Marvel’s new blockbuster is one of the most expensive films of all time ($300 million), where the Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, and many more team up together to stop the almighty “Mad Titan” Thanos (Josh Brolin) from collecting all six Infinity Stones and ruling the universe.  Despite an enormous cast and epic storyline, we care about every one of the characters (even the villains). Sure: it’s a hyper-commercial blockbuster multi-movie tie-in, but — remarkably — it doesn’t feel like that.

One of the film’s defining qualities is its humour. The bro rivalry between Thor, God of Thunder (Chris Hemsworth) and Peter “Star-Lord” Quill (Chris Pratt) is particularly well observed, but there are many more moments of typically tongue-in-cheek Marvel humour from Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Spider-Man (Tom Holland), and others: it’s worth watching in the cinema to hear the full force of the audience response. Each franchise has its own distinct look and feel, some more serious, some more jokey, yet the interaction between them all is still remarkably seamless and natural.

Having said that, the movie is far more than an in-joke fest for fans. The central threat — the destruction of the universe — feels very real, thanks to a brilliant central performance by Brolin as Thanos (albeit in CGI) with writing (Christopher Markus; Stephen McFeely) that humanises him and helps us to understand his terrifying motives. The depiction of Thanos’ increasing powers of destruction is extremely imaginative and often shocking. The visual effects are beautifully designed and rich in variety as we traverse the universe, but sadly — Star Wars is bucking the trend here — a CGI fest, sometimes lacking heft or realism.

The original title was Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1, and to say the film ends on a cliff-hanger is an understatement. While the movie is perfect for kids in many ways, there is a grave undercurrent of darkness, and the unresolved ending may prove upsetting for some. But the film is a blockbuster masterpiece in its own right, and hopefully a promise of great things to come.

Avengers: Infinity War holds the record for the highest-grossing weekend opening of all time, and playing in cinemas everywhere now.

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