that it can be hard to gauge what is happening to whom, in which order."
"One problem, though, is that Infinity War leans so excessively toward darkness that it’s impossible to believe the studio won’t take back many of the things that happen onscreen."
At USA Today (opens in new tab), Brian Truitt slathers praise (and zero complaints) upon Infinity War, noting the difficulty curve for such a mammoth undertaking.
"It could have been an unholy mess, but with directors Anthony and Joe Russo at the helm, Infinity War is instead a glorious, multilayered and clever comic-book adventure with loads of emotional stakes and a perfect foe for Earth’s mightiest heroes."
"It’s kind of a miracle but every personality in this super-smorgasbord gets at least one meaningful character moment — nobody gets left behind in the storytelling. Downey and Cumberbatch are great playing off each other as quippy egotists, Hemsworth and Evans are just a blast to watch as original Avengers, and the Guardians especially are essential to the core narrative."
"Like Michael B. Jordan’s exceptional Killmonger in Black Panther, Thanos offers a level of human depth (thanks to Brolin) that elevates the entire movie: Instead of being a crazy fanatic killing everything in sight, there’s pathos and understanding to his mission, though you still want him to get punched really hard in the face."
The New York Times
If you're wondering if anyone has as much disdain for Infinity War as Thanos has for the humans he looks to wipe away, read A.O. Scott's review in The New York Times, where he throws a bucket of cold water on all the fan fun.
"There is so much to explain, but basically a large purple fellow named Thanos (Josh Brolin) wants, on vague Malthusian principles, to wipe out half the life in the universe. As you try to keep track of all the good guys massed against him, you may decide he has a point. But he’s not a bad villain. I mean, he’s very bad, but his malevolence is laced with melancholy, and there is a ghastly grandeur to his ambition."
"Considered on its own, as a single, nearly 2-hour-40-minute movie, Avengers: Infinity War makes very little sense, apart from the near convergence of its title and its running time."
"This synergistic expression of the corporate interests of Marvel Studios and the Walt Disney Company — which now include 19 feature films and much else besides — has come to be less a creative or commercial undertaking than an immutable fact of life, like sex or the weather or capitalism itself."
"The action is especially tedious and predictable. I mean both the scenes of fighting and flying and the overall rhythm of the first two hours or so. People talk for a while, sprinkling jokes and morsels of personality into the heavy dough of exposition. Then they fight in the usual way, by throwing giant objects (and one another) and shooting waves of color from their hands."
Peter Bradshaw's review for The Guardian is entirely positive, complimenting the the movie's nimble script, and sheer amount of fun.
"Avengers: Infinity War is a giant battle for which directors Anthony and Joe Russo have given us touches of JRR Tolkien’s Return of the King and JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The film delivers the sugar-rush of spectacle and some very amusing one-liners."
"This Marvel movie shows its brand identity in the adroit management of tone. One moment it’s tragic, the next, it’s cracking wise. It’s absurd and yet persuades you of its overwhelming seriousness. And there are some amazing Saturday-morning-kids-show moments when you feel like cheering."
"In theory, all these superheroes crammed into one movie should trigger the law of diminishing returns and the Traveling Wilbury effect. And yet somehow in its pure uproariousness, it works. It’s just a supremely watchable film, utterly confident in its self-created malleable mythology. And confident also in the note of apocalyptic darkness."
At Entertainment Weekly, Chris Nashawaty dances around spoilers with praise, back-handed compliments and a complaint about the film's lack of cohesion.
"For the most part, this super-sized mash-up works better than you’d expect."
"What saves Infinity War from being just another bloated supergroup tour – and what will end up being the thing that blows fans’ minds to dust – is the film’s final stretch."
"Marvel is sitting on such an embarrassment of riches with its deep bench of characters, that some don’t have much more to do than act as glorified extras. But restraint hasn’t ever exactly been part of the studio’s M.O. Too many of the characters seem to be fighting over too little to do. But that’s what happens when you’re making movies on a canvas this vast."
"It ends up feeling a bit too disjointed – like we’re flipping the channels between four different movies instead of watching one cohesive one."
Credit: Marvel Studios/Marvel.com