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WARNING CONTAINS MILD SPOILERS

If you’re a fan of the Marvel cinematic universe, sitting down in the cinema to watch Avengers: Infinity War is probably the moment you’ve been waiting for for 10 years now, ever since Iron Man came out and we first got a glimpse of what Robert Downey JR was capable of as Tony Stark.

Now, ten years and a massively successful extended universe franchise later, the only thing that ages Iron Man is its use of outdated flip phones, and Infinity War has definitely been worth the wait.

First off, you do need to have seen a few of the other marvel films for this film to make sense. The film begins roughly where Thor Ragnarok takes off, and a viewer who hasn’t seen Black Panther will probably find themselves lost and confused at scenes which take place in Wakanda with the characters previously introduced there. But both Black Panther and Ragnarok are a joy to watch and widely regarded as the best two marvel films to date- so that shouldn’t be hard.

Having seen both the Guardians films is a bonus, and obviously recommended if you enjoy good cinema, but mostly you should just know about the infinity stones, and where they all are. If you’re really lazy there are infographics to help, but the films give you so much more.

Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
With regards to the Avengers movies, if you’ve only seen avengers assemble, you’re in for a wild ride as nothing will really make sense to you, so you at the very least need to be aware of the events in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America Civil War. Neither of these films are the best in the franchise, so if you’re short on time just read a plot summary somewhere so you can get a feel of where the various characters stand.

Oh, and you will have to watch Doctor Strange. Benedict Cumberbatch’s American accent is nowhere near as bad as you’ve been told it is, and Doctor Strange plays a key role in Infinity War. Besides, I really liked it.

With all that said, the film absolutely hits the ground running from the get go, with a ridiculously intense scene before they even run the title. The Rousseau brothers are absolutely not messing around in this film; they know the stakes for fans are high, so they’ve gone higher. The massive ensemble cast of the movie is handled incredibly well, when characters are separated you’re never wondering what Thor might be doing, or where Black Panther is because every scene is so immersive. You get absolutely lost in every situation the characters are in, even if you aren’t a fan of that particular character; and the pacing of the scenes is done brilliantly so they never linger on one group longer than they need to. When there are two fight scenes at once, the switches between them are so seamless that you struggle to remember when you switched location- but in a movie magic way, not a confusing way.

Obviously as Infinity War is a marvel film, it has the prerequisite hilarious moments. It’s not a full action comedy like its predecessor Thor Ragnarok, but it still manages to fit in the laugh out loud funny moments that had the whole cinema in fits. However, the film still manages to take you on an emotional rollercoaster and the comedy never loses sight of the endgame- the action. Speaking of which, the action is something else. Unlike some action heavy movies, you never feel fatigued or bored of the excellently shot fight scenes- the cinematography manages to excellently keep track of multiple players at once without even a hint of confusion as to who is winning and losing. Plus, the fight scenes take advantage of some visually stunning locations and powers that’ll keep you in awe.

Thanos’ portrayal by Josh Brolin is absolutely incredible- he maintains a genuinely horrifying villain who is intelligent and often even sympathetic and nostalgic, all without you losing sight of the fact that Thanos’ goal is to end half of all life in the entire universe. Zoe Saldana also absolutely knocks it out of the park as Gamora, her character development having come leaps and bounds from the Gamora we met who tried to kill Quill in the first Guardians film. Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange also stands out as one of the more powerful and more unexpected favourites in this huge ensemble cast of even bigger personalities. Also, if you’ve ever been even slightly attracted to Chris Hemsworth- be prepared to feel thirstier than you’ve ever been before because oh boy does Thor look good.

The movie also overlooks all the mistakes made in the franchise’s worst film- age of Ultron. Obviously, there’s reference to the events, but joyfully, Hawkeye’s forced family never make an appearance. The weird Bruce and Natasha romance never rears its head, and Scarlet Witch gets ample opportunity to show off her awesome power- marking her down as absolutely one of the most powerful avengers. There is unfortunately a romance introduced that may not surprise you, but definitely leaves you feeling uncomfortable about it at the beginning- but you eventually warm to it since both characters involved are given the character development they so desperately deserved in every other film.

Avengers: Infinity War is a film that flips all of what you expected it to be up and around. Whatever you came into the film thinking may or may not happen- forget it and hold on for an emotional roller-coaster that leaves you breathless and stunned in the way only a Marvel movie can. The sequel is going to have to be absolutely explosive to not just pick up from this, but to live up to it. It may not be in the top 3 best MCU films, but I’ll be dammed if it doesn’t get into your top 5.

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