By Bradley Griffith

Epic. If I had to describe “Avengers: Infinity War” in one word, it would be epic. “Infinity War” is the culmination of the 18 Marvel movies that came before. Virtually every Marvel superhero is in the movie, and we finally get a battle with the great villain of the Marvel universe, Thanos.

At the end of “Thor: Ragnarok,” Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and the remaining Asgardians were fleeing their destroyed planet in a spaceship. “Infinity War” begins with an attack on this ship by Thanos (Josh Brolin) and his cohorts. Thanos is on a mission to find all six infinity stones. He already has two, if he possesses all six he will be unstoppable.

The Hulk is sent to Earth to warn them that Thanos is coming. Along with Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland), and Wong (Benedict Wong), Banner tries to stop Thanos’ henchmen from retrieving the Time Stone protected by Dr. Strange.

In Scotland two more of Thanos’ minions attack Vision (Paul Bettany) and Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) in an attempt to pry the Mind Stone from Vision’s forehead. Before they could get the best of Vision and Wanda, Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie) come to their rescue.

Across the universe the Guardians of the Galaxy, Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), and a teenage Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), respond to a distress call from Thor’s ship. All Thanos left for them to find is debris and a barely-alive Thor.

Somehow these superheroes must come together to stop Thanos before he retrieves every infinity stone. The story leads to a final battle in the Black Panther’s (Chadwick Boseman) home of Wakanda.

“Infinity War” is the action movie to end all action movies. From the opening scene until the credits roll there is non-stop, wall-to-wall action. The battles extend from outer space, to New York, to Thanos’ home planet of Titan, to Wakanda, and more. At each location there are battles and action scenes galore. The fast-paced action causes the movie to fly by, even at a runtime of 2 hours and 29 minutes.

“Infinity War” is the most ambitious superhero movie ever made, and very likely the most ambitious movie of any kind ever made. There are so many characters and separate plots from the previous eighteen movies that it was nearly impossible to bring them all together in one movie in one storyline. But they did. And it was great.

At first, it was strange to see so many superheroes in one movie, much less in the same scene fighting alongside each other. Watching Star-Lord and Spider-Man on the same screen together was unusual, but the filmmakers made it all work seamlessly. From Captain America to Dr. Strange, from Drax the Destroyer to Scarlet Witch, it all fit together just right.

It is a Marvel movie, so there was quite a bit of humor. Even in the middle of battles and at the most inopportune times, the characters are full of witty banter, insults, and comebacks that work together to make the movie more enjoyable. But “Infinity War” was also sad, had unexpected twists, and a surprising ending.

“Avengers: Infinity War” is the superhero movie to end all superhero movies. The movie (and it’s reported budget of up to $300 million) is on a massive scale. It has some of the greatest superhero action scenes in movie history. The grandeur of “Infinity War” makes it the very definition of a movie that needs to be seen on the big screen. I can’t wait for the next Avengers movie next year.

• • •

Grade: A

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, language, and some crude references.