There was an idea, called the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The idea was to bring together a group of remarkable producers, writers, directors, actors, etc., to see if they become something more. See if they worked together when we needed them to make the films other studios never could. What a time to be alive. I was 13 years old when Iron Man came out in theaters. Little did I knew then that this would be the start of what would become my all-time favorite franchise in all of entertainment. Kevin Feige and the rest of the crew at Marvel Studios had a plan to tell a series of stories taking place in the same universe using characters ripped from the comics and damn it, they stuck by their guns and delivered a cinematic experience unlike any studio before. They crafted a formula that they managed to keep fresh with most of their films and we the fans keep coming back for more every time. The film I’m going to review is the final culmination of 21 films and the end of a saga. This is Avengers: Endgame.
Thanos has wiped out half of the universe’s population like he set out to do. Now, the remaining heroes have gathered to undo the damage set by the Mad Titan, whatever it takes. If there’s any film that screams “finale,” this is it right here. In the first third, we see our heroes after suffering a massive defeat against a threat they weren’t prepared for and now, they’re at their most desperate moment to gain back what was lost. Plus, there’s a five-year time skip. Before the film’s release, people didn’t know how the movie was gonna play out, leading to several theories popping up. Well, now the movie is here and I can safely say that I was half-right. I said that they were gonna use time travel, a very popular theory, and lo and behold. The second third of the film revolves around the Avengers going back in different time periods to retrieve the Infinity Stones before Thanos, which leads into callbacks to previous MCU films. This is where we run into what I believe is the biggest issue with Endgame. Anytime a story uses time travel, it’s not going to make complete sense and is going to open potential plot holes, which there are in this film and by the end, you’ll be left with questions. As for the final third? I’ll talk more about that later on.
You thought Infinity War had a lot of characters? That’s nothing compared to Endgame, where damn near everyone from the previous MCU films are in it. Still, this is a movie about the original six Avengers and they put on their best performances to date. The MVPs of this movie are both Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Captain America (Chris Evans). After the five-year time skip, Tony Stark and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) have a daughter and are living peacefully. He ultimately becomes the one who saves the entire universe, but at a cost. We’ll get to that. Cap is still out there fighting the good fight and he’s in most of the best scenes. Let’s talk about Thor (Chris Hemsworth). Thor has been through a lot and he’s suffered the most loss. The dude lost his entire family, his friends, his home world, and most of his race. THEN, there’s the guilt he felt after failing to stop Thanos from wiping out half of the universe. After the time skip, Thor became an alcoholic slob with a beer belly wallowing in his self-pity. People were mixed on how they handled Thor in this movie because of how kickass he was in Infinity War, but I liked his arc here. It makes sense, considering everything he went through, for Thor to let himself go and try to hide his pain with humor. Granted, the fat jokes are low-hanging fruit, but seeing Thor still stand and fight even at his low point is a powerful statement, one that’s made more potent after a conversation with his mother. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) becomes Professor Hulk, which is basically Hulk’s body with Banner’s mind. He’s come to terms with the Hulk being a part of himself, so he combined the two. I was disappointed that he didn’t get a rematch with Thanos after getting his ass whooped in Infinity War. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) isn’t one of my favorite characters, but I liked him in this movie. Everyone speculated that he was going to be Ronin after losing his family and that’s exactly what happens. I also really like Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). She’s still trying to hold the team together even after all that has happened and she’s clearly weighed down by it all. During the time heist, she and Hawkeye head over to Vormir where the Soul Stone is at. If you remember Infinity War, in order to obtain the Soul Stone, a sacrifice has to be made. Both Hawkeye and Black Widow volunteer as tribute and they both fight over it with Widow ultimately sacrificing herself so that Hawkeye could see his family again. All of the other characters are great. I’m really impressed with the progression of Nebula (Karen Gillan) as a character, going from one of my least favorite parts of the first Guardians movie to being someone who I cared about. Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) was still a lot of fun and the way he came back was kinda funny. Another disappointment that I had with this movie is Captain Marvel (Brie Larson). I was hoping that she would have a significant role in the movie. Well, she saves Tony Stark and Nebula when they were stranded in space and she assists the Avengers in going after Thanos. After that, she’s nowhere to be seen in the second act, finally showing up in the final battle at the end. She’s basically a glorified cameo and Marvel missed an opportunity to get those who weren’t exactly Captain Marvel fans to get onboard with this character.
