Here is an enthralling superhero spectacle, one supremely clever in making you cry one moment and then laugh the next. There's cataclysmic showdowns, genuine tragedy, and seriously funny one-liners -- all pieced together expertly in this newest addition to the Marvel movies saga.
Now one might say that all that makes "Avengers: Infinity War" sound like it's too similar to its run-of-the-mill predecessors, but this one is much better, thanks to its tremendous villain Thanos (Josh Brolin).
The mad purple titan is ruthless in his pursuit of the infinity stones -- powerful objects that grant its wielder the ability to wipe life with a snap of a finger. He provides the sternest test for our beloved superheroes, who have been -- up until this point -- scraping out victories over the bad guys by the skin of their teeth, and makes their plot armor feel like its made out of cardboard rather than adamantium, which is rare for a comic book film.
This newfound vulnerability is carried wonderfully by the movie's cast, each delivering their look of terror with the same careful skill and thought they give their wisecracks.
It helps that we understand where their fear is coming from, as the movie affords us ample time to invest in their story arcs, particularly those of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), and the love story between Vision (Paul Bettany) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen).
This sense of dread makes the gigantic fights all the more absorbing as we're faced with the realization that our favorites are in danger of some very serious consequences.
For a nitpick, it would be that a few might feel cheated with the movie's abrupt ending, given that Marvel Studios went out of its way to remove "part 1" from its title.
It's important to head to the theaters knowing that there's a second half to this, due out next year. Though if the quality of "Avengers: Infinity War" is any indication of things to come, then it will definitely be worth the long wait.
"Avengers: Infinity War" is now showing in cinemas nationwide.