Avengers: Endgame brings the eleven-year-long story arc of the MCU to a close on a grand scale that’s sure to please anyone that’s been following along.
Continuing on from the events of Infinity War (2018) which saw the MCU’s big-bad Thanos wipe out half of the known universe, Endgame finds the Avengers reeling from the loss of their friends and loved ones, desperately seeking to right the wrongs of their failure against Thanos. The team which includes series regulars Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), amongst the rest, set out to find Thanos and re-capture the Infinity Stones to re-write history and bring back all of the dearly departed. Their journey will see them traverse time and space in an effort to hunt down each individual Infinity Stone, concluding in an epic battle to end all battles.
Endgame is a film that can be split into three distinct parts. The first part focuses on the Avengers’ lives post the events of the last film and how each member is coming to terms with the devastating losses (they’re not handling it well). The second part sees the team head back in time on a quest to undo Thanos’ bad deed by rewriting the course of history in their timeline (confusing, yes, but it’s handled wisely in the film), giving the filmmakers a nice opportunity to bring back some characters that we thought we may not see again. The third part being the inevitable balls-to-the-wall action set piece that offers the best of eleven-years and twenty-one films worth of awe-inspiring visual effects.
Directors Anthony and Joe Russo deliver the goods on all of the three parts to varying degrees. The time travel aspect of the film is outstanding; a plot device we’ve yet to see in a Marvel film and one that makes you feel like you’re watching a different film entirely, to its benefit. The third act comprising of the final battle is edge-of-your-seat stuff and is faultless in its execution. It’s relentless in pace and features more characters than you can count on multiple hands, but is handled well enough that it gives the principal cast as well as the countless side characters enough time to shine brightly in the mishmash of sequences that unfold. It’s only in the first part of the film where some viewers may lose focus, as it’s mainly just a whole lot of slow-paced brooding.
While it’s a part of the story that needed to be told, the Avengers’ sulking phase post-Infinity War events seemed to drag on for longer than necessary. Sure, these scenes are interjected with some more engaging and humorous scenes that drive the narrative forward, though had they been contained in a more condensed package, it could have made the film’s three-hour runtime easier to bare. Thankfully, once the ball starts rolling and the Avengers get out of their slump, Endgame is a delight.
If you thought Infinity War had too many characters to keep up with then be prepared for even more in Endgame. The film seemingly features every Marvel character to have ever made an appearance in an MCU film which may be overwhelming for some viewers, especially the more casual fans. The film pays service to fans in ways that only the diehards will appreciate but casual audiences are still in luck as the film is infused with enough humour that they can overlook having missed some specific plot points that have crossed over into Endgame from films prior. What results in the end(game) is a film that should please everyone and Marvel are the masters of doing that.
Avengers: Endgame is an emotional rollercoaster ride of a film that perfectly encapsulates all that is the world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s the grandest and most powerful entry in the long-running story arc that provides a satisfying payoff for the time audiences have invested over the years. It will enthral and entertain you, make you laugh and possibly even cry.
Robert Downey Jr. was the only cast member who read the entire film’s script.