Writers: Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely (screenplay)
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Brie Larson, Paul Rudd, Don Cheadle, Karen Gillan, Danai Gurira, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jon Favreau, Benedict Wong, Tessa Thompson. Josh Brolin
MPAA Rating: PG-13
It can’t be overstated just how impressive the feat that Marvel has pulled off actually is. With 22 films released over 11 years, they’ve created a rich cinematic universe filled with beloved characters and engaging stories. It’s an idea that many film studios have sought to replicate, though none, thus far, have come anywhere close to doing so.
While there are no plans to stop making films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Avengers: Endgame is, in many ways, the end of what was started in 2008 when Iron Man‘s now-infamous post-credits scene had Nick Fury teasing the Avengers Initiative. Over the past decade, we’ve seen this Avengers team assemble, grow, then ultimately splinter off into two opposing sides, only to be pulled back together to face their greatest threat, Thanos (Josh Brolin), in Avengers: Infinity War.
That film saw Thanos succeeding in his plan to acquire the six cosmic Infinity Stones, which gave him the power to successfully wipe out half of all life in the universe with the snap of his fingers. For a year, we’ve been left with that cliffhanger, waiting to see how the Avengers would respond to this horrible defeat.
I won’t go into the particulars of the plot. I went into the film knowing very little about what would happen and I recommend maximizing your enjoyment by doing the same. I’ll simply say that the story wasn’t what I expected at all. And, while I was initially nervous about the film’s proposed solution to stopping Thanos (which had the potential to feel like a cheap deus ex machina), my skepticism was quickly abated as the story began to unfold.
Endgame ended up feeling like a love letter to these characters, this world and the fans who have invested in it. There are so many wonderful, poignant and funny moments that are drawn from the deep well of previous films. If you haven’t seen every film in the MCU, you can still follow and enjoy the story, but it really does reward those of us who have pored over every frame of every single one.
Still, while the film is serviced by the past, it doesn’t simply rest on its laurels. The actual story is bold and unexpected. It feels at home in this world without feeling like any of the MCU films that have come before it. There are a few potential plot holes that could surface in subsequent films as fallout from Endgame, but the story they told in this film is well-threaded and a genuine delight to watch. There are so many unexpected moments that earned genuine gasps and excited cheers from the audience.
It’s also filled with new character pairing and plenty of great cameos (some expected and some unexpected). They really benefit from having such a deep bench of memorable characters to pull from. For example: it’s fun to see how Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Okoye (Danai Gurira) or Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) interact. And the incredibly-powerful Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) feels like a game-changing addition to the world.
The action scenes are also top notch. The climactic battle is appropriately epic on a scale that hasn’t yet been seen (which is saying something when you think back on the battles we have seen), but the other action scenes are also great. Without giving anything away, there’s a battle midway through the movie featuring Captain America (Chris Evans) that is easily one of my favorite battles I’ve seen in any of these films to date.
Avengers: Endgame is a truly impressive film. It weaves together plot threads introduced in the previous 21 films and pays off those threads in a truly satisfying, epic way. I unequivocally loved this film and, if you’ve been a fan of the MCU thus far, you will, too.
Written by Joel Murphy. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. You can contact Joel at firstname.lastname@example.org