Ten years ago this summer, I pried myself away from the Dark Knight anticipation for a few hours to check out the first movie from Marvel studios, Iron Man. To be honest, my expectations were next to nonexistent. I figured they were just trying to jump in on the profitable, but surely non-sustainable, comic book movie market. Little did I know that the second tier character played by an “on his last chance” Hollywood star was going to set the box office on fire and lay the groundwork for a decade of dominance.

Over the course of 18 movies, there has naturally been some variance in quality, but amazingly not one of the films can be considered a flop. The improbability of that is simply astounding (just ask DC) and something that deserves to be rewarded. Luckily for the fans, that reward is shared with us in the form of Avengers: Infinity War– an epic so epic it’s going to have claim on the word epic for the foreseeable future.

Avengers: Infinity War is an impressive feat on many levels from the cast to the action to the emotional impact still weighing on me long after the credits rolled. The presence of Thanos has hung over the MCU for the past 6 years but the threat felt very far away. The Infinity Stones he’s desperately trying to acquire are a bit more familiar, though, as we’ve seen Loki wield one while attempting to destroy New York, the Guardians of the Galaxy dancing for another one, Vision having one in his head, and who can forget Doctor Strange using one to bargain with Dormammu? Well, it turns out that if you’re one of the most powerful beings in the universe and have a glove forged from a dying star, you can have all six stones at once and exterminate life on a galactic scale at the snap of your fingers. That’s a hell of a dilemma and one that Earth’s Mightiest Heroes just can’t handle on their own.

The film begins immediately following the events of Thor: Ragnarok with a jarring display of just how powerful a foe Thanos really is. It may seem an oxymoron to call a three-hour film a sprint, but that’s exactly what you get from Infinity War. Even when there’s a pause in the action, the fact that you’re watching Thor hanging out with Groot and Rocket, or Iron Man plotting with Doctor Strange and Spider-Man is surreal in the most awesome of ways.

The cast brings it as a whole, which is a testament to both the Russo brothers and the Marvel Studios’ creative team in creating such a secure universe that some of the most sought after actors in Hollywood bring their A game in generally limited roles. The standout amongst the ensemble is far and away Josh Brolin in a complex and hate-inducing performance. While Thanos is more than a one-off villain with a half-assed plot, Brolin ensures we feel the weight of consequence on his conquest. Fortunately, there are plenty of genuine laughs along the way to combat the hopelessness cast about by Thanos. The dialogue is fast-paced and witty enough that even with the hefty run time, I was left wanting more (specifically a Thor and Guardians movie!)

Overall, Avengers: Infinity War is a masterclass in blockbuster filmmaking. From the jaw-dropping opening to the gut-wrenching finale, you’ll be glued to the screen in a way I haven’t quite experienced before. I promise that’s not an exaggeration, this is a movie ten years in the making and that’s exactly what it looks like.

I don’t see how Avengers: Infinity War will be able to be topped anytime soon, but if we get 10 year anniversary presents like this from Marvel you can fast forward me to 2028 right now. Until then, you can catch me at the theater seeing this gem at least 2 or 3 more times.

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