* * * * A
After the slightly disappointing Avengers: Age of Ultron, I went into Infinity War with somewhat low expectations. One of the things that hurt Captain America: Civil War was the massive number of characters, each requiring screen time, which made the movie seem thin in places. I feared that, with Infinity War including Thor, Dr. Strange, Black Panther, and the Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as uber villain Thanos, it wouldn’t be able to do justice to any of them. The film did surprisingly well at balancing the plot threads and giving all of the avengers strong roles.
Another problem I’ve had with some Marvel films, particularly with Black Panther, is that the third act tends to be a big action set piece, and at the end, all the loose ends are neatly tied up, the good guys win, and the bad guys are put in their place. Without spoiling the ending, this is not the case in Infinity War. Though some may find the ending disconcerting, I thought it was a breath of fresh air, and left me wanting to see more.
The main plot threads each combine an Avenger with a different team of heroes. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) teams up with Dr. Strange, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) with Rocket Raccoon and Groot, and Cap (Chris Evans) with the Black Panther. Thanos (Josh Brolin) also has a major plot line, making him a well realized character with compelling motivation to do the terrible things he does.
The next Avengers movie will be released next year. I sure hope it will be able to complete this story arc in as satisfying a way as this film began it. Hopefully, the people responsible for the DC cinematic universe will take a look at how this film was done before attempting another Justice League film.