The Avengers team takes a swift kick to their remarkably muscular collective ass via a super baddie named Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, likely the best big blockbuster time you will have at the cinemas this summer movie season. While Marvel movies have been on a nice roll lately (Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarok, Captain America: Civil War), the last “Avengers” movie, Avengers: Age of Ultron, was a misguided, boring dud. This third installment—the first of a two-parter, with the second to be released next summer—lets it all hang out with a massive collection of characters and a scary sense of impending doom. There are many, many storylines at play servicing many superheroes and villains. Infinity War feels like the Magnolia of Marvel movies in that it takes all of those storylines and balances them in a cohesive, vastly entertaining manner. It’s over two-and-a-half hours long, but it’s never even close to boring. The balancing act is performed by directors Anthony and Joe Russo, the team that made Captain America: Civil War such a winner. The magic of that film carries over into this one, which picks up directly after the end of Thor: Ragnarok. That film ended with Thor and his fellow Asgardians feeling somewhat triumphant after losing their planet after defeating emo Cate Blanchett. A mid-credits scene saw their ship coming face to face with one owned by the mighty Thanos (Josh Brolin). In one of the great performance-capture achievements, Brolin is the best of monsters, one who manages just enough of a sensitive side that he falls well short of stereotype. At one turn, when he’s obliterating planets and torturing horrified people under his large feet, he’s one holy terror. Then, he’ll shed a tear that shows there’s a big, obviously misguided heart pumping in his Infinity Stone-seeking chest. He’s much more complicated than your average CGI character.

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