Avengers: Infinity War

release date 04/27/18
release date 04/27/18
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April 24, 2018 at 06:06 PM EDT

Ready to find out the critical consensus on Avengers: Infinity War? Well, prepare to be a bit disappointed because there doesn’t seem to be one — a consensus, that is. Because the first batch of reviews range from highly enthusiastic to rather mixed. The good news: Critics seemed charmed by Marvel’s sprawling all-star ensemble cast, dazzled by the action sequences and impressed by the film’s overall creative ambition. Yet with a couple dozen main characters and 2-hour-and-30-minute length, many feel the film throws too much at the viewer, some of it works a lot better than others, and when it’s all over the result is a bit frustrating as it’s only the first half of a two-part story.

Here’s what top critics are saying about Avengers: Infinity War (spoiler free):

Chris Nashawaty, EW: “Bloated … Infinity War is a movie for the fans. Especially those who’ve spent any time wondering what it would be like to witness Chris Hemsworth’s Thor wisecracking with Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord, or tagging along with some of the Avengers as they hightail it to Wakanda (the arrival there got a rousing wave of applause at my screening). It’s the Marvel equivalent of watching the old “We Are the World” video (Hey, it’s Bob Dylan singing between to Cyndi Lauper and Huey Lewis!). And for the most part, this super-sized mash-up works better than you’d expect… [But] with at least 25 marquee characters crammed into the same story, you can feel the directors Anthony and Joe Russo (Captain America: Civil War) struggle at times to keep so many balls in the air. It’s a bit like 10 pounds of movie jammed into a five-pound bag … It ends up feeling a bit too disjointed – like we’re flipping the channels between four different movies instead of watching one cohesive one.”

IndieWire: “The resulting spectacle channels the best and worst attributes of Marvel’s movies, with a fascinating hodgepodge of circumstances designed to move the story forward with dramatic results while resolving it at the same time. Avengers: Infinity War is jumbled but never messy, speeding forward with fits and starts but plenty of calculation. In our cluttered information age, when online fan theories threaten to ruin every plot twist, Infinity War shows a marked determination to speed ahead of audience expectations; it’s so fast-paced that no single viewer could possibly anticipate the next move, even as individual sequences reek of familiarity.”

Rolling Stone: “Is it possible to have too much of a good Marvel thing? Avengers: Infinity War tests that theory to the max … Infinity War is all over the place, straining to give everyone a seat at the table … Avengers: Infinity War leaves viewers up in the air, feeling exhilarated and cheated at the same time, aching for a closure that never comes … at least not yet. The Russo brothers have clearly never learned the concept that less is more. They’ve used the premise of an Avengers reunion to put on a fireworks explosion of action and laughs (those roguish Guardians!) that won’t quit.”

Chuck Zlotnick/©Marvel Studios 2018

Uproxx: “I love it… The delight of a movie like this is to see these characters interact with other characters that they haven’t before. And we get some crazy pairings here…Avengers: Infinity War feels like a really special event. There are at least ten moments in this movie that made me want to just yell out, “yeah!,” at the screen. If you are a human being who likes comic books or comic book movies, it’s almost impossible not to enjoy the spectacle of it all – even though you might leave the theater a little disappointed.”

Mashable: “Given the sheer amount of elements in play here, it’s probably no shock that Infinity War feels, at times, more like a logistical puzzle than an organic narrative. You can occasionally feel the filmmakers straining for reasons to send this character to that planet, where they’ll meet up with that other character to hatch a plan to solve a problem currently unfolding on some other distant location with some other characters.”

USA Today: “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.”

Variety:Avengers: Infinity War can, at times, make it feel like you’re at a birthday party where you got so many presents that you start to grow tired of opening them. But taken on its own piñata-of-fun terms, it’s sharp, fast-moving, and elegantly staged. It also has what any superhero movie worth its salt requires: a sense that there’s something at stake….Infinity War brims with tensely spectacular combat sequences, even if the question of who’s going to win each one has that extravagantly arbitrary could-Mighty-Mouse-beat-up-Superman? quality.”

THR: “The effect is both scatter-shot and precise, knowing and witty enough to be initially disarming and ultimately ingratiating. With more limited screen time than they’re used to and even more limited elbow room, the actors and characters (in what at least some knew would be their swan songs in these costumes) snap off one-liners and sharp remarks with an extra edge of sarcastic disdain… The scale of that action is astonishing. Some of it is set in space or in different realms on assorted planets, while other scenes take place in New York and elsewhere?”

Screencrush: “If you’re a fan of these characters and you’re invested in their fates, there’s plenty of thrills in watching them team up, and zing each other with witty banter. A couple of shots will give you chills. But you better be really invested, because what’s generally missing are the moments where the film can just breathe; where the characters enjoy a shawarma or try to lift Thor’s hammer or simply carry on a conversation longer than 15 seconds about something other than the Infinity Stones. With very few exceptions, Infinity War is all business from the moment it begins to the final end credits. Usually a comic-book crossover has tons of tie-in books where these kind of smaller moments can live outside of the main narrative and you can learn, for example, what Spider-Man thinks about being on a spaceship. Infinity War is just the main crossover without the supplementary stories and on its own, it feels both overcrowded and weirdly sparse.”

Slashfilm: “The best thing about Avengers: Infinity War is, in many ways, the best thing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole: an incredibly charming and almost overqualified ensemble cast…Thus, while the massive fight sequences in the latter half of Infinity War may approach a suitably epic scale, they suffer from the same problems that plague a lot of these films. The dynamic and exciting heroes are facing an endless slew of basically shapeless aliens straight out of a video game. The stakes are high enough, but the threat of Thanos, even after all the buildup, never feels that threatening …Yet it is a little hard to talk about Avengers: Infinity War in full, if only because we’ve only seen the first half of this story.”

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