‘Avengers: Infinity War’ reviews: Is it the best Marvel movie of all time, the worst of all time, or somewhere in-between?

Avengers: Infinity War” opens on Friday, April 27, and the review embargo just lifted on April 24, so what do the critics have to say about the latest extravaganza from the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Coming just two months after “Black Panther” earned the franchise its best reviews and some of its biggest box office totals, how well does the latest film measure up to its expectations?

As of this writing it has a MetaCritic score of 68 based on 39 reviews that have already been recorded. And on Rotten Tomatoes it rates 87% fresh based on 89 reviews (and counting). The RT consensus says it “ably juggles a dizzying array of MCU heroes in the fight against their gravest threat yet, and the result is a thrilling, emotionally resonant blockbuster that (mostly) realizes its gargantuan ambitions.” And they’re not kidding when they call it a “dizzying array.” The film includes, but is not limited to, Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). And that doesn’t count various other gods, wizards and guardians of galaxies.

This isn’t the best of the Marvel movies or even of the “Avengers” movies based strictly on its aggregate scores: it’s currently tucked comfortably between “The Avengers” (92% fresh, 69 on MetaCritic) and “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (75% fresh, 66 on MetaCritic). Some reviewers think it “smashes right through your expectations,” while others say its “delight” is mixed with “puzzlement and irritation.” It “satisfies and engrosses,” but it still follows “a very strict set of rules” put in place by 18 previous movies in the franchise.

Are you excited to see “Infinity War” this weekend? Check out some of the reviews below, and join the discussion with your fellow movie fans in our forums.

Helen O’Hara (Empire): “Miraculously, this smashes right through your expectations and delivers shock after shock … The film dances nimbly across the cosmos from one group to the next, turning the screws on each group, shattering them and pulling them back together in new combinations … [Directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo] made it look effortless.”

A.O. Scott (New York Times): “It’s puzzlement and irritation and also, yes, delight … And until the end, the whole thing is weirdly free of any but the most superficial, mechanical surprises … But where you end up may not be where you thought this was going. The final act, including the post-credits sting (to infinity and beyond, as it were) brings a chill.”

Rodrigo Perez (The Playlist): “It’s not the most sophisticated Marvel story — bad guy collecting stones, good guys trying to prevent an unstoppable doomsday — and it lacks the political texture and moral complexity that has defined the MCU in Phase 2 and 3 … but it’s intense. And there are enough thrilling and emotional moments of heroism, sacrifice and heavy costs that it satisfies and engrosses nonetheless.”

Stephanie Zacharek (Time): “There’s no pacing in ‘Avengers: Infinity War.’ It’s all sensation and no pulse. Everything is big, all of the time … Even when you’re supposed to be having fun, you’re really following a very strict set of rules. That said, there’s potential poetry buried deep in ‘Avengers: Infinity War.'”

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