Spoiler Free Review:
Avengers: Endgame isn’t the movie you expect it to be. It’s even better. Dealing with the fallout of Avengers: Infinity War; Endgame faces the unenviable task of not only needing to wrap up the events of that film but also the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as we know it. This film is the culmination of over a decade’s worth of movies, it’s not only a satisfying conclusion to a journey that started in Iron Man, it’s a thrilling spectacle all on its own. Directors Anthony & Joe Russo take Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus’ script and manage to deliver a visual spectacle that balances thoughtful character moments, intense action and a sprawling story that spans the universe. Admirably, the filmmakers take a tale that is understandably and expectedly somber and still manage to inject that classic Marvel lightheartedness. This is the serious movie it should be, but, at the same time, it never forgets it’s absolutely Marvel.
Following the survivors of Thanos’ universe eradicating snap at the end of Infinity War, this isn’t the usual confident Avengers who have saved the world countless times but instead a desperate and broken band of warriors who are hoping to redeem their greatest failure. If Infinity War was Thanos’ movie, Endgame belongs to the Avengers themselves. There’s hardly a hero who doesn’t have at least one bright and shiny moment to showcase their importance in this world. Every performer brings their A-game in this one. Finding these beloved characters in entirely different emotional and mental states than we’ve ever seen before, it’s a treat to see that the usual MCU mainstays still have so much compelling material left to be mined.
That said while the MCU was built on the backs of the original Avengers and there is certainly more than enough emotional weight to be shared by all, the heart and soul of these stories have always been Iron Man, Thor and Captain America. Nowhere is that more true than in Endgame. Throughout the years Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans have admirably carried themselves as super heroes both onscreen and off becoming synonymous with the characters they’ve portrayed so well; so it’s fortunate that all three men deliver an emotional tour de force worthy of the buildup they helped establish. Tony Stark is a man who is trying to save everyone, Thor is a God who is still learning just exactly what it means to be a man and Steve Rogers is still just a kid from Brooklyn who doesn’t know how to give up. Yet despite those constants the growth the three characters have experienced has felt both natural and earned and culminates perfectly here. All three men bring more heart and depth to the roles than ever before and seeing where these characters are now compared to where they were when we first got introduced to them is an absolute joy.
It would be an understatement to say that this movie wasn’t made for the fans. With countless nods and references to past adventures from the MCU as well as some key long awaited teases and hopes finally realized this film feels like a reward for loyal followers of this marvelous world. There has never been a movie quite like Avengers: Endgame before and honestly, there likely never will be again. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a very different place than it was when Tony Stark created his first suit of armor. Its longevity and ability to continue to grow is a true achievement that Kevin Feige and the entire Marvel team should be proud of. It speaks volumes that even eleven years later Marvel can produce visuals that can still take one’s breath way (Endgame contains one of my favorite visuals not only in a Marvel movie but quite possibly any movie I’ve ever seen).
As appropriate a title as Endgame is, this movie feels just as much a beginning as it does an end. Three hours is a long time for any movie, yet despite its length I was still left eager to see what’s next for this universe and the characters that inhabit it when the credits rolled. So, instead of seeing it as an end, view it as a celebration. A celebration of Marvel’s achievements in filmmaking and a celebration of over a decade’s worth of storytelling.