‘Avengers: Infinity War’ review: A marvelous team-up movie

Avengers: Infinity War

Directed by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Josh Brolin, Mark Ruffalo, Benedict Cumberbatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Tom Hiddleston, Peter Dinklage, Benedict Wong, Idris Elba, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillen, Pom Klementieff, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Gwyneth Paltrow, Terry Notary, Carrie Coon and voices of Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper

Rated PG-13

Those looking for resolution will likely be disappointed by “Avengers: Infinity War.”

Those looking for a massive, all-out battle, all your favorite heroes teaming up and a menacing villain, will leave the theater cheering.

The culmination of 18 previous Marvel movies over the past decade, “Infinity War” is a massive endeavor, in scope, in cast, in repercussions. And fret not, there are no spoilers here.

Thanos, the rocky-faced purple Titan who we’ve seen in drips and drabs in some of the previous films, is front and center here. He’s on the search for powerful Infinity Stones for his golden gauntlet.

Viewers of previous films have encountered some of these, noticeably as the stone on Loki’s scepter, the stone Ronan was seeking in the first “Guardians of the Galaxy” film and the green stone in Doctor Strange’s amulet.

Standing in his way are 18 movies’ worth of superheroes. They fight across the globe and deep in space, and fight and fight and fight.

Directing brothers Anthony and Joe Russo — who previously helmed “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Civil War” — working from a script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, have the task of keeping things moving while balancing a massive cast and even more massive expectations.

It was an especially daunting task having to follow the amazing “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Black Panther,” which took the Marvel movies to a new level.

“Infinity War” succeeds by going huge. Even the runtime is long, clocking in at more than two-and-a-half hours.

It’s a movie made for the big screen and it takes advantage of that with large vista shots of Wakandan armies and enormous spaceships.

The oversized personalities get to shine, with great character moments from Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Star-Lord (Chris Pine) and Gamora (Zoe Saldana). And the humor is legit funny, with a barrage of quippy one-liners.

Finally, villains don’t get much bigger than Thanos. The 12-foot-tall Titan with dreams of being a god has designs on “balance,” which, translated through his warped perspective, means eliminating half the universe’s population. Josh Brolin, giving a motion-captured performance, delivers nuanced work that is emotional and complex — almost gentle at times.

The glaring issue here is that you’re getting half a movie. The film was originally titled “Avengers: Infinity War — Part 1” when first revealed in 2014. A few years later, the “Part 1” was dropped and the title of the fourth “Avengers” movie, likely coming in 2019, became a secret. But middle movies — like “The Empire Strikes Back” — can be among the best in a series. Just know that you’re going to have to wait to see what happens.

The Marvel movie experiment of building a massive shared universe — long a staple of the comics they’re derived from — has proved to be beyond successful. “Infinity War” amps this up to the next level, and does it quite successfully. Hopefully, the filmmakers behind the MCU will continue to take chances and experiment with the next 18 films.