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Feature Article

Avengers: Infinity War Review: A Galaxy-Sized Payoff

It's all been leading to this.

What would you do to bring balance to the universe? It's a question that, in one form or another, countless characters have faced throughout the history of fiction. Heroes and villains--Jedi and Sith, hobbits and Dark Lords alike--have endlessly tried to tip the scales of good and evil one way or the other. Few have had so succinct a solution as Thanos.

This is it--the movie, and the villain, that a decade of laboriously mapped out and meticulously crafted Marvel Cinematic Universe fiction has led to. Marvel made fans a promise when Samuel L. Jackson donned Nick Fury's eyepatch and told Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark about the Avengers Initiative at the end of Iron Man: It would all culminate here. They doubled down on that promise over and over across the subsequent decade of MCU movies, raising the stakes every time a new Infinity Stone entered the fray or Thanos made another of his rare on-screen appearances.

Now the gloves are off, and the Infinity Gauntlet is on Thanos's hand. And Avengers: Infinity War is a payoff of galactic proportions.

Thanos has been lurking in the MCU's wings for years now, pulling strings and orchestrating plots like Loki's invasion of Earth in the first Avengers movie and Ronan's assault on Xandar in Guardians of the Galaxy. Having lost his patience for subterfuge and with five of the six Infinity Stones located, the Mad Titan decides to finally get his hands dirty in Infinity War. He sends his minions, the Children of Thanos, to Earth to retrieve two of the Stones, while he goes after the others himself.

Infinity War doesn't introduce a lot of new characters, understandable considering the ridiculously enormous cast it already has to work with. The Children of Thanos make up four of those new faces, and they toe the line between campy fun and cannon fodder--they're cool, but they won't make much of an impression in the grand scheme of the movie.

And how grand a scheme it is. To mention only what we know, and not spoil any of the surprising cameos--of which there are a few--Infinity War is juggling protagonists and sidekicks from the worlds of Iron Man, Captain America, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor, Spider-Man, and the Avengers universe at large.

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Incredibly, Infinity War actually manages to do every single one of these characters justice. Some of them only get a few lines in the movie, or just a couple of awesome shots during a huge battle, but that's understandable. The fact that Infinity War actually feels like a well-balanced movie, with time for small, emotional moments between characters in addition to the multiple budget-breaking battles, is undeniably impressive.

There are two factors that help it there. For one thing, with a few exceptions, these are all characters we're already intimately familiar with. (That said, if you haven't been keeping up with the MCU for the last decade, good luck.) For another, this is really only half a movie, despite being long as heck. That shouldn't come as a surprise, and it certainly doesn't detract from the film. If anything, it probably would have turned out a lot messier if they'd tried to cram the whole story into one film. And Infinity War does end on a note of finality--there's no massive cliffhanger, but instead a coda that may come to feel like a bridge only when Avengers 4 arrives in 2019.

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As has been the trend in the MCU lately, Infinity War is also extremely funny, though it occasionally feels like it shoehorns gags into otherwise serious scenes just to break the tension. The action, on the other hand, is as imaginative as you'd hope with all these different heroes with wildly varied powers coming together--and every bit as excellent as we've come to expect from directors Joe and Anthony Russo, the brothers behind Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Civil War before this.

As promised, Infinity War is Thanos's movie. This is by far the most we've seen of the iconic villain since his proper debut in the first Guardians of the Galaxy, and the movie does a decent job fleshing out his backstory and motivations. There are some aspects from the source material that you might find yourself missing if you're well versed on the books, but from the movie's shocking opening moments, Thanos is established as an absurdly powerful and nearly unstoppable force. And Josh Brolin plays the Titan with the exact right amounts of menace, humor, and emotion that the surprisingly complex character demands. In a word, Thanos is phenomenal.

