Avengers Infinity War review: Marvel Studios delivers the biggest film of 2018, one which absolutely delivers on promise – a big, bold stunner that will leave you gasping for breath.

Avengers Infinity War review by Paul Heath.

Avengers Infinity War review
Avengers Infinity War review

When you throw twenty-something plus superheroes, along with a reported budget of close to $300 million at the screen, you had better produce something bloody special. Avengers: Infinity War is perhaps the biggest film of the year, the first of an apparent two-parter which is set to put to bed Marvel Studios’ third phase, and polish off their first, hugely successful ten years quite nicely. The film is culmination of that first decade, one that has made close to $15 billion for Marvel and its parent company Disney, and despite the lofty expectations of this massive ensemble from the brothers Russo, Anthony and Joe (Captain America: Civil War), it’s safe to say each one of them has been met. And then some.

Our spoiler-free Avengers Infinity War review is below.

Avengers Infinity War review
Avengers Infinity War review

What first strikes you about Avengers: Infinity War is its no nonsense approach to getting the action moving. There’s no long prelude – we’re met with the Marvel Studios logo immediately, and then we’re off and running. The film picks up post-Thor: Ragnarok, a time where the Norse God’s ship, carrying former inhabitants of his homeland Asgard, has been infiltrated by the villainous Thanos (Josh Brolin), a figure who has been teased in previous MCU episodes. Thanos is after the full set of Infinity Stones, a cluster of gems which, when all formed in his ‘Infinity Gauntlet’, will allow him take control of the universe, and have the ability to wipe it out. The stones are scattered across the galaxy, a plot device allowing the story to unite our superheroes in one gargantuan episode. On Earth, Tony Stark/ Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), has united with Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange, who has been alerted to the fact that ‘Thanos is coming’. They’re in New York City, the jump-off location from where this cinematic dynamo begins to gain its momentum.

Related: Captain America: Civil War review

Strange is the holder of the Time stone, so he knows he’s in danger of a visit from the dark overlord sometime soon. Meanwhile, Thor has found the Guardians of The Galaxy, who have their own problems – their own Gamora (Zoe Saldana) being the step-daughter to the rogue Thanos, and a key to another of the priceless gems that he seeks. Then there’s Paul Bettany’s Vision, holder of the mind stone, and Scarlett Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), a couple holed up in Edinburgh, Scotland of all places, the pair seemingly out of the loop as the viciously evil children of Thanos (who are again, really bloody frightening) descend upon the city to take hold of the gem.

There are various plot points that start to unravel which slowly start to bring our heroes closer together, all of them having to work together to protect the universe. Everyone – including the likes of Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Steve Rogers/ Captain America (Chris Evans), Bruce Banner/ Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) et al, are all brought into the mix, each one having a key influence of proceedings, and the mighty feat of stopping Thanos’ unrelenting destruction of everything that gets in his path and he strives to collect those six precious Infinity Stones.

Avengers Infinity War review
Avengers Infinity War review

We’ve obviously skirted around the plot in an attempt to avoid spoilers and surprises, of which there are many during the 160-minute running time of this intense ride. First off, we must bow to the villain of the piece, and the performance of Josh Brolin in the motion-captured role of Thanos. He’s obviously the character that ties everything together, and his performance is both menacing and frightening, absolutely one of the scariest villains we’ve seen in a mainstream blockbuster – one with constant threat and foreboding menace always present. Other stand-outs are Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange, a character that also has a lot to do here, and also Saldana’s Gamora, who is surprisingly absolutely key to the movie’s plot, and one who is given oodles of screen time to develop even further.

There’s also wonderful pairings – Chris Hemsworth’s Thor and Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill/ Star Lord facing up to one another – two alpha males with big egos colliding in one of the film’s stand-out scenes, and also Downey Jr’s Tony Stark and Cumberbatch’s Strange interacting throughout proceedings as the New York contingent, as well as Tom Holland’s Peter Parker/ Spider-Man hitching a ride during their scenes too.

Related: Black Panther review

Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow and Black Panther are also there, but sadly these don’t get the amount of time allocated as the aforementioned, and thus, don’t have as much an impact on the movie. There are also appearances from key supporting characters – Don Cheadle’s War Machine, Anthony Mackie’s Falcon, Sebastian Stan’s Bucky and a stand-out Dave Bautista as Drax all getting their moment in the spotlight, to name but a few.

Avengers Infinity War review
Avengers Infinity War review

Because of its unrelenting nature, and despite that massive running time and the fact that it has so much to pack in, Avengers: Infinity War works because of our investments in the characters which has been fermenting for the last ten years. The movie doesn’t waste time with exposition – of course, it doesn’t need to – but simply takes us on a merciless journey of destruction that really doesn’t ease on the gas at all. The Russo brothers have made a film which will appear to fans, shock them to their core and leave them gasping for more as the credits rather suddenly begin to roll. The one thing that you absolutely must do though, is wait until all of those credits have rolled as there’s one final scene which, rather than being a fan-pleasing insert, is absolutely necessary to the story and where proceedings may be taken next. It really is a wonderful addition that will want the next instalment in this genuinely crowd-pleasing story be ready and waiting to be watched immediately.

Sadly though, it’s a full year until we get the second part of this definite two-parter. Avengers: Infinity War is absolutely the beginning of something different in this ever-evolving cinematic universe, and one which will leave you with the question – can anything ever be the same again? The answer is no, as this film is now the benchmark to which the studio now has to live up to.

Avengers Infinity War review by Paul Heath, April 2018.

Avengers: Infinity War is released in UK cinemas on Thursday 26th April, 2018.

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Avengers: Infinity War