“Avengers: Endgame” is the ultimate love-letter to fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Marvel Comics.
Arguably even more ambitious than its record-breaking predecessor, 2018’s “Avengers: Infinity War,” it leaves it all on the table in terms of what Marvel Studios has brought to life on film in the past 11 years and 21 films.
To say the film does not disappoint is an understatement of Thanos-sized proportions.
What’s it about?
(NO SPOILERS HERE – I PROMISE!)
In the aftermath of the finger-snap felt around the universe at the end of “Infinity War,” the remaining Avengers struggle to cope with something they are very, very unaccustomed to: losing.
But just when it seems like all they can do is try to move on, a glimmer of hope appears. Alongside allies new and old, the team embarks on what Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) aptly calls “the fight of their lives.”
The goal? To bring back as much of what they’ve lost as they can, and not get killed in the process.
Rogers. Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.). Thor (Chris Hemsworth). Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).
The original six Avengers re-unite to do what the Avengers Initiative always intended: to fight the battles humanity couldn’t.
But is this fight beyond even them?
Bringing it all together
Since their first Marvel directorial outing with “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” directors Anthony and Joe Russo have shown a remarkable capacity for putting lots of balls in the air and keeping them moving smoothly.
Their casts got larger. Their action beats grew more complex, more epic in scope. The stories Marvel Studios trusted them to tell grew more momentous with each entry, the stakes growing ever larger, both in and out of the film’s universe.
But somehow in the midst of all that high-octane sci-fi superhero action, all that work done on wires and in front of green screens, the Russo brothers never lost sight of the characters driving the stories. Their heart, their courage, their emotion, even in conflict, fueled the battles, lent weight to the clashes, the triumphs, and the losses.
“Avengers: Endgame” is their swansong, and what a swansong it is. The film delivers tons of action, but manages to imbue its quiet, emotional beats with just as much weight and impact as any Asgardian hammer drop or Hulk-sized punch.
That’s important, almost more important than talking about any technical aspect of the film. It’s more important because we as audience members have followed these characters for a very long time. Back stories and unresolved plot threads need to be paid off.
Part of what makes “Avengers: Endgame” so satisfying is that it takes the time to do just that. In addition to wrapping up its own mammoth main plot, almost all its principals get opportunities to clear the ledger, so to speak, with the fans.
The question isn’t even worth asking. If you’re a fan of these films, you’ve already bought your tickets.
A better question might be “Worth seeing multiple times?” The answer to that will depend on the viewer, but for most die-hard fans it will be a resounding “yes.”
Is it a perfect movie experience? Maybe it has a few minor pacing issues in the second act. Maybe it could have been trimmed to just under three hours — maybe.
Chances are you won’t even notice.
What you will notice is the sense of finality. It’s real, and no matter what Marvel does next, this is the end of an incredible chapter in film making.
Enjoy it, and if you’re prone to sometimes shedding a tear at the movies, bring the Kleenex.
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Brie Larson, Paul Rudd, Don Cheadle, Karen Gillen, Danai Gurira and Bradley Cooper. Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo.
Running time: 186 minutes
Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and some language.