Avengers: Infinity War Reviews: It's Both Amazing and Exhausting

The first reviews for Marvel's decade-in-the-making epic are in, and critics are mostly impressed.

by | April 25, 2018 | Comments

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

After 10 years and 18 movies leading up to this, Avengers: Infinity War continues Marvel’s winning streak. Once again Certified Fresh, the studio delivers another crowdpleaser with its cinematic universe crossover. While its Rotten Tomatoes score is not as high as the last few installments (as of this writing, it’s a favorable 86%), the superhero epic is being celebrated for what it achieves with so much going on. But it’s also being criticized by some as being too much.

Here’s a balanced breakdown of the Avengers: Infinity War reviews:

How does it compare to other Marvel movies?

The latest Marvel event is Civil War on steroids.
Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist

In many aspects…the best that the MCU has offered yet.
Clayton Davis, Awards Circuit

I would be lying if I pretended this movie ever grabbed me the way the best MCU movies did.
Matt Singer, ScreenCrush

Avengers: Infinity War may be the biggest Marvel Cinematic Universe movie thus far, but it is nowhere near the best.
Scott Mendelson, Forbes

How does it compare to other movies in general?

This is pure entertainment on a scale never before seen in cinema.
George Simpson, Daily Express

This is event cinema at its best and most ambitious.
Amanda Keats, HeyUGuys

[It has] the largest-scale onscreen fight I can recall since the Battle of Helm’s Deep in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
Alex Abad-Santos, Vox

This may be the most spectacular movie since Star Wars.
– Brian Salisbury, Film School Rejects

This is the Empire Strikes Back of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
– Drew McWeeny, Nerdist

Avengers: Infinity War basically takes The Empire Strikes Back model and chucks it out the window. This is pretty much as dark as Marvel gets.
– John Byrne, RTE

Comparable in its giddy, cliffhanging breathlessness to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1.
– Keith Uhlich, Slant Magazine

The best example I can think of is Back to the Future Part II.
– Mike Ryan, Uproxx

Avengers Infinity War isn’t really anything you could call a movie—it’s more of a fulfillment center.
– Stephanie Zacharek, Time

This isn’t a movie. It’s a marketing convergence seminar.
– Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

What does the movie do best?

The best thing about Avengers: Infinity War is, in many ways, the best thing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole: an incredibly charming and almost overqualified ensemble cast.
Josh Spiegel, Slashfilm

What is so truly impressive about this film is how utterly collaborative it is…there is nobody who stands out above the rest.
Amanda Keats, HeyUGuys

There are some amazing Saturday-morning-kids-show moments when you really do feel like cheering.
Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

How well does it juggle everything?

As a virtuoso juggling act, Infinity War has no real parallel in popular culture.
Eric Kohn, IndieWire

Infinity War is a brashly entertaining jamboree, structured to show off each hero or heroine and give them just enough to do, and to update their mythologies without making it all feel like homework.
Owen Gleiberman, Variety

The extended scenes of comic banter, no less than the wittily executed action sequences, are master classes in multitasking. The interlocking subplots are juggled with skill and economy.
Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

The mood swings are a little bit psycho. The Russos don’t have the finesse to pull them off.
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

 How are the performances?

Many… are delivering their finest acting in these characters that we’ve seen yet.
Clayton Davis, Awards Circuit

The actors do what they can with tidbits of exchanges at their disposal as the movie flips through the channels.
– Eric Kohn, IndieWire

How is the villain?

Josh Brolin’s monstrous supervillain brings to Marvel not only a fear-of-God adversary, but tonal darkness that inches closer to direness than ever before.
– Matt Donato, We Got This Covered

The biggest surprise of all may be that the most outlandish-looking Marvel villain is also its most complex and layered one, which simply wouldn’t be possible without the film’s synthesis of script, direction, performance, and visual effects.
– Bryan Bishop, The Verge

In his bulk, baldness and amoral vision, he isn’t too far removed from Marlon Brando’s Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now.
– Rafer Guzman, Newsday

Ultimately, Thanos is just a bland sociopath… It also doesn’t help that Avengers: Infinity War can’t seem to make up its mind about how powerful Thanos is.
– Alonso Duralde, The Wrap

Are the stakes… well done?

Finally, in Infinity War, the stakes are high and no one is safe.
– Brian Salisbury, Film School Rejects

Every clawing battle makes you feel like you have to prepare for tragedy, and there are multiple sequences where you feel your heart sink so deep in your chest that it’s practically hitting spine.
– Eric Eisenberg, CinemaBlend

The stakes are high enough, but the threat of Thanos, even after all the buildup, never feels that threatening.
– Josh Spiegel, Slashfilm

Can there be such a thing as too many stakes? The way it does pan out just kind of left me thinking, I don’t believe this result for a second (and, frankly, I don’t think we’re supposed to).
– Mike Ryan, Uproxx

Stakes are high, but are they *sincerely* capitalized on?
– Matt Donato, We Got This Covered

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

How is the humor?

The good news is that it’s also really, really funny.
– Helen O’Hara, Empire

Muttered gags having to do with Ben and Jerry’s flavors, jaunty references to the fact that two Marvel heroes are actually insects, knowing asides uttered by wisecracking raccoons… [It] wants us to laugh—but it will decide when it’s OK to poke fun, not you.
– Stephanie Zacharek, Time

The non-stop quips and attempts at humor occur on the regular even when serious circumstances are unfolding. It was a minor issue in Thor: Ragnarok, but it’s near-fatal here.
– Scott Mendelson, Forbes

The sense of humor that was infectious in the two Guardians films and Thor: Ragnarok is back here, but to a smaller degree.
– Jordan Ruimy, World of Reel

 What are the big complaints?

With so many characters to shoehorn in and so many realms of the galaxy to put out various fires in… it ends up feeling a bit too disjointed – like we’re flipping the channels between four different movies instead of watching one cohesive one.
Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly

Midway through, all these different settings and all these jumps begin to feel exhausting.
Alex Abad-Santos, Vox

The solution that Infinity War devises to get them all into one movie is that it doesn’t; there’s a sequel coming, for which this film is in some ways a two-hour-plus trailer.
Alonso Duralde, The Wrap

Will it leave you unsatisfied?

This installment can’t realistically be considered as a complete, well-rounded film. And this Part 1, like many before it, suffers because of it.
– Mara Reinstein, Us Weekly

Like gorging on tapas: You wind up both overstuffed and unsatisfied.
Sam Adams, Slate

The ending could be polarizing, but it’s built in part on the trust Marvel enjoys with its fan base.
Brian Lowry, CNN

Biblical in both its force and its delicacy. But it’s way too little too late.
Stephanie Zacharek, Time

It’s a unique, exceptional achievement that somehow leaves you both fully satisfied and desperate for more.
Eric Eisenberg, CinemaBlend

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

Is this one just for the fans?

Let’s be clear, Infinity War is a movie for the fans.
Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly

Whether you look at this whirling dervish and see a gleefully grandiose entertainment or a depressing exemplar of the culturally degraded present moment will depend on your investment — in all senses of that term — in Marvel’s carefully cultivated mythos.
Keith Uhlich, Slant Magazine

If you’re a fan of these characters and you’re invested in their fates, there’s plenty of thrills in watching them team up, and zing each other with witty banter…But you better be really invested.
Matt Singer, ScreenCrush

A stream of adjectives to sum it up:

Demanding, heartbreaking, exhilarating, massive and dense.
Germain Lussier, io9

Brisk, propulsive, occasionally rousing and borderline-gutsy.
Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

Avengers: Infinity War opens everywhere on Friday, April 27. Read all the reviews for it here.

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