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The Road to ‘Endgame’ Part 12: What Critics Didn’t Understand About ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

This was more than a movie: it was the experience of a lifetime.

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In the lead-up to the highly anticipated conclusion to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s epic “Infinity Saga”: Avengers: Endgame, we’re taking a look back at the decade-long road it took to get to this point. After 10 years, nearly all of Marvel’s big-screen franchises were thrown into one movie that shook their world – and ours – to its core. Yes, it’s finally time to look back at Avengers: Infinity War.

It goes without saying that this film raised the bar for the MCU yet again. We’d seen six characters from four franchises become a team in The Avengers. We’d seen those same six characters plus more fight together in Avengers: Age of Ultron. And we’d seen characters from the Avengers team mix and mingle with those from other Marvel franchises in Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Thor: Ragnarok. But Avengers: Infinity War was an entirely new level. This movie had nearly all the major characters from nine different franchises, and not just in cameos. That’s right, we were finally getting to see inter-franchise character interactions beyond just the core Avengers (crazy to think that what was once the biggest event in blockbuster history now just feels like small potatoes).

Infinity War was originally announced as a two-part movie, with the first part to be released in 2018 and the second a year later in 2019. While this soon changed to Infinity War and the then-untitled fourth Avengers film, it was an alteration in name only; the story of the former was very clearly set up to be concluded in the latter. This, combined with the capability for the filmmakers to use almost every MCU character introduced in the previous ten years, made Infinity War a unique experience, one that a lot of film critics didn’t seem to comprehend.

Of all the Marvel films, Infinity War was one of if not the MCU installment with the least ability to stand as its own thing. It threw the audience right into the action without much set-up or introductions to the characters and kept the pace tight throughout its entire runtime. What people chastising it for this didn’t understand was that this was not only intentional, but the purpose of the movie. Infinity War was reward for fans who had followed the entire franchise up to that point. It was a comic book movie that actually felt like a comic book. It was the biggest crossover event in onscreen history, and anyone who looked at it any differently was making a mistake and a disservice to everyone that put it together.

Of course, Infinity War was big, but it didn’t quite give us everything we’d been dreaming of. Because of the sheer number of characters, this movie wasn’t able to provide us with a lot of the more quiet and personal moments that made Captain America: Civil War so great, and despite nearly everyone being in the same movie, we didn’t get to see them all in the same scene. But again, this was only the first part of a two-movie crossover event. We’re sure we’ll get lots of character development-heavy scenes in Avengers: Endgame now that the cast has been cut down considerably (thanks Thanos?). And even though many of the heroes are currently out of the picture, a huge showdown with everyone together seems all but inevitable.

Avengers: Infinity War was a rare instance of something in life that is hyped to oblivion and actually lives up to it. Here’s hoping Avengers: Endgame delivers on that same promise.

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