‘Avengers: Infinity War’ review (spoiler free)

It has been ten years since Samuel L. Jackson surprised fans during the post-credit scene of the first “Iron Man,” telling Robert Downey Jr. about an idea he had to assemble a group of remarkable people. 18 films later and the payoff has arrived.

“Avengers: Infinity War,” directed by the Russo brothers, features nearly every character who’s ever existed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in one film.

That means this one is a long time coming. It also means that you have to be pretty invested in the MCU up until this point. “Avengers: Infinity War” is a love letter to the fans — which means you have to be a fan to enjoy it. If you have disliked every Marvel movie up until this point, don’t expect “Avengers: Infinity War” to be the one that changes your mind.

For everyone who does care about Marvel though, rejoice. “Avengers: Infinity War” is everything you ever hoped it would be and more.

Thanos (Josh Brolin) is coming. He was teased at the end of the first “Avengers” movie back in 2012. He’s finally begun his mission to collect all of the infinity stones (tiny little non-descriptive gems that basically have the power to do anything and everything) so he can reign hellfire down against the entire universe.

That’s where the Avengers come in.

Of course, they’re all split up across the entire galaxy — Tony (Robert Downey Jr.) and Cap (Chris Evans) aren’t talking to each other since “Civil War,” T’Challa and company are all out chilling in Wakanda, and the Guardians plus Thor are off on other planets completely. However, once they learn about the incoming threat, they know it’s time to put their differences aside and take down Thanos once and for all.

“I don’t think there are a lot of movies that have the kind of tone that this movie has, because it’s a combination of franchises and I don’t think we’ve ever seen that before on this scale,” said director Anthony Russo.

Russo isn’t wrong. One of the most impressive things that “Avengers: Infinity War” has to offer is the fact that it has so many characters and storylines going on at the same time, and yet it never feels overcrowded. Each character gets their own moment to shine and had something to contribute to the overall plot — even the supporting characters. Personal favorites included Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Star-Lord (Chris Pratt).

Of course, with a cast this large there are people you still wish received more screen time (looking at you, Shuri), but there’s no perfect way to pull “Avengers: Infinity War” off. The film still plays into some Marvel tropes and is by no means perfect, but the Russos’ are able to achieve far more than most people would ever have thought possible on this grand scale.

“They really did a great job with Thor in this movie. I really liked Chris Evans in a beard too. I’m excited to see where it goes after this,” said Dustin Olson, a Calvin senior who watched the film on opening weekend.

Then there’s the character of Thanos, who completely steals the movie in his own right. Marvel has struggled with their villains in the past (apart from Killmonger, of course), and there was a lot riding on Thanos.

“Avengers: Infinity War” once again surpasses expectations in this regard. Not only is Thanos a menacing villain who feels like he can actually take down all the Avengers singlehandedly, which brings some much needed high stakes to the MCU, but the character also comes from a place the audience can understand like Killmonger. The film takes time to explain his ethos so that his actions, in some twisted way, almost make sense.

The result is an ambitious cross-over that delivers on nearly every front. The humor isn’t too overbearing, there are actual emotional moments and the MCU takes a step forward since “Avengers: Infinity War” is anything but safe. When it seemed like superhero fatigue was about to set in, “Avengers: Infinity War” only works to delay that feeling.