As the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, a new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos. A despot of intergalactic infamy, his goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones, artifacts of unimaginable power, and use them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality. Everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment - the fate of Earth and existence itself has never been more uncertain.
The Avengers: Infinity War isn't just a gussied-up mediocrity being widely mistaken for a good movie. It's also, at least arguably, a dangerous movie for anyone who cares about the future of American cinema.
Roaring through 160 minutes of action, humor, character development, epic evil and moving nobility, it is darker and edgier, yet lighter and more stirring than anything offered in another superhero franchise.
Infinity War's place in the Avengers saga is much like that of the middle chapters in the Lord of the Rings and Star Wars: It's chief purpose is to leave you hungry for next summer's finale. And that much, it does.
Maybe the quips and the punch-ups are there because they have to be, what with the film's steady parade of failure and even death. Plans fail. Character fails. Even sacrifices fail. It's not exactly refreshing, but it is bracing, and even gratifying.