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‘Avengers: Infinity War’ (spoiler-free) review: Epic superhero movie sets new bar

WATCH: 'Avengers: Infinity War' trailer

Avengers: Infinity War is undoubtedly a first.

Packed to the rafters with Marvel superheroes, there is hardly space to breathe in this epic, gargantuan 2.5-hour spectacle. Along with the dense plot, there are special effects to match. Spellbinding, sweeping views of various locales — among them the gorgeous Wakanda — whisk the audience away into another world, quite literally.

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In broad strokes, the main plot follows the movie’s villain, Thanos (Josh Brolin), as he goes on a universe-wide hunt for the six Infinity Stones. He seeks to bring “balance” to the universe, which unfortunately means wiping out half of its population to make it more sustainable.

Standing between him and his end-goal are the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy and their many, many comrades, brought together by their common mission to save every living species. Without spoiling, that’s the gist.

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Do we get to see a lot of every superhero?

Every major character from the Marvel movies (minus one or two folks) gets their time to shine. Certain superheroes like Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and the Guardians (Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel as Groot, et al) seem to have more screen time than others, but it’s not a bad thing.

It’s absolutely masterful how the characters’ stories interweave almost seamlessly, to the point that nothing feels jarring or out-of-place. Even when we’re jumping from one disparate story to another, there’s a teeny thread connecting them. The end result is this massive movie tome, a collection of tales combined to tell a bigger story.

How is Thanos as a villain?

Some critics are saying that Thanos is a better villain than Killmonger from Black Panther. That’s taking it a little too far, but it’s not to say Thanos isn’t great in his own right. The beauty of both Thanos and Killmonger is they are complex villains rather than the traditional moustache-twirling, one-note baddie. They have the weight of their pasts driving their motivations, and pesky emotions getting in the way of their evil plans.

Despite the fact that Brolin is virtually unrecognizable as Thanos, human-like emotion seeps through the effects, and towards the middle of the movie, he is very much a three-dimensional character, one we can possibly empathize with.

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I assume there is end-to-end action?

You assume correctly! The movie barely slows down. There are a few dialogue-heavy scenes scattered throughout, but for the most part, everyone’s either running, jumping, fighting or flying. After I watched until the end of the credits (I do recommend staying, though not before taking a bathroom break; don’t worry, you’ll have at least five-seven minutes to do so), I left the theatre feeling like I’d been in a wind tunnel.

A personal guarantee: No one can see this movie without being surprised at least once.

So what’s the bottom line?

Fun for the kids and adults, Avengers: Infinity War is a modern superhero masterpiece. Instead of suffering from its loaded cast and plot, the opposite happens. It’s a feat by directors Anthony and Joe Russo, along with an A-plus production team, that this dense movie didn’t veer into disaster.

In an era when ensemble casts frequently sabotage movies with their egos and pushes for screen time, this is an enjoyable, pleasant surprise, a feeling of coming together to confront and defeat adversity.

‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is now playing in theatres.

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