Here’s our review for ‘Avengers: Endgame’, which brings the 22 film epic saga of the current phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to an end…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
The end is finally here.
Well at least the conclusion of this version of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that started all the way back in 2008 with the film ‘Iron Man’.
At the time, Iron Man was a ‘B’ level comic book character at best but the magic put together by casting Robert Downey Jr. in the lead role with Jon Favreau directing and a wizard behind the curtain named Kevin Feige with plans for a larger shared universe of films and characters — the first of its kind — made this the spark that lit the flame for 20 more films that all led to ‘Avengers: Endgame’.
The 22nd film in the series of connected plots, crossover characters and epic sagas concludes with the follow-up to 2018’s ‘Avengers: Infinity War’, which was in my humble opinion the best movie of the year.
In some ways, ‘Avengers: Endgame’ is superior to that film and in other ways it falls short. A big part of the difference in the two movies is based on the surprise element that came along with ‘Infinity War’ much the same way that ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ taught comic book and fantasy fans that not everything will have a happy ending.
That said, ‘Avengers: Endgame’ ultimately serves as the perfect sendoff to this version of the Marvel Cinematic Universe after it was meticulously crafted and pieced together for the past 11 years all leading to this moment in time.
Understanding the labyrinth like story and the emotional turmoil felt throughout this film is largely based on getting so much time with these characters over more than a decade before they made it to this point.
You care about characters like Tony Stark and Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff and Bruce Banner because you’ve spent so much time with them over the years. If not for that attention to detail, the payoff for ‘Avengers: Endgame’ just wouldn’t work because this movie will make you laugh, it will make you cheer but perhaps most of all, it will make you cry and that’s not typically an emotion related to superhero movies.
That’s the genius that Feige, the Russo brothers and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely managed to capture at least one last time for this particular group of actors and actresses who came together to give us a series of films that perhaps trumps even ‘Star Wars’ when it comes to building a saga that will last a lifetime.
‘Avengers: Endgame’ has a couple of flaws but largely this movie really does bring everything in the Marvel Cinematic Universe full circle in the best way possible.
With that said, let’s get to our spoiler-free review of ‘Avengers: Endgame’ in theaters now…
To make this truly spoiler free, the plot details we can reveal won’t be much at all.
What we can say is ‘Avengers: Endgame’ picks up in the weeks after the events that unfolded in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ when Thanos wiped out half of life in the universe with a snap of his fingers.
In the aftermath of that tragic defeat, the remaining Avengers are left to pick up the pieces along with a new friend who joins the fray when Captain Marvel answers the call she received from Nick Fury in the closing moments of ‘Infinity War’.
Now it’s up to the Avengers to track down Thanos and the Infinity Stones in an attempt to undo what he did.
Beyond that saying much of anything else would be diving into spoiler territory because what happens after the first 15 minutes of the film really turns the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe on its head and revealing that here would just ruin the movie.
Perhaps this is the best way to tell you about the plot without saying anything at all — the trailers for ‘Avengers: Endgame’ don’t really reveal anything noteworthy when it comes to the actual film you’ll witness in theaters. That’s a nice change of pace after the modern day trailer seeks to give as much information as possible and by the time you watch the movie, it feels like you’ve already seen half of it.
Let’s put it this way — the ‘Avengers: Endgame’ trailers are barely a glimpse of what actually happens in this movie and it’s honestly better that way.
ACTING, DIRECTING AND SCRIPT
Because ‘Avengers: Endgame’ slims down the cast rather dramatically after the events in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’, the actors remaining really get an opportunity to shine in this movie.
There’s little doubt that the campaign to get serious award nominations for ‘Avengers: Endgame’ has already started and if Robert Downey Jr. isn’t at the top of that list then something is wrong with the critics trying to tell us who is really the best of the best this year.
Downey’s performance in ‘Endgame’ is the culmination of the work he started back in ‘Iron Man’ and he’s been the backbone that this series of films has been built upon. What he does in ‘Avengers: Endgame’ goes beyond anything he’s done before because in many ways his character is left broken after the events in ‘Infinity War’ and watching him put the pieces back together again is just awe inspiring.
Because there’s a lot of required storytelling in this film that doesn’t require CGI, Downey really gets a chance to shine as Tony Stark rather than just flying around as Iron Man. Don’t worry there’s plenty of that as well but keeping Downey outside of the Iron Man helmet for a lot of this movie really pays off.
There also has to be a special nod given to both Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth for their individual performances as Captain America and Thor.
If Downey was the backbone of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Evans has been the lifeblood making arguably the best set of individual films in the entire series. From ‘Captain America: The First Avengers’ all the way through ‘Captain America: Civil War’, Evans has embodied Steve Rogers in a way that no actor could have done in his place. In ‘Avengers: Endgame’, Evans is once again the magnetic force that keeps pulling the team together and his inherent goodness just shines through with every scene in this movie.
Hemsworth also manages to serve as the best possible comedic relief in an otherwise bleak bit of plot where the heroes are attempting to find a way to bring back all of their friends who turned to dust in the last movie. It’s remarkable how much Hemsworth transformed the character of Thor over the course of three solo movies and then with his roles in ‘The Avengers’ trilogy.
Actually it’s safe to say at least part of the credit goes to director Taika Waititi for making ‘Thor: Ragnarok’, which really was Hemsworth’s true coming out party as that character and it’s really carried forward with the performances in ‘Infinity War’ and ‘Endgame’.
The script from Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely really feels like a movie written by two guys who truly understand the heart, humor and spectacle needed for these superhero movies to pay off. It makes perfect sense considering this duo is responsible for all three of the ‘Captain America’ movies and the last two ‘Avengers’ films. These guys know how to write a comic book movie and they might just be the two best to ever do it.
WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE MOVIE?
Are there flaws in ‘Avengers: Endgame’?
Yes there are a few details where it seems like writers — as great as they were in this movie — did manage to out think themselves when putting the puzzle pieces together for the story that carries the majority of the movie. Now that’s not to say it’s a huge problem but sometimes those intricate plot twists and turns lose a few movie goers over the course of three hours.
Personally, I felt the attention to detail, even in the moments that felt somewhat muddied, were done with a specific purpose in mind so it always paid off in the end.
What really matters most is that everything that happens in ‘Avengers: Endgame’ leads to a very satisfying conclusion and after 22 films that’s exactly what we all hoped would happen.
‘Avengers: Endgame’ is the most emotionally fraught superhero movie in history because it will make you laugh, it will make you stand up and cheer and it will definitely make you cry. Marvel set the bar for what it meant to be a superhero movie long ago but they somehow managed to raise the stakes even further with this film.
It will be interesting to see how they follow it up but for now just revel in a truly breathtaking piece of cinema that has never been done before and may never be done again.
‘Avengers: Endgame’ gets five out of five on the Skolnick Scale.