Has there been any other film with such an impossible level of fan expectation placed upon it? Not only does Avengers: Endgame represent the culmination of 11 years of storytelling, 22 epic intertwined movies and countless spin-offs, it also has to pay-off one whopper of a cliffhanger from last year’s Avengers: Infinity War, a moment so shocking and mind-blowing, it has weighed heavily on fan’s minds all year round.
Immediately, Avengers: Endgame defies said-expectations in the best way possible. Taking a narrative turn that no one could surely have predicted based on the few secretive trailers Marvel released, the film goes to great pains to buck trends and defy narrative norms for this kind of blockbuster, resulting in a wholly satisfying and enjoyable sequel. A time-travel movie mixed with an epic superhero twist, the film utilises the conventions of other time-travel stories to not only drive the narrative of undoing the devastation of Thanos (Josh Brolin) but also to revisit and celebrate some of the MCU’s finest moments.
Let’s get this out of the way early on – if you’re dipping in without at least seeing the other 21 films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, then Endgame may not be for you. Like buying a 700-page novel and skipping straight to the last chapter first, there’s little to glean here for newcomers who haven’t fully committed to the franchise until now. With so many major pay-offs, in-jokes, continuity references and surprise cameos threaded throughout, it’d be almost impossible to completely enjoy the film without having done the required reading beforehand.
That’s not to say that Endgame is a movie devoted entirely to fan-service. But if any movie has earned the right to let its proverbial hair down and go nuts, then this is the one. Like a satisfying season finale, Avengers: Endgame wears its ‘MADE FOR THE FANS’ badge proudly upon its lapel for all to see. It’s no easy feat to create a movie that simultaneously resolves countless plot threads and character arcs from multiple movies, whilst systematically developing an entertaining story in its own right, but the end result here is tremendous, ambitious and ultimately thrilling.
Both the Russo Brothers and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have crafted a perfect finale to this monumentous series, one that serves as a fitting celebration of all things MCU, as well as a well-rounded conclusion for some of the biggest mainstays within the franchise. Emotions run high throughout the film’s three hour running time, with twists aplenty that will undoubtedly elicit gasps, tears and applause.
The performances are superb of course, with every character given an important role to fulfill, but the film’s main focus rests heavily on the original six Avengers. Appropriate given the nature of this finale, it’s a joy to see these characters back together after several movies of being scattered about, and the screenplay serves every character incredibly well. It’s difficult to choose a stand-out performance, but ultimately it’s Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark who steals the show, his nuanced performance full of the humour, sarcasm and lightness of touch that made the character such a joy to watch since 2008, yet equally displaying gravitas, vulnerability and an emotional truth that makes him one of the most well-rounded characters to ever grace a blockbuster. The 11 years have truly developed him into something very special.
Endgame is a mammoth of a movie, and there’s so many performances, set pieces, gags and tear-inducing moments that it is nigh-on impossible to list them all here (especially considering how much it would spoil the movie). All we can ultimately say is the action is some of the finest ever put to screen, the effects awe-inspiring, the drama relatable and powerful. The end result is one of the best blockbusters to ever hit the big screen and easily the best MCU movie ever.
The only disappointment is that this isn’t the end. The film wraps up the many arc plots and character storylines so perfectly that it would be entirely appropriate to stop here and never make another movie set in the MCU (great as future sequels are likely to be). Sadly, that won’t be the case, but as a culmination of the now-titled Infinity Saga, the film provides a flawless final outing for this part of the ongoing story.
An unashamed love-letter to the fans who’ve made the Marvel Cinematic Universe such a success over the last decade, Avengers: Endgame is a film unrivalled by anything to come before it, whether it be Marvel or some other blockbuster franchise movie. Full to the rafters with everything that made the preceding films so good, yet developing the saga in wholly new directions, upping both the stakes and the scale tenfold, and ultimately inducing the full gamut of emotions in it’s audience, it’s an unprecedented cinematic event that demands to be seen and enjoyed over and over.
Simply put, it’s the finest blockbuster sequel ever assembled!