Bottomline Upfront: In an effort to stay out of spoiler territory, I kept this vague and technical (which seem diametrically opposed), so check out my spoiler commentary coming on Tuesday.
Avengers: Endgame (2019) is the follow-up to the wildly successful and critically acclaimed Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and is the culminating entry of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, bringing a three-phase meta-arc to a close. The movie is adapted from the various titles—not least of which are Thanos Quest (1990) and The Infinity Gauntlet (1991)—under the Marvel Entertainment imprint. Rated PG-13 for violence and adult content, the film is a 181-minute epic conclusion directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, credited with Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2010), Captain America: Civil War (2013), and Avengers: Infinity War (2018), releasing to theaters on April 26th, 2019.
In the aftermath of Thanos’ culling of the universe, the world (and the universe at large) have to move on; the Avengers can’t, though. The Avengers, determined to avenge the trillions that ceased to exist in a single moment of genocidal hubris, take the fight to the Mad Titan.
The film is a thoughtful, emotion-packed superhero action-adventure infused with drama and comedy, dealing with concepts of guilt, worthiness, self-determinism, and inevitability.
Act I, matching the previews, deals with what you already know about the plot, wasting no time in delivering the stakes and the action in gallons. Just when you think you have things figured out; Act II shows up.
Act II changes the stakes, shifting gears in the plot, and dialing up the tension to level one-thousand, employing doubt and cynicism to drive it home. In classic Marvel fashion, the directors break the tension with Chris Evan’s stoic smile, Chris Hemsworth’s brutish humor, and Paul Rudd’s underdog routine. However, the reprieves are always short-lived as the movie keeps the stakes front and center and the threats nearby. Act II bridges Act III with deep concepts and references to the previous twenty-one installments.
Act III comes in like a rampaging Hulk (obnoxious wink…), pouring on the action and raising the stakes even further. Just when you think things can’t get more intense, the directors switch gears on you again and lead you into a conclusion that has been brewing for a decade.
The post-credit scene is simply the sound of clanking iron, harkening satisfaction and solemnity simultaneously.
The script is multi-faceted and deep, tugging on the threads of all the movies in the series, tying them all together into one big, satisfying meta-knot. The writers put the movie on the road to success by blending new with the old and generously placing Easter eggs in easy-to-find places for the fans. I give it twenty-two thumbs up.
The cinematography and CGI are brilliant—you know, the norm for the MCU. The directors even went so far as to capture myriad brief shots that mirror iconic comic book panels to awe the diehard fans; the fan-service is real and well-employed.
Thanos is every bit as ruthless and self-righteous as he was in Infinity War, and Josh Brolin—destined for the role—delivers Thanos’ mannerisms, expressions, and cold vocals expertly yet again.
The heroes, portrayed by their beloved actors, ratchet up their performances in spellbinding ways.
The film combines the tropes and visuals of movies like Back To The Future (1985), Star Wars: A New Hope (1977), Ready Player One (2018), and Ocean’s Eleven (2001)—and the myriad other MCU films—to craft an emotionally action-packed conclusion of epic proportions, worthy of acclaim and cinema legend.
Overall, Avengers: Endgame is so good that I was disappointed as I left the theater knowing it was over but also leaving me fulfilled and salivating for the meta-arc Phase Four will bring. While I kept up with Avengers comics, I wasn’t a hardcore fan, favoring the X-Men comic, but the MCU change that—made me a believer—especially in a superhero saturated medium plagued by Sony Spider-travesties and the FoX-Men garbage (that continually let me down). The movies pushed me closer to the Avengers comics, and at some point, about five or six years ago, I realized I had become a Captain America and Thor fan. The MCU did that and I feel like we’ve reached the end of a fulfilling journey. If you didn’t love or know about the Avengers before the MCU, you know about and adore them now just like me.
I will warn you that not all character arcs are finished in Avengers: Endgame as Marvel Studios plans to work those into later projects.
I’m going to see it again during the week. It is that good.
“THANOS! This is not a game! It ends tonight!”