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Avengers: Infinity War: What The Critics Are Saying

After months of counting down the days until its launch, an agonizing hold-out for the first official trailer, endless speculation about what might happen and unrelenting fear that fan-favorite heroes would bite the bullet, and a Where's Waldo? hunt for Hawkeye, and Avengers: Infinity War is here.

The apotheosis of 10 years of Marvel Cinematic Universe successes and a few sort-of stumbles, the Joe and Anthony Russo-directed superhero ensemble pic has clearly been highly anticipated, but is it worth the wait (and the blood, sweat, and tears the cast and crew poured into it), and does it live up to the otherworldly buzz that has surrounded it since day one?

Marvel lifted the review embargo for Avengers: Infinity War on Tuesday, breaking the levy that held in critics' thoughts, feelings, analyses, and hot takes. Now that full-fledged reviews of the film are out, fans have a better understanding of the answer to those aforementioned questions. 

Based on the reviews thus far, it appears that yes, Avengers: Infinity War is just as monumental as Marvel Studios promised — but it's also not quite everything some have hoped it would be. While critics are applauding Infinity War for its surprising twists, high-octane action sequences, genuine moments of sincerity, tangible stakes (a huge deal in the sometimes too-cushy MCU), and affecting emotionality, they're also finding fault with its structure and certain aspects that leave viewers hanging.

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave a keen summary of Avengers: Infinity War, and argued that the film's massive cast and chaotic feel works to its advantage. "Not infinity perhaps, but a really really big finity war. Colossal, cataclysmic, delirious, preposterous — and always surreally entertaining in the now well-established Marvel movie tradition. It's a gigantic showdown between a force of cosmic wickedness and a chaotically assembled super team of Marvel superheroes," he wrote. "These superheroes crammed into one movie should trigger the law of diminishing returns and the Traveling Wilbury effect. And yet somehow in its pure uproariousness, it works. It's just a supremely watchable film, utterly confident in its self-created malleable mythology. And confident also in the note of apocalyptic darkness. I know it's silly. And yet I can't help looking forward to the next supersized episode of mayhem."

Variety's Owen Gleiberman felt much the same, writing, "Avengers: Infinity War, a.k.a. 'What If Marvel Threw a Superhero Party and Everyone Came?,' feels like a movie that the American Entertainment State had to get out of its system." However, he notes the movie is far from "a jumbled, top-heavy mess of cynical franchise overkill ... like the bloated and chaotic Avengers: Age of Ultron taken to the second power." Instead, it's "a sleekly witty action opera that's at once overstuffed and bedazzling."

IndieWire's Eric Kohn pointed out in his review the unpredictable nature of the film: "Avengers: Infinity War is jumbled but never messy, speeding forward with fits and starts but plenty of calculation. In our cluttered information age, when online fan theories threaten to ruin every plot twist, Infinity War shows a marked determination to speed ahead of audience expectations; it's so fast-paced that no single viewer could possibly anticipate the next move, even as individual sequences reek of familiarity."

Angie Han of Mashable wrote that while "Infinity War's very structure makes it feel like the less than the sum of its parts" and that some characters are spotlighted more than others, fans shouldn't "stress about it too much." After all, "there's always Avengers 4."

But it was Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter who perhaps best captured the essence of Avengers: Infinity War and what it means for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: "This grand, bursting-at-the-seams wrap-up to one crowded realm of the Marvel superhero universe starts out as three parts jokes, two parts dramatic juggling act, and one part deterministic action ... Marvel (and Disney, of course) has returned with another of the most expensive films ever made that will pull off another of the biggest commercial hauls of all time. This franchise isn't going away anytime soon."

Thankfully for fans, it won't be too long before they can craft their own reviews of Avengers: Infinity War. The film will launch in theaters on Friday, April 27.