They went for it, by God did they go for it.
Walking out of “Avengers: Infinity War,” one thing is for certain; you will not wonder if Marvel Studios pulled any punches.
Ten years, 19 Marvel movies and six years of buildup, ever since the villainous Thanos was introduced in the post credit scene of 2012’s “Avengers,” have all come to this.
Years and years of seeing new heroes introduced, years and years of them following the same, admittedly enjoyable, cookie-cutter formula.
But not here. All of the usual annoying tendencies of Marvel movies are absent.
The stakes are high. Just because you’re a hero, it doesn’t mean you’re safe.
The villain is actually good. The moment you see Thanos walk on screen, you know that no one should feel safe. Hell, you don’t feel safe.
And he’s not just a punch-it-up villain that exists to just be a big thing to fight. You get to see how his brain works and even how he rationalizes that he is the hero in his own reality.
Finally, the movie accomplishes something no other Marvel movie has ever done for me: I genuinely don’t know what comes next for any of the major characters. Not that I’ve ever perfectly predicted what’s to come for each hero, but I’ve usually gotten aspects right.
Here, I maybe have some idea, but there are so many different ways this cinematic universe could move on from here, it seems foolish to try to predict.However, it’s by no means a perfect movie.
The pacing is wanting at times, and the nature of such a massive ensemble cast comprised of dozens of competing characters from years of different Marvel movies means some will make decisions that don’t quite fit.
But director brothers Anthony and Joseph Russo do as good of a job as realistically possible at balancing all of this in a two-hour and forty minute-long runtime.
Everyone, from major characters like Captain America to minor characters like Groot, gets their moments in the sun, making for some of the most epic action setpieces in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The ending will likely be polarizing, but I appreciate it for what it brings back; making people curious about what the future of the MCU is.
In two, or five, or even 10 years down the line, I think we’ll be looking back at this as the “Empire Strikes Back” of the MCU.
But while we wait, go watch the MCU get flipped on its head in the best way possible.
Email Ben Watson at firstname.lastname@example.org