As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. Just to make two things clear – “Avengers: Endgame” is definitely the end, and the end might just be the best part.
“Avengers: Endgame” was made for Marvel fans, by Marvel fans, and rightfully so. Millions of devoted moviegoers have stuck with this franchise since it began in 2008 with “Iron Man,” and the newest entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe successfully pays off over a decade of build up. The series has come a long way from the Middle Eastern terrorists and World War II nostalgia of its earlier films, and die-hard fans can rest easy knowing their favorite characters have been done justice in the most spectacular and unbelievable way. This movie is chock-full of references to the other entries of the MCU, and fans will have a field day picking out every last line and background detail’s greater meaning.
That’s not to say you’ll hate it if you didn’t rewatch every previous movie 20 times, but it’s safe to say you’ll get lost pretty quickly if you aren’t caught up to speed.
“Avengers: Endgame” features the survivors of “Avengers: Infinity War” – Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) and everyone else who wasn’t turned to dust by Thanos’ (Josh Brolin) universe-breaking snap. These remaining superheroes are left in a world which has lost half of all life, and our broken protagonists have to think long and hard about how to move on.
To say what happens next may go into spoiler territory, but there is a major time jump that flips the movie on its head, tossing everything you thought you knew about this movie out the window.
The characters’ chemistry just gets better and better with every outing, and even though plenty of new relationship dynamics arise early in the movie between Steve Rogers and Tony Stark, Black Widow and Hawkeye, and others, these still feel like the characters we’ve grown to love.
Some of the heroes go on paths that lead to questionable costume and special effect choices – with Thor’s new look being the pinnacle of that – but each character arc miraculously works both within the film and the cinematic universe as a whole.
The humor works just as well as it does in every other MCU flick, so if you’ve liked it in the past, expect more of the same. A few bits go on 10 seconds too long, but the timing and writing are still vibrant enough to make up for it. However, the tangible dramatic moments are what really carry the film. Of course, those without any personal investment in the franchise might not be as impacted, but the emotional beats pay off big-time for those who have followed the series since the beginning.
Evans and Downey Jr. sell those moments perfectly, and directors Joe and Anthony Russo deserve all the credit for getting the franchise’s best performances out of its two leading men. The supporting characters – and there are a lot of them – all get the perfect amount of attention and focus, and the Russo brothers have proven once again that they know how to perfect ensemble casts, no matter how big.
There aren’t as many action setpieces as there have been in past MCU movies, with the plot and characters justifiably getting nearly all of the attention for the first two hours of the film. But when the fighting does come around, the result is arguably the biggest – if not best – cinematic action scene in recent memory.
On nearly every level, “Avengers: Endgame” is wildly ambitious, and it hits almost every target it shoots for. Outside some choppy pacing in the first act, the movie sailed smoothly and the three-hour runtime is only an issue for bladders.
As the first era of Marvel movies comes to a close, it’s always good to take a look back and enjoy what has come before. “Avengers: Endgame” does just that – relying heavily on fan service and overarching stories to do the brunt of the work.
The culmination of 11 years and 22 movies of storytelling does not disappoint. “Avengers: Endgame” lives up to the hype, and the landscape of the MCU – and the industry as a whole – will never be the same.