Cert 12A 149mins Stars 5

Earth’s mightiest superheroes return in the most thrilling, destructive and daring adventure of the Marvel franchise.

It’s a full-throttle galaxy-shattering epic which is guaranteed to leave fans slack-jawed by the time the lights come up on the 19th adventure in the series.

Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man and Chris Evans’ Captain America are joined by Thor, Spider-Man, Black Panther, the Guardians of the Galaxy and more, in a desperate bid to save the universe.

Josh Brolin brings a sense of honour and purpose to his gravel-voiced menace in the role of Thanos, the giant alien villain who believes he is the good guy.

Thanos is determined to save the universe from over-population by culling exactly one half of its inhabitants. And if he obtains all six Infinity stones, he will have the power to do so at the snap of his fingers.

And one of the stones is attached to the forehead of Paul Bettany’s hero, Vision, making this a very personal fight for the Avengers, especially for his love interest, Elizabeth’s Olsens’ Scarlet Witch.

As we blast from across the universe in a series of dazzlingly executed fights, humour is key to making us care what happens.

From Spider-Man’s wisecracking, to the verbal spats between Iron-Man and Benedict Cumberbatch’s Dr Strange, smart visual gags and self-aware references, the script is stuffed with jokes.

It’s purpose is to distract us from from where the story is heading, especially as the eye-opening beginning establishes not everybody is going to survive.

I didn’t imagine it would be possible to shock us to this degree, or Marvel were capable of topping their barnstorming Avenger’s Assemble in 2012. But this is their biggest, boldest and most breathtaking film to date.

The repercussions to the Marvel Connected Universe will be felt long after the sequel lands next year. I cannot wait.

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