Avengers: Infinity War, the 19th installment to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, manages to become the most emotional addition to the franchise so far. It's a step further than we ever expected a superhero franchise to go, not only proving that we love seeing superheroes in action, but finally revealing how much we, for whatever reason, have grown to love the heroes themselves. We don't want to lose any of them, which makes this sequel where all of their lives are at stake into such an emotional roller coaster.
While myself and most of the others in the audience were emotionally hit by the stakes during the movie's first poignant moments, I can't help but think of the other members of the audience who may not have been as emotionally hooked. The entire essence of Infinity War rides off of the assumption that we know everyone in the movie, which may not work for casual fans. Most movie sequels are designed to make sure that people can pick up the movie without needing to see the first movies beforehand and still have the same experience, but unfortunately Infinity War falls flat in this regard. While it still manages to give an emotional experience, even for those who haven't seen the preceding movies, it still doesn't do much set up, throwing in familiar characters every few minutes assuming that we already know their history.
Another factor that drags Infinity War down is the vast amount of characters. While directors Anthony and Joe Russo certainly did the best they could with juggling their 20+ main characters, the variety still made the movie drag quite a bit. There are six or seven plots going on at the same time throughout the duration of the movie. While it did cut in between the different stories rather well, it left too much space between some scenes, considering how fluent all of the action was supposed to be moving. One minute you think the story is about Iron Man and Spider-Man on an alien spaceship, but then it cuts away and we don't see them again for another 20 minutes. However, the way it was pieced together was still remarkable, despite the overcrowding.
Regardless of these two negative factors, Avengers: Infinity War is still a phenomenal movie. By the third act, all of the numerous plots finally converge into a truly remarkable finale that we are completely hooked into. Infinity War may be the first movie to bring together so many protagonists into one movie, but it also may go down in history as the best one to do it.
Before going into the movie, I heard many complaints that it only felt like half of a movie, and that it left Infinity War on a sudden cliffhanger. Because of this, I expected a Walking Dead-style cliffhanger ending. I was fortunately wrong about this expectation. The movie manages to feel like one complete story arc, even if it's not as formulaic as previous Marvel narratives. Without revealing the events of the movie, Infinity War does have a central protagonist who goes through the entire "Hero's Journey," even if it's not the journey we were expecting to see.
All in all, Avengers: Infinity War pans out to be one of the best releases from Marvel Studios, and arguably one of the best superhero movies ever made. No superhero movie in history has managed to bring out this level of emotion from the audience. It's a story about sacrifice, survival, companionship, and realizing the greater good. All of the characters manage to shine in this remarkably well told narrative.