Critics Consensus

Avengers: Infinity War Is Certified Fresh

Plus, season 2 of The Handmaid's Tale is also Certified Fresh.

by | April 26, 2018 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we’ve got a whole bunch of friends from work teaming up to prevent a powerful madman from bedazzling his glove (Avengers: Infinity War, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans). What are the critics saying?

Avengers: Infinity War (2018) 85%

After a decade of increasingly interwoven narratives spread across 18 films — and a preposterous global box office total approaching $15 billion — it’s clear that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is not only arguably the most ambitious gambit a film studio has made in our lifetimes, it’s also one of the most wildly successful. It all comes to a head — sort of — in this weekend’s Avengers: Infinity War, which assembles an impressively crowded roster of Marvel’s mightiest heroes to do battle against Thanos, the big purple menace who’s been looming over the MCU horizon for years. So momentous is this conflict, in fact, that it’s destined to unravel over a pair of films: Infinity War is really just the official opening salvo, with the story set to finally conclude — more or less — with the next Avengers installment, scheduled for next May.

All of which to say that there’s an awful lot going on here — in terms of the galaxy-spanning storyline as well as the sheer logistics of wrangling the array of nested franchises that support the MCU — and there’s a lot on the line for Marvel, including Infinity War‘s eye-watering budget and the blockbuster reputation the whole saga has earned thus far. Expectations are incredibly high, and anything other than one of the year’s biggest hits is bound to be seen as a disappointment. It seems like a foregone conclusion that the Avengers (or whatever’s left of them at the end of the next movie) are destined to beat Thanos, but can they live up to their own hype?

The answer, according to critics, is “yeah, more or less.” While the reviews for Infinity War don’t rank among the most rapturous write-ups earned by an MCU outing, it’s still Certified Fresh in the high 80s — an impressive feat in and of itself for a movie that needs 156 minutes and an incredibly crowded canvas just to get viewers to the precipice of the main event. A number of reviews describe the sheer spectacle of it all as too much of a good thing, while others — as is pretty much par for the course with Marvel movies — point to the slick efficiency of the storytelling as further evidence that this is a cinematic universe built on formula instead of soul.

While those quibbles are worth noting, they’re minority objections among a critical consensus that presents Avengers: Infinity War as yet another solidly satisfying entry in a series of films that’s drawn on decades of comics history to build a cinematic empire unrivaled in its interconnected scope. All empires crumble eventually, and at some point, the MCU’s incredible hot streak is bound to cool. It isn’t happening this weekend, though — your local cineplex is going to be stuffed full of people out to see Avengers: Infinity War, and it’ll be taking its shiny Certified Fresh credentials all the way to the top of the box office.

What’s New on TV

The Handmaid's Tale: Season 2 (2018) 89%

Beautifully shot but dishearteningly relevant, The Handmaid’s Tale centers its sophomore season tightly around its compelling cast of characters, making room for broader social commentary through more intimate lenses.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Let the Sunshine In (2017) , a Claire Denis drama about a divorced woman (Juliette Binoche) starting over in her love life, is Certified Fresh at 91%.
  • Disobedience (2017) , starring Rachels Weisz and McAdams in the story of two women who rekindle their attraction decades after it caused painful tumult in their community, is Certified Fresh at 90%.
  • Ava (2017) , a drama about an Iranian girl’s struggles to cope with the restrictions of her culture, is at 83%.
  • In the Last Days of the City (2016) , a drama about an Egyptian filmmaker weathering political unrest in modern Cairo, is at 82%.
  • The House of Tomorrow (2017) , about a sheltered 16-year-old boy at a crucial crossroads, is at 70%.
  • Duck Butter (2018) , starring Alia Shawkat and Laia Costa as two women who strike an immediate spark and begin a passionate relationship, is at 47%.
  • Backstabbing for Beginners (2018) , a political thriller about a young UN worker investigating his predecessor’s murder, is at 40%.
  • Modern Life Is Rubbish (2017) , about a pair of music industry professionals dealing with the end of their long-term relationship, is at 25%.
  • Supercon (2018) , a comedy about a trio of low-level comic convention attractions who team up to discredit a more popular star after he has them banned, is at 22%.
  • Kings (2017) , a period drama starring Halle Berry and Daniel Craig as residents of Los Angeles during the Rodney King trial, is at 7%.