Avengers: Endgame – Superhero Apotheosis, Spoiler-Free Review!
11 years, 22 films, all for this. Whatever it takes. The Russo Brothers have completed their conclusion to Avengers: Infinity War and what truly feels like the cap on an era.
Following the events of the team’s last outing, things — no the universe! — are in dire straits. Thanos snapped, and with it went half the universe, taking many of our favorites with it. But we’re in the endgame now and what will the surviving heroes do? How will they stop Thanos, or rather how will they beat him and undo everything he’s caused. That’s the thrust of the 3 hours and 15 minutes of comic book ecstasy that is Endgame.
For being over three hours the movie is surprisingly brisk, never letting you feel the drag or have you looking at your watch. It has the audience in the palm of its hand to start, after all, everyone going into this has already bought into over a decade of movie magic. That longstanding history allows Endgame to breathe and approach things with just the right amount of time and love, that, in a lesser movie, would make it feel overstuffed.
The plot moves in ways that only comics can do, jumping from place to place, weaving an intricate web of connections events and action that spans a universe. It is a testament to comic books that this sort of ultimate conclusion is only now happening when a world-shaking event happens every year in the pages of Marvel Comics. Seeing it on screen in all its glory is a sight to behold.
You will alternate between wonder, sadness, punching the air in excitement, gasp, laugh, and cry (for any number of feelings) throughout Endgame. The story of the film is just so pleasantly surprising and wild. Even if you’d heard a fragment of a leak, a scrap of a rumor, I think you’ll still be surprised with the journey our heroes take.
The action is fun, and while it may descend into the overly CGI maelstrom of the modern blockbuster, you will still sit rapturously shoveling popcorn into your gob while your favorite hero somehow does something even cooler than the last! The action is, of course, necessary, the tights-and-fights genre of superhero needs the fists to fly to resolve a problem. Yet what makes those flurry of fists land with real impact to the lantern jaws is the deep affinity for the characters that is baked in.
7 years ago when Marvel’s The Avengers landed in cinemas, people were curious how a single movie could bring that many different heroes together in anything close to a coherent story. And now look at us. It goes without saying that the audience is familiar, that they’ve been following the adventures of their favorites through solo movies, crossovers, cameos, and stinger appearances. So, this movie is allowed to pick up the pieces where they left off and keep pushing the narrative. Our heroes go through trials, experience loss and try to fight grief in different ways, but they all grow, even when we’re not there watching.
Endgame feels a fitting bookend to an era. Marvel will keep making these movies, Phase 4 is just around the corner. Our heroes will fight new threats, have more adventures, and yet with Endgame all of the pieces are simultaneously given a place to stay for a time and perfect jumping off points for their next adventures to pick right back up when we’re ready for them again.
It feels like it is the end… and yet, it’s comics. The stories will keep going and even still, with the ever-looming threat of oversaturation on the horizon, I can’t help but get excited at what comes next.