CREDIT: Marvel

Much more so than 2012’s Avengers, Avengers: Infinity War is the culmination of all that has come before in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After ten years and nearly twenty films, this has been THE destination. Sure, “saving the whole world and/or universe” is what so many previous superhero movies have been about, so Infinity War cannot fully be satisfying on that score. But as a narrative experiment, it works as a satisfying conclusion (or beginning to a conclusion).

Weirdly enough, I think Infinity Wars works whether or not you have seen all the preceding entries. I cannot say for sure, as I have seen every MCU flick, though I have only watched all of them once each and I am by no means the most devoted Easter egg hunter. But there is just something about how this massive teamup of heroes manages to avoid feeling busy and instead come off as electric. There is a lived-in feel to Tony Stark and Stephen Strange trading banter and then becoming fast friends or the Guardians of the Galaxy making sense of Thor on the fly. If you don’t know what these characters are all about ahead of time, you can pick it up along the way, just as they do with each other. As for Thanos and his plan, it’s fine for setting the plot in motion, but I’m mainly here for all the combinations and permutations.

I give Avengers: Infinity War 4 Infinity Stones out of 5 “Shocking” Deaths.