Nothing any critic can say will deter you from seeing Avengers: Infinity War if you are the least bit inclined in the first place. The good news, as I say in my video review above, is that this 2 1/2-hour all-star affair is actually worth your time — despite being a Whitman’s Sampler Box of the Marvel Universe that may have too many calories to take it all in. Fortunately, it has more on its mind than just eye candy for comic book fanboys.

That shouldn’t be a surprise considering it is directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, who so effectively helmed the last two Captain America films, in effect giving them a sense of relevancy and gravitas other Marvel movies didn’t necessarily have. As scripted by Marvel vets Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, who wrote those films as well as Thor: The Dark World, this ambitious mashup of every Marvel superhero and villain of recent movie franchises dares to do much more than simply satisfy an appetite to see all the players co-mingle. It has some heavy themes mixed in with the lighter touch many of these characters often exude. Particularly interesting is what it may be saying about the age-old battle of good vs. evil, making some conclusions that are not usually the stuff of this kind of Hollywood blockbuster and not what audiences may be expecting based on past experience.

Disney has asked critics not to reveal potential spoilers or plot details, and that is a good thing this time around because there is plenty of both. The less you know, the better. Suffice to say the various storylines weave in and out with the quest of the chief villain, Thanos, played with authority, ambition and shades of gray by Josh Brolin. In the past this character hasn’t been at the center, but he is now as he is bound and determined to find the six stones that have the ability to change the world — and not for the better. The reasoning and motivation for this villain is more sophisticated than the usual agenda for these bad guys, and this arc drifts into Shakespearean levels at points, particularly in his confrontations with Gamora (a terrific Zoe Saldana).

Rest assured that the movie, essentially the first part of two films, is a lot more fun than I am making it sound, and it far more successfully merges the Marvel superstars than DC and Warner Bros were able to do with last fall’s Justice League. There is a more appealing (and far larger) cast at work here — 29 key characters by my count — and the Russos make the most of them, some more than others. There’s Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Captain America (Chris Evans), Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Star Lord (Chris Pratt) and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) to just mention the marquee names who each take up a good chunk of the film — and not to mention their various supporting characters.

It’s all part of the reason the end-credit crawl takes so long to get to the inevitable final tease scene, which in this case is of uber importance to stay in your seat for.  Marvel films tend to add more than one of these kickers to the credits but not in this case, and you have to be patient in order to get to it. ‘Nuff said.

The producer, as usual, is Kevin Feige. Disney has already started raking in the cash.

Do you plan to see Avengers: Infinity War? Of course you do. Let us know what you think.