STARRING: CHRIS EVANS; ROBERT DOWNEY JR. BRIE LARSON; SCARLETT JOHANSSON
DIRECTED BY: ANTHONY RUSSO; JOE RUSSO
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
Clocking in at a full three hours, the climactic, and 22nd installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Avengers: Endgame is an accomplishment, even before butts are in seats, and the lights go down. A final film of this scale has never truly been done. Multiple storylines, various characters, both big and small, all standing on their own for individual movies, and still coming together to make one big cinematic experience for fans. The task of making it work has been given once again to directors Anthony and Joe Russo, following their success of Avengers: Infinity War, the bar is painfully high to clear, and although the films length is felt, Avengers: Endgame culminates in a sweeping, powerful ball of accomplishments for all involved; Especially for Marvel, Disney, and the comic book movie fanatics. It’s called Endgame, but it’s not the end, just a new beginning that will leave all pleased.
Things pick up where Avengers: Infinity War left off, Thanos (Josh Brolin) has snapped his fingers, using those infinity stones to kill half of earth’s population. The few remaining Avengers are licking their wounds, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is stuck in the void of space on a ship with Nebula (Karen Gillan), while the rest are back on earth- Captain America (Chris Evans), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), War Machine (Don Cheadle), and newcomer Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), all thinking up a plan to get the stones back and make the world right again. Too bad it’s not that simple, because those that are dead might never be coming back, and the Avengers must come to terms with the reality that their world has changed forever.
As one might expect, it’s extremely hard to pack all of this information of Endgame into a movie review, and yet the screenplay from Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely finds a nice balance of various storylines. It’s also hard not to spoil much, but as one might have already assumed, the majority of the plot involves time travel and the remaining Avengers working together to put it all back together. This includes characters splitting into pairs (Rocket with Thor, Black Widow with Hawkeye, Nebula with War Machine, etc.), each going back to specific points in our Marvel movie history to find the Infinity Stones, and each section feeling like their own mini-episode. There is so much going on in Endgame that it will certainly disappoint, please, and divide audience members along the way, yet the fact that the Russo brothers find a way to make it all merge is nothing short of a miracle.
One of the bigger highlights in the script is the balance of dark situations and humor. These actors all bring their own, fully realized personalities to the characters they play. Robert Downey Jr., the one who started it all in 2008’s Iron Man, still has complete control of who Tony Stark is, while the bitter divide between Tony and Steve Rogers that was created in the events of Captain America: Civil War sting more than ever before, especially with friends and family killed, when they swore to protect others. It’s the rich history, which is exactly why Endgame works as well as it does. From moment to moment, we are reminded of what came before, scenes with callbacks, tone shifts that remind us of the laughs in Thor: Ragnarok or Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. It may have taken 22 movies, but its hard not to feel like these characters, the audience, we are all a part of something.
What may be a surprise to fans, as much as it was to me, will be narrative choices that felt out of left field. Nebula has a much bigger role than some are prepared for, the tone early on is dour, the return and importance of Hawkeye to the team made me happy, and while the story for Thor is odd, it is nothing short of hilarious. Then there is the third act, which is arguably the best part of Endgame. It’s an amazing climb, to a conclusion that handles the weight everything that came before, a battle with Thanos on a Lord of the Rings scale, all of this, a cinematic accomplishment for everyone involved. There will be tears shed, cheers from many, and an ushering of the new Avengers of the future. I found Avengers: Endgame to be a fitting conclusion to a cinematic franchise. It’s exhausting, but the journey was worth it. Not to mention, it will make a really cool 22-movie box-set.
Written by: Leo Brady