OK, you presumably clicked over here because you want to know if Avengers: Infinity War is good. But you don’t want spoilers!

I get it; I’ve barely skimmed what’s been written about the movie during the past week. Avoiding social media has been more difficult because, well, it’s part of our job. But no spoiler landmines have been tripped, and we’ll do our best here to make sure we do the same.

So let’s just get right to it: Yes, Avengers: Infinity War is good. It lives up to the hype. I wouldn’t call it the best Marvel movie. There are just too many characters to serve and storylines to unfurl for it to be completely satisfying.

Everyone arguably gets a moment, but in some cases, you’ll probably want so much more. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo, along with screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (who don’t get nearly the acclaim they should), can lean on the 18 movies that have come before this culmination to fill in some blanks, but not enough. It’s too big a story for that.

The action is absolutely top-notch, even when it gets out of control during the pivotal battle toward the end. Big fields with thousands of combatants is a difficult setting for coherent storytelling. Add in the jumps to different storylines and there’s a whole lot to juggle. But the Russos do it impressively. They’re also damn good at setting up the dramatic introduction or entrance. (There will probably be cheers at your showing.)

As with every Marvel movie, there are many funny lines and humorous incidents that make the whole experience fun, while also breaking up the heaviness of a rather serious story and the dread of anticipating the bad things that might happen to Earth’s mightiest heroes. And there are some gut punches in this film, so the opportunity to breathe is appreciated.

Honestly, there’s just a whole lot to digest and a second viewing might be appreciated. But it’s not necessary. If you miss anything, it’ll probably be from the audience laughing and maybe you can’t hear a line here or there. This is the epic superhero movie we’ve always wanted (the kind of crossover story comic book fans read every summer), ever since Nick Fury told Tony Stark about the “Avengers Initiative” after the credits of Iron Man.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

All right, besides the review, there are a few notable takeaways to highlight. There will likely be much more to come after most people have seen Avengers: Infinity War and spoilers aren’t such a huge consideration. These are the things that had to be mentioned. But don’t worry! No spoilers!

Thanos is a bad motor-scooter

A frequent gripe throughout Marvel’s 18 films prior to Avengers: Infinity War has been a problem creating good, memorable villains. Bad guys like Whiplash and Justin Hammer (Iron Man 2), Malekith (Thor: The Dark World), Yellowjacket (Ant-Man) and Kaecilius (Doctor Strange) were ultimately disposable. Did you forget about some of these villains until we brought them up just now?

Often, the villain is an opposite of the hero, sharing similar traits and narratives, but the bad guy either took or was pushed in the wrong direction. The hero and his arch-enemy aren’t really that different! Killmonger in Black Panther is the most recent example of that.

However, Marvel may have figured out its villain problem. Killmonger was considered by many to be the best Marvel bad guy. Vulture was a strong adversary in Spider-Man: Homecoming. And though she destroyed Thor’s hammer, there’s mixed opinion on Hela from Thor: Ragnarok.

Thanos is Marvel’s best bad guy yet — as he should be, since he’s been a looming presence over the Marvel Cinematic Universe since his appearance in a post-credits during the first Avengers movie.Josh Brolin does excellent work making Thanos more than a bruiser on an intergalactic jewel heist. His motivation isn’t purely evil, at least in his view. (The best bad guys are often those who think they’re doing the right thing.) His quest exacts a deep emotional toll, revealing a surprising aspect of his character.

But best of all, he’s truly formidable. Thanos doesn’t present the same imposing figure as, say, Darth Vader, but he is fearsome because it’s established right away that he might be unbeatable — at least in physical combat. Fearing that the hero may not escape with his or her life adds significant emotional stakes to the drama here.

It’s not a complete movie


The biggest gripe fans may have with Infinity War, after processing everything that they saw on screen and its ramifications, is that it’s only the first part of a larger narrative. (Of course, it could be argued that every Marvel movie is but a chapter in one ambitiously large tale.) There’s more story to be told. (If you consider that a spoiler, I apologize for ruining your weekend.) Between that and where the movie leaves off will lead to plenty of comparisons to The Empire Strikes Back.

But going back to Thanos being a great villain, if you look at the story from his point of view and follow his narrative arc, this is arguably a complete story. If you look at him as the main character — he really is — and a sympathetic figure, the guy you’re rooting for, you might be happy with where this movie ends.

Thor: Ragnarok‘s mid-credits scene is actually meaningful

The mid- and post-credits in Marvel movies are often entertaining, but not often crucial. Sometimes, they’re not important at all. (Infinity War may have been the first Marvel film I’ve seen where a handful of people didn’t leave when the credits started. After 18 films, everyone finally knows the drill.) But the mid-credits scene for Thor: Ragnarok leads directly into Infinity War.

Is it completely necessary to have watched that scene beforehand? No, especially when a good chunk of action takes place between the end of this scene and the beginning of Infinity War. And if you saw Thor: Ragnarok and skipped the end credits scenes, you could probably fill in the blanks. But it’s nice to know when those extra scenes really mean something and directly lead to a story, rather than just make a reference to excite fans.

They tricked us!

There’s a notable image in the first trailer that turns out to be deceiving once you watch the film. To say anything more would obviously be a spoiler, taking away from one of the surprising moments early in the story.

Marvel doesn’t just create the superheroes that protect the world. They protect us from our own worst impulses in seeking out spoilers or craving footage that’s sure to affect our enjoyment of the final film.

About Ian Casselberry

Ian is a writer, editor, and podcaster. You can find his work at Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He's written for Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation.