We can say this much for Thanos. For the greatest villain in all the universe -- a tyrant whose chin might be lumps of grape mashed potatoes scored with a fork to resemble Devil's Tower -- he's got some ideas that aren't all that bad: He aims to blink away half the population of existence. When he announced this, not too long into Avengers: Infinity War, I admit to thinking about the film's running time and daydreaming that he might vacate his asteroid lair for the editing bay.
Infinity War does claim a body count, the specifics of which, I'm happy to report, fans probably won't guess. As the third Avengers film, it has an air of senior year about it: There are some drearily solemn speeches, but you'll remember the blowouts, and there's plenty of time to wonder which of these faces you'll see again. This epic, the first of two final Avengers films, finds the Class of '12 -- the core Avengers -- getting together for one last rager, joined by select newbies and spazzes from the ranks of sophomores.
The biggest surprise here is that much of Infinity War fairly zips along, as directors Joe and Anthony Russo and their armies of previz teams and editors cut between dozens of competing characters and cliffhangers. The second biggest surprise, after many spectacular faceoffs and showdowns, is the ending, about which I'll just say this: I didn't see it coming -- literally. I thought there must still be half an hour of fighting to go. What higher praise can one give a movie that takes all day than, "I got caught up enough that I didn't notice how much day it had taken"?