The impact that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has had on modern culture is unlike anything in recent decades. The Marvel films are one of the few attractions that can lure viewers away from their couches and Netflix and into the multiplexes. The subsequent build-up of heroes and storylines converging could only mean that a final film would take on proportions unseen since the gladiator arenas of ancient Rome.
Avengers: Endgame is the 22nd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the fourth in the more specific Avengers saga. The film picks off after the devastating results of 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War where the evil alien Thanos (Josh Brolin) has successfully gathered the infinity stones that permitted him to control the elements of the universe. With them Thanos wiped out half of the universe’s population, among them many of our famed super-heroes. Endgame picks up right after Infinity War, seeing the fallout of Thanos’ plan affect our protagonists.
For the sake of spoilers I won’t go too much into the plot or the characters, but safe to say that this film was always intended to bookend the saga that kickstarted the MCU. Infinity War suffered from the fact that it didn’t feel like a full entity, seeming like a pilot to a bigger story than a stand-alone film. Endgame is very much tied to its predecessor, and thus makes the two films feel more like Part 1 and Part 2, more fitting for a streaming or TV format. However, a small screen would do no justice to the visual and acoustic spectacle; this is clearly a film to be seen in theaters. There is no harm in making two parts in film either, especially when there is so much story to tell (combined the last two Avengers films near 6 hours), but this split is also a famed studio ploy to charge two ticket-prices for one storyline and has been copied to shameful extremes by the likes of Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games. Avengers: Endgame, however, proves to be the exception, with its two comprising parts teeming with rich story and entertaining sequences that dwarf the minority “filler” scenes.
One of Infinity War’s successes was in its focus of Thanos as a main character, which allowed for some grounding to take place amid the overwhelming numbers of revolving superheroes. Endgame doesn’t choose a character to follow, risking the scattering and confusion of its viewers. However, Joe and Anthony Russo, who return to the directors’ chairs, are able to find an incredible balance, using nostalgia and their actors’ charisma to pull the audience through the 3hr-plus running time.
The film’s first few scenes are certainly more meditative than one might expect, choosing to focus on character development as the inevitable epic showdown comes to fruition. The film soon kicks into high gear not slowing down until the final moments, keeping the short-attention-spanned audiences of today completely rapt with attention. The viewing I attended had not only a packed theater, but the entire audience clapping and cheering boldly every couple of minutes, adding for a much more immersive viewing. Again, just another reason to go see Endgame in theaters.
It’s frustrating to talk about a film without being able to dissect specific moments, but I know how much I hate a spoiler, and thus will try and respect your patience. One thing is for certain, Endgame delivers a crowd-pleaser like no other in recent cinematic history, delivering on the incredibly high expectations it had set on itself. It proves to be a great finale for certain portions of the MCU with all the emotional, humorous, and epic moments that any viewer could ask for.