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Review – Avengers: Infinity War – “Sequences of pure joy and moments of utter pain and despair” (Spoiler Free)

The Russo Brothers (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War) return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe to direct Avengers: Infinity War – the culmination of ten years of worth of superhero films and the largest and most ambitious comic book film ever attempted.

With absolutely everybody involved – except for Hawkeye and Ant-Man, who are apparently too concerned with their families – the cast list is insane; but includes Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Tom Holland as Spider-Man, Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/The Hulk, Scarlett Johannson as Black Widow, Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, Paul Bettany as Vision, Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, Chris Pratt’s Star Lord and the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and Josh Brolin as Thanos.

Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are broken and scattered following the events of Captain America: Civil War. Stark has sworn to Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) that he will stay out of trouble, Thor and Banner are in space post Thor: Ragnarok, Cap and his crew are wanted by the government and in hiding, while Vision and Scarlet Witch are loved up in Edinburgh. But when the mad Titan – Thanos – comes to Earth, the Avengers must unite, come up with a plan, and find some kind of weapon with which to fight their most formidable foe.

Thanos wants the stones that have been scattered throughout the last nineteen Marvel films to power his Infinity Gauntlet – a weapon that will give him the power to exterminate half of the galaxy’s population with just a snap of his big purple fingers. But the Russo’s and Brolin don’t merely present Thanos as a murderous madman. His reasoning is always made clear, and his past and family are focussed on and explored in a way that lets us also see the sympathetic side to Thanos.

With so many heroes up to so much, Thanos also becomes the through line and the character holding the whole thing together. Seeing our heroes meet and fight has been an utter joy since the first Avengers, but with such a wide array of introductions still needing to be made the Russo’s don’t rush. Everyone gets time to breathe, trade quips and do plenty of cool things. The threat of too many super cooks spoiling the infinity broth is brushed aside by Joe and Anthony Russo who have this game down pat now.

Seeing interactions like Doctor Strange and Tony Stark grumpily spat, the Guardians fawning over Thor, and even smaller moments like Banner having Hulk performance issues are pure comedy gold; and along with some team members getting eye-popping upgrades, and enormous Lord of the Rings-esque battle scenes, Infinity War is a fan’s dream.

It is also a fan’s worst nightmare. There are huge events that – if not retconned – are jaw-dropping in their utter ballsiness. Nobody is safe from a Thanos who pulls zero punches, and the Russo’s – who make sure that every tragedy is utterly brutal and feels completely permanent.

Mixing sequences of pure joy and moments of utter pain and despair, while giving every character iconic moments to shine, Avengers Infinity War is absolutely devastating. It is an astounding feat of staggering entertainment that will leave you completely blown away.

Avengers: Infinity War is on general release, including IMAX, on 26th April 2018.

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