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But this is still an Avengers movie, and the payoff really comes from the unions and reunions we've come to expect from that name. When the first Avengers movie brought Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, and Hawkeye together in 2012, the goosebumps that came from seeing heroes from disparate franchises fighting on-screen together proved that the Marvel blueprint works on a large scale. And that was after just a few movies and four years; Avengers: Infinity War extrapolates that same sensation over a decade and 18 films, and the results are exponentially more fun, exciting, and awe-inducing.

Avengers: Infinity War does justice both to the promise Marvel has been riding on for the last decade, and the source material that inspired it. Somehow, for all its fire and fury--the raw spectacle of it all--Infinity War is a surprisingly human story, both for the heroes who have to put all their doubts aside and unite, and for Thanos, a genocidal alien who succeeds as a character because he's infused with real emotion. Infinity War reminds us why these characters, one and all, matter, and why they mean so much to fans.

Marvel has accomplished something truly incredible here, although at this point it's no more than the absurdly high quality bar Marvel fans have come to expect. It's been a long road getting here, but it was worth it.

The GoodThe Bad
Payoff of all these characters coming togetherSome humor feels shoehorned in
Thanos is a phenomenal and complex villainNot much time given to the few new characters
Impressive balance among all characters
Creative battles that use all the heroes' powers
Plenty of humor interspersed throughout
Has time for emotional moments as well
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

mrougeau

Michael Rougeau

Mike Rougeau is GameSpot's Senior Entertainment Editor. He loves Game of Thrones and dogs.
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41 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for ninboxstation
ninboxstation

only got to watch the movie now..."Avengers - Naruto Wars" would have been the more appropriate name ... lol

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lonewolf1044

Dang, Thanos really brought the pain.

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PETERAKO

SPOILER

spoiler!spoiler!spoiler!spoiler!spoiler!spoiler!spoiler!spoiler!spoiler!

Avatar image for soul_starter
soul_starter

Just watched it tonight and for all the hype, all the high ratings...it delivered. I mean it really delivers, from a blockbuster point of view all the way to the surprisingly emotional, well written and particularly well acted smaller, human moments. There are probably 15-20 blockbusters in the history of cinema that can pull that off, Infinity War is one of them.

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aross2004

Wow, that ending. Totally not prepared for that...

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cheatonline

Nice! i will waiting!

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HalcyonScarlet

Saw this last night. Not usually a fan of Marvel films lately, but this was amazing.

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Rolento25

Yawn.... another Marvel movie.

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02050muh

The only bad thing in this movie is when Thanos reverse time and got his hairs back. WTF Marvel?!

Avatar image for heyjoe-pcrpgcommunity

This is what a great franchise supposed to be!

I was afraid, soon will comes the day, when no one (except me, ofc.) ever again interested to watch any superhero comic adaptation on the big screen.

But now I can still see a bright future of this genre.

After I saw this epic space-symphony finally, I just wanna watch infinity times, again & again. :)

Could tell more but want zero spoiler, let you discover the whole movie for yourself!

If you are fan of MARVEL movies, then definitely you will enjoy this real gem.

...PS: According to most site's scoring system, this movie was far over 10/10.

Avatar image for pongman75
Pongman75

Spoiler Alert.... somebody dies

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Janpieterzun

@pongman75: A lot of people died, that surprised me lol, basically who DIDN'T die, should be the list :D

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dcole001

Base on Spoilers sounds like you have to Wait till Avengers 4 to see if Thanos is defeated..

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Feed_Me_TACOS

"Infinity War is also extremely funny, though it occasionally feels like it shoehorns gags into otherwise serious scenes just to break the tension."

of course. -_-

Avatar image for Franzkill
Franzkill

@nibbin1191: Hell yes!! But dude why'd you have to be such a killjoy and ruin it for the people that ain't seen it yet? But if you insist!

I hate how Strange didn't reverse time to stop Snyder from making BvS. I felt like there was a solid oppurtunity to expand his character arc even more but he blew it.

