'Avengers: Infinity War' delivers spectacle worthy of giant hype

Marvel has set the hype bar high even by its standards with "Avengers: Infinity War," a massive assembly of practical...

Posted: Apr 25, 2018 5:53 PM
Updated: Apr 25, 2018 5:53 PM

Marvel has set the hype bar high even by its standards with "Avengers: Infinity War," a massive assembly of practically every hero in its cinematic portfolio, representing the culmination of a decade's worth of groundwork. As sheer spectacle the movie amply delivers, hitting the ground running (and punching and leaping), in a gigantic enterprise that colorfully unfolds simultaneously on multiple fronts.

Directing brothers Anthony and Joe Russo mounted what amounts to a trial run for this assignment on "Captain America: Civil War," which also juggled a double-digit assortment of characters. In hindsight, though, that movie -- thus far one of Marvel's best -- feels relatively modest compared to an event-like showcase filled with Avengers old and new, along with the Guardians of the Galaxy, as the battle spreads across the universe.

It obviously requires a sizable threat to justify all that man, woman and more exotic power (android, raccoon, tree), and the movie tapped the right one in Thanos (Josh Brolin), a brutish figure bent on acquiring the infinity stones, magical objects that will enable him to perpetrate galactic genocide.

In a dazzling opening sequence, the directors and writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely serve notice as to just how formidable Thanos is, as well as how high the stakes are. (It's probably worth pausing here to say those tempted to take young children to the movie would be advised to see it first, not only because of differing thresholds toward mayhem but also due to the length, which exceeds 2 - hours.)

Perhaps in part because of those aforementioned stones and their ability to bend time, space and reality, the master sorcerer Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) plays a significant role, augmented by his interactions with Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland).

Then again, the filmmakers derive much of the fun from creatively pairing characters in unexpected ways, yielding a good deal of comedy to lighten the operatic highs, which range from noble sacrifice to the lingering peril of wanton death and destruction.

What "Infinity War" accomplishes, with surprising ease, is complete immersion in this elaborate world, reflecting how deft Marvel has been in assembling it. Where Superman promised "You will believe a man can fly" 40 years ago, the Marvel universe has made talking raccoons and villains that instantly travel across the galaxy seem wholly organic.

Without giving anything away, the ending could be polarizing, but it's built in part on the trust Marvel enjoys with its fan base, established through the long game the company plays with its interlocking series of movies.

Besides, if everyone leaves the theater in complete agreement, from a storytelling perspective, you're probably not trying hard enough. And it's worth remembering the next Avengers sequel has already been announced for a little over a year from now.

Marvel and Disney's accountants likely still haven't shed their euphoria over "Black Panther" receipts, and whatever the quibbles, this won't do anything to quell anticipation for what comes next.

Related: 'Avengers: Infinity War' assembling for possible historic box office

With another record-breaking haul in sight, hese 2018 titles merely underscore the laps that parent Disney's movie arm appears to be running around the rest of the industry, not just with Marvel, but the acquisition of Lucasfilm and its own library. (Disclosure: My wife works for a division of Disney.)

Granted, nitpicking and grousing can go with trying to satisfy such an ardent fan base, but the benefit lies in having movies in which people feel heavily invested and are clamoring to see. In today's theatrical environment, that's the definition of a high-class problem.

"Avengers: Infinity War" opens April 27. It's rated PG-13.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 313942

Reported Deaths: 7240
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21580258
Hinds20330415
Harrison17879309
Rankin13594278
Jackson13429246
Madison10088217
Lee9970174
Jones8370163
Forrest7670152
Lauderdale7188241
Lowndes6387146
Lamar622486
Lafayette6184118
Washington5332133
Bolivar4801132
Oktibbeha462198
Panola4582106
Pearl River4506146
Marshall4435103
Warren4386121
Pontotoc420172
Monroe4107133
Union410076
Neshoba4030176
Lincoln3962110
Hancock378486
Leflore3493125
Sunflower335990
Tate333384
Pike3316105
Scott315773
Alcorn312768
Yazoo311469
Itawamba299777
Copiah296865
Coahoma295179
Simpson294988
Tippah288168
Prentiss279760
Adams278782
Marion269080
Leake267473
Wayne262641
Grenada261386
Covington258281
George247848
Newton246261
Winston227081
Tishomingo226667
Jasper221048
Attala214273
Chickasaw207757
Holmes188873
Clay185254
Stone182433
Tallahatchie178541
Clarke177980
Calhoun170532
Yalobusha164238
Smith162334
Walthall133945
Greene130533
Lawrence128524
Montgomery126742
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123042
Carroll121828
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107033
Tunica105226
Claiborne102430
Benton99525
Humphreys96533
Kemper95728
Franklin83623
Quitman80716
Choctaw76318
Wilkinson67230
Jefferson65528
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 531404

Reported Deaths: 10985
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson765501522
Mobile41036805
Madison34789503
Tuscaloosa25788453
Montgomery24340589
Shelby23449249
Baldwin21154308
Lee15882171
Calhoun14511314
Morgan14306279
Etowah13843353
Marshall12232223
Houston10570281
Elmore10068205
Limestone9974151
Cullman9676194
St. Clair9661243
Lauderdale9427241
DeKalb8831186
Talladega8227176
Walker7241277
Autauga6926108
Jackson6814112
Blount6678137
Colbert6306134
Coffee5519119
Dale4838111
Russell441538
Chilton4296112
Franklin426082
Covington4129118
Tallapoosa4023152
Escambia393677
Chambers3573123
Dallas3551152
Clarke351161
Marion3122101
Pike310977
Lawrence300398
Winston274473
Bibb260964
Geneva250477
Marengo249564
Pickens234461
Barbour231057
Hale223077
Butler216069
Fayette212562
Henry188844
Cherokee185245
Randolph180542
Monroe177540
Washington167339
Macon159650
Clay156756
Crenshaw152557
Cleburne148941
Lamar142535
Lowndes138853
Wilcox127130
Bullock122841
Conecuh110529
Perry107726
Coosa107628
Sumter104732
Greene92534
Choctaw60724
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