Avengers: Infinity Wars: after eighteen films, and at least one television series of this shared universe, where most of those were either character introductions or a setup for this film, Anthony and Joe Russo at last deliver the (partial) payoff. (Mild generic spoilers are unavoidable going forward.) However, with so many moving parts and characters (a glimpse at the colorful poster gives an idea), it’s not surprising how bloated this is; there is simply not enough time to give proper focus to any particular sub-set of super-heroes, let alone all characters present; they mostly feel filler. It doesn’t help matters that any knowledge of the franchises (past and future) essentially reduces the stakes, which makes all the action scenes visually very busy, but tiresome and irrelevant. The whole cast has vast experience playing their characters (Mark Ruffalo and the newfound comic vein for his may be the major exception here), but the overcrowd makes it hard for anyone to shine here; the voice work of Josh Brolin is notable for its welcome lack of fireworks. The film is aptly shot and its craft has the usual polish: editors Jeffrey Ford and Matthew Schmidt do their best to jump between the many storylines and locations, but are also overwhelmed by their numbers, while the musical score of Alan Silvestri tries very hard to forge an emotional connection with the situation, without success.
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