It seems like we've been waiting for Avengers: Infinity War to come out, well, for an infinite amount of time. The hype has been insane, and Marvel's press machine has been attempting to conquer the globe, just like almost every Marvel villain has tried to do since the MCU began. Though it's been long in coming, April 27th is almost at hand, and that means that the film has been unleashed on critics.
It's hard to remember a superhero event film with more hype surrounding it — only the first Avengers film feels anywhere close — but the expectations for this film make those look smaller than Baby Groot. With all of the talk about this being the "most ambitious crossover event of all time" and so on, Marvel has put all of their Infinity Stones in one glove, and are hoping that the film's directors, Joe and Anthony Russo, have brought the thunder.
All of this is to say, will the hype be worth it?
When it comes to genre films, critical opinion is hardly the final word, but it can still be a good barometer of where a film's general quality sits. If the initial reviews released right after today's press embargo was lifted are anything to go by, then we can confidently say that Infinity War may be a little overstuffed, but that the hype was (mostly) worth it.
Rolling Stone's Peter Travers gives the film 3 out of 4 stars, remarking on how it has a hard time following the triumph of Black Panther. He has good things to say about new big bad Thanos, however, and ultimately writes that, "Infinity War is still only half a movie, with loose ends dangling and a nagging sense of opportunities missed. Of course, no Marvel junkie would think of missing the film and the chance to decode its subtext. And almost everyone agrees that the ending works like gangbusters. Why? Because Thanos keeps us riveted and eager for what's next. Bring it on."
Variety's review is seemingly positive, saying that the film makes it clear that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is most definitely depicted as a "universe." However, they say that the film is definitely stuffed to the gills, calling it "a knowingly overstuffed Marvel mashup," which "turns out to be bedazzling fun, despite the fact that this many superheroes means they're all less special."
The Hollywood Reporter praises the film for being "three parts jokes, two parts dramatic juggling act and one part deterministic action, an equation that's been completely reversed by the time of the film's startling climax." They also seem fairly confident that the film will be a box office triumph, writing, "No question about it, barely two months after the release of Black Panther, Marvel (and Disney, of course) has returned with another of the most expensive films ever made that will pull off another of the biggest commercial hauls of all time. This franchise isn't going away anytime soon."
The New York Times' A.O. Scott is less positive, reiterating the feeling that the film doesn't stand on it's own, and is more of a setup to a second part, as well as a culmination of the 18 films that came before it. He also didn't seem impressed with the action, writing, "The action is especially tedious and predictable. I mean both the scenes of fighting and flying and the overall rhythm of the first two hours or so. People talk for a while, sprinkling jokes and morsels of personality into the heavy dough of exposition. Then they fight in the usual way, by throwing giant objects (and one another) and shooting waves of color from their hands. The noisy, bloated spectacles of combat were surely the most expensive parts of the movie, but the money seems less like an imaginative tool than a substitute for genuine imagination."
The Los Angeles Times is somewhat more enthusiastic, writing, "Whatever else it may be — a culmination, an obligation, a staggering feat of crowd control, a truly epic tease — Avengers: Infinity War is a brisk, propulsive, occasionally rousing and borderline-gutsy continuation of a saga that finally and sensibly seems to be drawing to a close." However, they went on to less enthusiastically call it “a movie with a cliffhanger, a body count and some pretty great one-liners where its Soul Stone should be.”
Empire Magazine gave Infinity War a full-on rave, granting it five out of five stars, joining the chorus of Thanos praise, and writing, "The film dances nimbly across the cosmos from one group to the next, turning the screws on each group, shattering them and pulling them back together in new combinations. With all these different strands, you might expect to see the gears move to keep this intricate plot humming, as in Age Of Ultron and Civil War. But this time the Russos achieve the impossible. Not only did they bring all these disparate characters and stories together, but they made it look effortless. We couldn’t tear ourselves away now if we wanted to."
Though opinions certainly vary, there are two things that all of the reviews have in common: All of them really like the ending of the Avengers: Infinity War (whatever it involves), and they are also all fairly certain that nothing they have to say will stop anyone from going to see it. Marvel is calling the tune, and we're all just dancing to it.
We'll be adding more reviews as they come in, and you can always check out the film's page on Rotten Tomatoes, where the Tomatometer currently (as of press time) sits at 90% fresh after 56 critic reviews.
If you don't already have your tickets, we'd suggest assembling some immediately, as the party officially begins Apr. 27. But if you've already seen it, please remember: Thanos demands your silence.