This is a SPOILER FREE Review.
This is it. The end of an era. Twenty two interconnected films over countless franchises. Something unlike anything ever before. The amount of pressure behind this film being successful is astounding—something that would crush most people. Were the Russo Brothers able to pull off the event of the generation? The answer is a resounding yes. It’s done so efficiently that it would seem that only these two would ever have been able to make such a piece of narrative storytelling work as well as it does.
Simply put, on paper Endgame and everything about it should never work. The amount of characters to service alone would seem to be too much. Remember, there was a day when more than just a single villain in a comic book movie was considered something that would never work with a film. Yet here we are, and with a runtime of just over three hours, Endgame works on every level. Even with as long as the film is, the structure and pacing is amazing—one may even argue its tighter than Infinity War was. It deftly goes against the standard three act structure, and what the audience may expect to see going in. Yet not once does it lose your attention. Hell, most of the film consists of those closer, “intimate” moments between characters—and every single one hits home.
With the film taking place after The Snap at the end of Infinity War, one may expect this film to be bleak and serious through and through. However, the film ends up much funnier than I would have thought. While there’s always humor in most MCU films, the ones that excel the most are the ones that balance it perfectly with the serious moments and stakes that the plot presents. Films like GotG 2 and Thor: Ragnarok are great examples of Marvel films that didn’t have that balance. The humor either ran rampant at times and became too much, or wise-cracking jokes were made far too often that undercut important moments. With Endgame, thankfully it ends up delivering that perfect balance. One character in particular is even given a consistent recurring gag. At first this may cause hesitation, as it did with me on my first showing. But at the end of the day, despite the laughs, this gag shines a bright spotlight onto how deeply damaged the character in question is.
Another amazing thing about the film is how much of it is built around callbacks to previous installments—and endless moments that are easily classified as fan service. Yet every single moment that falls under this somehow works. None of them feel forced, or contrived. They feel earned. That gratifying feeling of payoff that you receive from each and every one of these moments is something that even the best franchises out there only dream to be able to deliver to their own audiences one day. If you have been a Marvel fan since the beginning, there will be an overwhelming amount of joy to be found—even on top of what’s already there. It’s also important to note that you shouldn’t discount any of the films that came before. Even the ones that are seemingly of little importance hold weight to the events in this film.
The Avengers are ready for action. Photo taken via direct screenshot from the trailer.
Now it’s near impossible to go into specifics on anything in the movie without giving away massive spoilers. When it comes to characters, however, there isn’t a single one that sticks out in any negative fashion. The character arcs that are focused on are done fantastically and are threaded perfectly throughout the narrative; when they reach their conclusion they do so with elegance. Even the characters that don’t necessarily get that same spotlight all get a moment (or more) to shine—whether that be an action shot or even the slightest (yet extremely satisfying) character moment. In fact, I can’t think of a single character that I felt was slighted or handled improperly—which is an incredible feat. Honestly, the Russo Brother’s deserve more than simply an Oscar for what they were able to pull off.
Now I’ve seen a lot of reviews draw criticism to some of the big fight sequences and set pieces in the film—despite all of the praise they may give the film in general. This honestly baffles me. The spectacle that this film delivers is on a scale so epic that I can easily declare that I’ve never witnessed anything like it in my lifetime. Yet, none of it comes out of left-field. Every single scene is not only natural, but over the course of its three hour runtime, the film perfectly culminates everything that it delivers to the audience—this is especially true of its action sequences. As for the CGI, I found no fault with it at any point. Some MCU films can without question suffer from this (ala Black Panther or Captain Marvel). Here however, as with Infinity War, the effects are fantastic. Nothing ever drew me out of the action at any point. As for the action itself, you can expect the same incredibly choreographed and crafted work that we have come to know from the Russo’s.
Avengers: Endgame is a miracle. With so many moving pieces, it should collapse in on itself within the first five minutes. Yet, somehow we are lucky to be living in the one timeline where it all worked out. The film is an event of a lifetime, and something that you truly have to experience. Something of this magnitude may never happen again. With Marvel evolving and bringing the MCU to new unknown places in the future, there was no better way to end this era of their story.
- I didn’t have much room to note it above, but the score for this film is incredible. From its original new additions, to the fantastically placed callbacks to previous themes at just the perfect points, the score only helps to further elevate the film.
- When it comes to characters getting their moment—be it badass or emotional—it’s quite astounding how all of them tend to be.