PACKING A BIG PUNCH — This image released by Marvel Studios shows, from left, Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo and Benedict Wong in a scene from “Avengers: Infinity War.” (AP Photo)

Believe the hype, Avengers latest delivers

Published May 6, 2018 at 9:00am

If you’ve ever wondered how Marvel Studios can top their last superhero blockbuster, Avengers: Infinity Wars answers that question by getting bigger, bolder and wilder than any that has come before.

Parts of the third Avengers movie are a little overstuffed with characters and storylines, but if you’ve been a fan of these movies all this time — and you’re not alone, considering the sold out theaters at Rome Cinemas 8 opening night — you’re sure to love their most epic adventure yet.

Avengers: Infinity War is 10 years in the making, combining all of the Marvel superhero movies so far into one big party for the fate of the universe.

Teased at the end of the first Avengers movie in 2012, the cosmic super-villain Thanos is finally ready to fulfill his mad plan to bring balance to the universe. First, he’ll need to gather the six Infinity Stones that have been scattered across multiple Marvel movies in the past. Second, he’ll need to defeat the combined forces of the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man, Black Panther and a few more of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

Everyone is in this movie. That’s half the fun of these Avengers crossover films. Iron Man teams up with Star-Lord for the first time. Thor goes on an adventure with Groot and Rocket Raccoon. Captain America and the Hulk pay a visit to Wakanda, the setting of the blockbuster Black Panther movie from earlier this year.

Everybody is somewhere having some kind of adventure — no spoilers! — with the same humor and personality that have made the Marvel superhero movies such a success.

In that regard, Avengers: Infinity War definitely delivers. From the very first scene, the movie never bothers to slow down or catch its breath. It’s one action adventure scene after another, the stakes constantly rising, starring all of our favorite superheroes.

But there are so many scenes, characters and storylines that sometimes they start stepping on each other’s toes. Scenes will cut off just as they’re getting good in order to cut to another scene, only to halt that one short as well. The filmmakers at Disney and Marvel clearly knew they had a lot of characters and stories to work with, and they clearly took the time and effort to plot everything out carefully, but even they couldn’t pull it off flawlessly.

With a lesser studio and a lesser cast of characters, a movie like this might have collapsed under its own weight. But the people at Marvel know what they’re doing. They’ve been doing it well for 10 years now and show no signs of slowing down.

Of course, if you’re not already a fan of the Marvel superhero movies and haven’t been following along with the story, Avengers: Infinity War might have a steep learning curve to figure out what’s going on and why seeing Thor and Drax the Destroyer on screen together is such a big deal.

For longtime fans, the meeting lives up to the hype and is utterly hilarious.