If you love all things Marvel, you’re going to see the cavalcade of stars that is Avengers: Infinity War no matter how anyone in the media feels about it. You don’t need to have your interest validated by film critics or comic fans.  In fact, I’m adding a comic book designation in my rating system akin to “TEFLON” called “VIBRANIUM”, and this new release, which already broke all records for advanced ticket sales, definitely qualifies.  That being said, there are two things fans must know that are essential to the enjoyment of this movie.

1. This represents only half the story.  Think of it as the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 of the Marvel Universe. Like Deathly Hallows, it isn’t all fun and games. It’s fun and games and potential death.

2. The whole movie is either superheroes gathering, meeting, and preparing for battle, or the very long, complicated battle itself. There’s little more plot than that, but you’ve been prepared for this through 18 movies featuring Marvel characters.  Thanos has been coming for a while now.  He’s here.

If Marvel fans walk into theaters with those two basics in mind, they’ll have a great time. If they go in expecting the complexity and balance of Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarok, or even Guardians of the Galaxy 2, that’s not what this is about.  It’s war, and busies itself with the preparation and execution of same.

The set-up does involve introductions of characters from the many franchises, which is one of the most entertaining aspects of the film. So too is the spectacle of Chris Evans’ latest coiffure, which should have its own screen credit.  One does notice how similarly designed Iron Man, Star-Lord, Dr. Strange, and Thor are in their egotism, but the screenwriters do play with that in their interactions. With this many stars in one place, it is inevitable that some will get less screen time, and those who favor Captain America, Hulk, and Black Widow will not get much satisfaction on that front.  Those with Gamora, Doctor Strange, or Thor at the top of their list will be pleased with their visibility and the pivotal parts they play in the (limited) plot.

Accompanying this movie, there should be an easing of judgment for DC Comics films, since the lion’s share of complaints from Marvel fans centers around the darkness of their storylines and the protracted battles that take place in them.  What’s an A+ for one studio can’t be a D- for another.  Argue the relative merits of the Marvel vs. DC cinematic universes all you want, but call it preference.  That’s what it is.

Comic books and the movies based on them are really just another version of soap operas and there’s nothing wrong with that.  Viewers should bear that in mind when they are sitting gape-mouthed at the end credits, which of course they should sit through.  Just like soap operas, there’s always the chance of brain transplants, or whatever the equivalent of that is in comic books.  Also remember to bring tissues.

4 out of 5 stars