It's as good as can be with an overcrowded character stew
OK, let's get this out of the way. “Avengers: Infinity War” gets three stars from me. Out of five. That means I think it's good. Not great, but good, and given the circumstances I explain below, about as good as it could be.
Yes, I get that you loved it. No, my opinion doesn't make yours wrong.
I certainly can't fault “Infinity War” for a lack of entertainment, but it's also a testament to much of what's wrong with our Marvel-laden cinemascope.
This is the first of a two-part crescendo of stories and characters that have arced over 18 (yes, 18!) movies in the past decade. And it's included some of the best superhero movies ever made.
To paraphrase Lauren Wilson's future husband Jeff Goldblum in “Jurassic Park,” they were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should.
“Infinity War” is a movie with 24 characters on its poster. It's 2 hours and 40 minutes long. It's a movie unlike anything that's ever been attempted, and in some ways, we see why.
Of course, only one of these characters really develops at all in this movie, and that's the grandest, baddest baddie the Marvel Cinematic Universe has ever had: Thanos (a computer-generated creation given life by a fine performance from Josh Brolin).
But for our core Avengers, plus their newest allies, we get mostly too many spinning plates. Love stories from past movies play key roles in events, but there's not much to feel here. The distribution of things is so diplomatic you could almost hear Oprah narrating the screenplay with: “You get a line! And you get a line! Everybody gets a line!”
And yet, most everyone in the theater will also get their money's worth.
Directors Anthony and Joe Russo helm a film with a massive budget and eye-popping effects. The star power of the cast is a force of its own. There's humor and the sort of thrills you get so lost in, it doesn't matter if you're disoriented.
But the movie somehow manages to feel rushed at some points and drag on in others. That runtime doesn't make it a kid-friendly movie, but my watch checks became a little too frequent.
Most disappointingly, the only connection we feel with any of these heroes comes from other movies.
This point becomes particularly apparent upon the film's climax (it's only been one weekend, so no spoilers). I was struck by how much it should have made me feel. And struck by how little I actually did.
It's the characters that got us here, and these movies have been built upon great ones. But when they're reduced to a collage, all we've got is the ride.
I hope for a satisfying conclusion next year, but I also hope we move on. There are more stories to tell.