Avengers Endgame review Robert Downey Jr Chris Evans

Year: 2019
Director(s): Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writer(s): Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Region of Origin: US
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1, 1.90:1 (IMAX)
Rating: PG-13
Digital, Color, 181 mins

Synopsis: The Avengers left behind after Thanos’ snap band together for one last ride. (Source)

Infinity War was Marvel’s first true superhero epic. After a decade of character investment, the Marvel Cinematic Universe finally began to lock into place. Characters met for the first time, the Infinity conflict had finally arrived, and galactic-trotting set pieces tested all of our heroes while setting the stage for universe changing stakes. It remains an incredible acrobatic feat of narrative prowess and unmistakably fun spectacle, but it’s also half of a movie. Avengers: Endgame is the other half of the puzzle, and a head spinning journey into comic book insanity. All of the ideas that have painstakingly built up the MCU, heroism, family and friendship have been distilled to their most potent form. If you struggled to be on board before this, it probably won’t be your thing. For those of us who have been there, it’s literally a once in a lifetime event that pays everything off and will probably never be replicated again.

After that inevitable snap, both Thanos and the Avengers are reeling from aftershocks. Without getting too into the details, there’s an understandable amount of grief and loss, and the story actually takes time to reflect on such a massive defeat. Every member of the Avengers and even those close to them have been shaken and changed forever. The fracturing amongst the team is amplified, as are their own individual self-doubts and a broken sense of duty. They’ve lost everything. As will happen in these types of stories, however, an opportunity presents itself. One that’s so crazy, it just might work. With absolutely nothing left to lose, the original Avengers lineup pulls together for one last ride, no matter the cost.

Avengers Endgame review Robert Downey Jr

It isn’t at all a stretch to say that this is A LOT of movie. There are dozens of moving pieces, countless reversals, surprises and a pace that makes sense given the deep emotional stakes. At the core of it all, everything comes back to character. This is both the Avengers’ and the MCU’s defining moment. Luckily, the Russo brothers nicely direct and delineate each act narratively and tonally. Every action and scene is in service to the original Avengers lineup, completing character arcs that have evolved since the MCU’s humble beginnings. So yes, this may be one of the most gargantuan films ever made, but it’s also incredibly personal. In a further stroke of genius, the story pushes things forward quite literally. Smart, inventive solutions are found for irreversibly acts which don’t betray a few subtle resets. This is absolutely Marvel at its most wild and unhinged, almost perfectly mimicking the scale and scope of comic book crossovers with incredible invention, energy and reverence. 

Given the breadth of the story, it’s a no brainer that the ensemble truly shines. This cast is as stacked as ever, and each actor has already become synonymous with their roles. Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans get the most play, due to the film centering around their relationship, and they’re incredible contrasting equals. Without these two, none of these films would hold up, and they are the glue that makes this film’s heart beat. Mark Ruffalo gets to turn a new corner with Banner and Hulk, each of which come into their own after a series of shifting appearances. Jeremy Renner and Scarlett Johansson, always relegated as the normies, give Hawkeye and Black Widow painfully grounded perspectives. They add weight to everything. Chris Hemsworth’s Thor gets to show yet another side of himself, but one that only reinforces who he is. Hemsworth further mines his comedic chops and instant charisma. Perhaps the biggest glow up here is Karen Gillan’s Nebula. She’s now become one of the MCU’s best characters in Endgame. Gillan has a lot of range underneath the robotic makeup, but makes every moment count. Looking at the performances alone, the film is a testament to perfect casting, and every reason that we can’t quit these movies. 

Avengers Endgame Nebula War Machine

While admittedly, the film opens up some major technical and logical gaps in reason, its heart is genuine and with the characters who populate its dense world. Any iffy conundrums caused by twisty narrative aren’t world-breaking in any real way. The film wondrously manages to give each character and their fans some beautiful payoff without feeling like cheap fan service. There is a great amount of permanence and closure to the film, and the way it’s all orchestrated is monumental and rewarding. In other words, the action is big, but the heart and exploration of family is even bigger.

Marvel puts everything on the table with Endgame. It’s the type of insane sorcery that we’ll no doubt want to revisit as time passes, and a bold benchmark in the growing history of cinematic superhero films. With all of its instantly iconic moments and colorful splash page visuals, this film is exactly why we go to the movies. These are characters we love, symbolizing ideas that we all want to strive for. We laugh with them, cry and mourn with them, and in the end, are empowered and reinvigorated. What a confident end to to a smart, satisfying era of blockbuster wonder.