The biggest superhero battle of all

Avengers: Infinity War, with Robert Downey Jnr, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pratt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Chris Evans, Scarlet Johansson, Josh Brolin. Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo.

4.5/5

LEVITY AMID THE CHAOS: Starlord (Chris Pratt), left, and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jnr) debate who has the better plan in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’, now showing at Rosehill Cinema

THE latest Avengers movie is a fan-pleaser that deftly brings together all plot threads going back to the first movie and the various tie-ins like Captain America, Thor and the Guardians of the Galaxy movies.

The big villain of the piece, Thanos (Josh Brolin), who we had been anxiously awaiting to see in action since his brief appearance in the first Guardians movie and the allusions to him in other films, is finally front and centre. And he’s as frighteningly powerful and genocidal as he’s been portrayed in the comics, even if his colouring is off.

DC can only hope they do as much justice to Darkseid when he eventually battles the Justice League.

The story is largely based on Marvel’s Infinity Gauntlet comics mini-series from 1991. Thanos, already an immensely powerful being, has been seeking six Infinity Gems – remnants of the Big Bang – which will give him total cosmic control. Each gem represents an aspect of the universe – power, space, time, reality, mind and soul.

Few beings can wield even one of the gems, but with a specially made gauntlet, Thanos aspires to wield all six.

Of course, the heroes of Earth (and beyond) stand in his way. Thanos’s first strike is against the gods of Asgard, now homeless in space since the destruction of Thor: Ragnarok. Already equipped with the power gem, Thanos is even able to KO the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and come into possession of the space gem contained within the cosmic cube first seen in Captain America: The First Avenger.

Thanos dispatches his henchmen to Earth to collect two more gems – the time gem protected by master of the mystic arts, Dr Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), and the mind gem worn by Vision (Paul Bettany) of the Avengers.

Iron Man (Robert Downey Jnr) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) help Dr Strange in New York, while Vision and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) fight off Thanos’s thugs in Europe. With the aftereffects of Captain America: Civil War still lingering, it is a welcome sight when Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson) and Falcon (Anthony Mackie) come to their assistance.

Meanwhile, in space, the Guardians crew respond to a distress signal and find Thor (Chris Hemsworth) floating like flotsam. As he tells his tale they realise they have a common enemy.

Accompanied by Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel), Thor goes in search of a weapon that can kill Thanos, while Starlord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) undertake an almost certainly hopeless mission to stop Thanos getting his hands on the reality gem held by The Collector (Benicio del Toro).

Thanos goes on his own spiritual journey to acquire the mysterious soul gem, before a showdown with some of the heroes on Titan and a cataclysmic battle at the fictional nation of Wakanda on Earth.

Some live, some die, and you can certainly expect a sequel.

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