Arts movie review

All’s well that Endgame’s well

Marvel’s thrilling conclusion to the ‘Infinity War’ storyline exceeds our high expectations

9036 avengersendgame5cbe860b2f312   nathan liang
The Avengers assemble once more in the MCU's latest film, 'Avengers: Endgame.'
courtesy of walt disney studios

Avengers: Endgame
Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
Screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson
Rated PG-13, Now Playing

Hype for Avengers: Endgame has been building for a long time. We’ve been waiting for this release since Infinity War released last year, nay — since we first saw Thanos’s big purple mug in an Avengers post credit scene in 2012. Truthfully, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been building towards this moment since Iron Man forged his first suit in 2008. Certainly, Endgame, which sees the surviving Avengers reunite after a catastrophic defeat in Infinity War, has enormous shoes to fill. We went into the film wondering if even its beefy three-hour runtime would be enough, not just to resolve the colossal cliffhanger at the end of Infinity War (which ends with Thanos wiping out half the universe’s population), but also to bring the decade-long arcs of its huge cast to a close. With contracts ending for the original Avengers, plot-armor seemed to evaporate, and fans were left in the dark about what might happen to their favorite heroes. Would they die, throw in the towel, or stick around for more?

Obviously, if we answered any of these questions we’d be spoiling the film, and the only spoiler we’re willing to give is that this movie is incredible. Endgame is clearly made by fans for fans. If you’ve been following these heroes’ journeys, you will be rewarded handsomely with a million callbacks. For just about every one of the MCU movies, there’s a moment in this film that makes you glad you saw it. Some are subtle, some not so much, but they each left us feeling warm and fuzzy inside.

The film makes sure to set the stage as dismally as possible in the wake of Infinity War. The dark colors do a great job of reminding us of the impossible devastation that we’re up against, while the Avengers’ new white uniforms, bright apparel, and strikingly unique styles contrast these surroundings as the universe’s last hope. There are some spectacular visuals in this movie, but there are just as many moments showing us of how small our heroes are in the scheme of this story.

Past Avengers films, with their huge casts, may have left some viewers wanting for character development. In fact, Captain America had fewer lines in Infinity War than he did in Spiderman: Homecoming, where he only appeared on a television screen. However, Endgame does a remarkable job of highlighting each character’s individual journey within its epic story. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) get some much needed solo time where they work to overcome the near relationship-ending division that has grown between them since Captain America: Civil War. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) rely on each other’s friendship to get out of some dark places, leading to one of the movie’s most emotionally compelling moments halfway through the film. It’s nice to return to relationships that have gone underdeveloped in the last few films. Given the film’s reasonably large cast, these moments also help the audience follow the story better without sidelining characters.

The newest addition to the ensemble, Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), was also handled well. Without taking away from the closure that us fans desire for our original heroes, she contributes in a way that’s consistent with her role as a galaxy-wide defender. Other characters that didn’t get screen time in Infinity War add meaningfully to the story too. In particular, Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) instills an incredibly bleak world with his typical levity and hopefulness without it feeling forced and unnatural.

It’s great to see this mature cast express the most refined versions of themselves in this installment. We see how much they’ve grown throughout the past ten years, adapting to their weaknesses and developing new strengths. When Captain America uses his intellect to get out of situations we might’ve expected him to punch his way out of, or the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) learns to control his rage, it feels like we’ve witnessed the organic evolution of their characters, and the slow buildup makes the end result that much more satisfying. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) goes through a particularly controversial journey in this film, as he deals with his failure to kill Thanos (Josh Brolin) in Infinity War and his associated guilt. He gets a bit less focus in this film, which was at times disappointing, but Thor fans still have a few of the film’s best visuals to look forward to. While characters’ motivations make sense, Endgame provides plenty of surprises and fanservice galore.

So, should you see this movie? Yes. Would you benefit from watching the other MCU movies beforehand? Probably. Even that solo Hulk movie? Ok, maybe you don’t have to see that one, but it’s the fun we’ve had throughout the journey that makes this conclusion truly awesome.