Also I loved the interaction between Spiderman seeing his alternate universe self (Tobey Maguire) he was like ''Dude are you Spiderman too?''

Avatar image for javelin10
Javelin10

Im not a critic, by any means. just a fan. I never felt any of this "strain" being talked about but like i said, im no critic. the movie felt only an hour long for me. i think if you go into the movie with the intent of looking at faults, then i guess you will find words like "bloated" or "noisy" in your vocabulary. if youre mildly annoyed by the 10 years of back srory required, dont even go. this isnt for you. the goosebumps I felt when characters step out of the darkness to rising Avengers crescendo? you wont feel that because you might feel its just baseless fan service. the emotional forging and assembly of a certain weapon? not for you because may be it takes too long and you cant be bothered by 10 minutes of exposition of how important this weapon is. the arrival of an ally to turn the tide of battle? Pssshh. Pure critics would call it Predictable right? And the ending, may be unsatisfying for people with more refined viewing tastes so well versed in Cannes entries and indie films with political overtones.

But im not a critic. Just a very, very, happy fan who just saw a very very good movie.

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SuperKlyph

Went to IGN, very first comment spoiled everything. FFS. Just to be a jerk.

Avatar image for rolento25
Rolento25

@superklyph:

That's what you get for going to the comments.... Good going junior.

Avatar image for jergernice1
JergerNIce1

i hope its better than ragnaromp......im sorry a movie with thor and hulk telling jokes constantly is utterly stupid.....i know im in the minority but not alone. i would watch the serious toned dark knight justice league and even wonder woman any day. i bought 4k ragnacrap and havent finished it once despite a few tries.

Online
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JustPlainLucas

@jergernice1: You're not alone. Although I quite enjoyed it and laughed many times, I felt it didn't take it self seriously enough considering its subject matter.

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ShadowWeaver

@jergernice1: maybe you and I are alone. I’m a huge Marvel guy and man the movies they put out are just atrocious when it comes to putting serious characters from the comics and make it a joke fest. Not my bag at all. I love the seriousness of DC movies it’s unfortunate that the dumb audience wants jokes every 10 seconds. I didn’t even watch the latest Thor movie the first 5 mins was what looked like the antagonist in hell and Thor is hanging by string cracking jokes like really?

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JSprunk

Thanos looks like Honey boo-boo's mom.

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CraigTL

@jsprunk: Aww come on he dont look that bad damn.

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slacker20012

Oh good another superhero movie

Avatar image for Franzkill
Franzkill

@slacker20012:

*FIXED* Oh no another good superhero movie

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CraigTL

@slacker20012: They have these things planned out for the next 20 years so strap in.

Avatar image for videogameninja
videogameninja

Can't wait to see this. Unfortunately I will probably have to hold off for 2 months due to personal reasons.

-Reasons, Ninja? Sure.-

Gonna be a nightmare trying to avoid spoilers for that long but I've done it in the past, so...

From literally every review I've read people are saying it's one of the best super-hero movies ever. Many have gone on to compare this to Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in terms of it's place in the Marvel/super-hero franchise(s).

-INFINITY GAUNTLET NINJA APPROVED-

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sakaiXx

Ok. The ending really got me

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bentleyj10

@sakaixx: same.

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Rebbeccabond

Awesome thriller movie. Wow!

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Roy023

Just saw it, thought it was epic. And in no way is that word too grand.

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@Roy023: Nice I can’t wait to see it on Friday.

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judaspete

With so many characters and story-lines to juggle, this movie could have easily become a giant mess. Glad to hear it didn't turn out that way.

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gamingdevil800

"Some humor feels shoehorned in"

Worst thing about Marvel and Star Wars movies right now... cringe humour.

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PrpleTrtleBuBum

@gamingdevil800: Just like few years ago movies were so dark it turned comical. Every era has its annoying fad

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Sindroid

@gamingdevil800: The whole franchise is cringe.. END IT!!!