It started off as an idea. Create a slate of memorable and iconic superhero Movies individually, then try to bring them all together for some major fireworks. The MCU has successfully pulled it off twice already, not including the dozens of crossovers between films this phase of their universe has ushered in.

There was something different about "Avengers: Infinity War." The sheer amount of superheroes promised overwhelming chaos. But there was also a villain with a strong compass, right or wrong. And for the first time, the consequences felt real. Well, somewhat real.

About the movie

"Avengers: Infinity War" is a massive action-adventure [VIDEO] superhero film.

The events of the movie transpire directly after both "Thor: Ragnarok" and "Black Panther." Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, the film was released [VIDEO] on April 27, 2018.

Thanos is on a mission to collect all six Infinity Stones and eliminate half of humanity with their power. Most of those gems rest with the Avengers, leading him on a quest to take them out and get his jewels. Along the way, both he and our heroes are forced to make sacrifices in pursuit of their goals. Ultimately, it comes down to several fights for the fate of the universe.

So many superheroes

The scope of this movie is the most recognizable feature. Practically every superhero we've seen in the MCU makes an appearance. The only heroes who sit out "Infinity War" are Ant-Man and Hawkeye. Everyone else contributes something to the affair, some more than others.

With that, however, comes the issue of many mouths to feed. It's no surprise that the OG Avengers Iron Man gets a ton of screen time, along with the Hulk and Thor. The Scarlet Witch also gets some good play, though she's unfortunately propped up as the movie's sex symbol, based on the wardrobe she was given. Obviously, Star-Lord and Rocket and teenage Groot get their moments as well.

When Spider-Man isn't stealing scenes, however, most of the focus is actually on Thanos. That's a rarity for these movies, shifting focus from hero to anti-hero and demonstrating they're not as dissimilar as one would think. After all, Thanos' mission is to restore balance to the universe. His ways are evil, but his intentions - at least to him - are noble.

That leaves some of the Avengers getting the short end of the stick. Black Widow hardly does anything besides have a moment of romantic tension with the Hulk. Black Panther hosts the final festivities and little else. Even Captain America goes unnoticed for large blocks of time.

Considering the scope of the enterprise, the Russos handled their Avengers better than expected. But there weren't even any scenes featuring both Tony Stark and Steve Rogers. Perhaps they're just saving that ammo for the sequel.

The Avengers face consequences

There are plenty of lighthearted moments in "Infinity War." By and large, however, it's a much darker movie than what the MCU generally spews out. As Deadpool might joke, are these characters from the DC Universe?

Death encapsulates this movie. Throughout the film, heroes and villains alike are forced to sacrifice what they love for what they consider the greater good. Those who are able to commit to those sacrifices tend to reap the bigger rewards, but there are clear losses of life afflicted against some of the characters we've come to know over the past decade.

Then, there's the incredibly climactic finish. Civilians, fighters, and some of our biggest heroes made fates unexpected, both positive and negative, depending upon your consumption of spoilers pre-viewing.

Of course, the cynical among us understand that this movie doesn't operate in a vacuum. The executives at Marvel have known plans for many of the characters featured in the first part of "Infinity War." It takes away from some of the impact the finale imparts. Still, there were many shocked gasps coming from the audience as the film's endgame played out.

Final thoughts

"Avengers: Infinity War" faced the biggest challenge in Marvel history: tell a large story without losing the soul of the universe. They largely succeed in that mission. There's still humor and character development in this film. But while the action and storytelling is grandiose, it doesn't live up to previous films in the canon.

Some of the essential characters are passed over for laughs or random plot points. Main characters never coexist on the screen. Scatterbrained fight sequences take over too often.

But overall, it's easy to be gripped by the vision of your favorite superheroes facing their toughest test yet. As Star-Lord questions after the battle, "Did we just lose?" As movie fans, we certainly did not.

Grade: A-