Thanos — who, in Avengers: Infinity War, is played by Josh Brolin and is arguably the main character; the writers refer to him as the “protagonist” — was first introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a post-credits tease after 2012’s first Avengers movie. (Half the theater I was in broke out in whispers of, “Who was that thing?”) Since then he’s been teased and teased and teased as the bad guy of all bad guys and here we finally are, all of the build-up culminating in two hours and forty minutes of superhero euphoria (well, mostly) that comic book fans have been dreaming about for years. I mean this as a compliment, but Avengers: Infinity War just might be the dorkiest movie ever made.
You know how a lot of superhero movies get lauded for being “grounded more in reality” or even “it’s less a superhero movie and more a movie about today”? Yeah, no one will ever say these things about Avengers: Infinity War. While watching, I was thinking about Peter Parker in last summer’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, this nervous high school student attending a homecoming dance. Now, a year later, here he is on an alien planet fighting space monsters.
Also, I want to add: I love it. Because that’s the way the comics were – Peter lived his life as a normal kid and the next thing he knew he’s on an alien planet in Secret Wars fighting in an intergalactic royal rumble and taking home a new symbiote pet. And we didn’t get to see Spider-Man trading barbs with people like Magneto every day, so it felt special. (Okay, we still don’t get to see that pairing in movies.) And 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 (we’ll get to that).
If you’ve seen any of the past 18 Marvel Cinematic Universe films, you’re probably at least a little familiar with the concept of Infinity Stones: six powerful gems that, when placed together on a fun-looking glove, give the user almost unlimited power. And the person who wants to be the user is the aforementioned Thanos. Yet, even with 18 prior movies to kind of explain what these stones do, we still get a breakdown from Doctor Strange involving an illustrated magic-based PowerPoint presentation to bring some of the other heroes and the audience up to speed. And that’s fine, but just know there’s a lot of Infinity Stone talk in your future.