In this movie, there are two versions of Thanos (Josh Brolin): present Thanos and past Thanos. After the Decimation, present Thanos resides on a farm in a remote planet. He gets jumped by the Avengers and doesn’t fight back due to injuries he received while destroying the Infinity Stones. He gets decapitated by Thor, who finally got a chance to go for the head. This all happens in the first act, which takes us to past Thanos, who, due to Nebula, catches wind of future events and the Avengers attempting to thwart his plans. While Thanos was more compelling in Infinity War, he’s still a really good villain and a serious threat.
I’ve waited a whole week, now I can finally talk spoilers. Dude, this movie is an emotional rollercoaster ride. Joy, sadness, fear, etc., it is three hours of nonstop feels. By the end of the movie, I was left an emotional wreck after the credits. Alright, let’s talk about that third act. So after getting all of the Infinity Stones, the Avengers use a Gauntlet created by Stark to undo the snap and bring back everyone who got dusted. Hulk does the snap since he can take the blowback of the Stones (though it damages his arm). At the same time this is happening, past Nebula switched places with present Nebula and uses the time machine to bring Thanos to the present, destroying Avengers HQ. We then see Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor with both Stormbreaker AND Mjolnir (that he got from the past) versus Thanos. During this fight, CAPTAIN AMERICA WIELDS MJOLNIR!! Captain America is worthy of lifting Thor’s hammer. The whole audience lost it during that moment. Then, more of Thanos’ army show up and Cap is the only one standing.
Then, you hear, “Cap, it’s Sam. On your left.” Portals open up and everyone who got snapped away returns, EVERYONE. Plus, there’s Wakandans, Asgardians, sorcerers, Ravagers, and various other allies of our heroes who show up and then Captain America says the one line that we’ve all been waiting for since the first friggin’ Avengers movie: AVENGERS… ASSEMBLE. Big cheer from the audience as two opposing armies clash in the most epic final battle in movie history period. It literally looks like pages from a comic book come to life and it was so glorious. Some awesome moments include a pissed-off Scarlet Witch beating the ever-loving dogshit out of Thanos (she watched her man die twice, can you blame her?), Captain Marvel showing up and bringing down Thanos’ ship by herself, and all of the female superheroes teaming up for one big girl power moment. Bro, give me that A-Force movie now. Fast forward later in the battle and there’s a struggle over the Infinity Gauntlet. Thanos gets the Gauntlet, saying “I am inevitable,” and snaps his fingers, but nothing happens. Turns out Tony Stark got all of the Infinity Stones and he says, “AND I… AM… IRON MAN.” Snap. Thanos and his entire army turns to dust. Our heroes have won, but it came at the cost of Tony’s life. From that to the message that Tony left behind to his funeral service, near-dead silence from the audience except for some sniffling. As someone who has kept up with the MCU since the first Iron Man, I got teary-eyed at this. Tony Stark, the face of the MCU, the man who went from a selfish jerk to a selfless hero, is dead. I knew before seeing this movie that either Iron Man or Captain America was going to die, yet it still fucked me up when it happened. Thor joins the Guardians Of The Galaxy, which means he will be in that third movie (with James Gunn returning) and I can’t wait. Cap is given the task to go back in time and put the Stones back where they were, but instead of coming back, he stays behind in the past to spend the rest of his life with Peggy Carter and we see him as an old man. He gives his shield to Falcon, just like in the comics. The last scene of the film is Steve Rogers finally getting that dance with Peggy and while it is a beautiful sendoff for Steve, it doesn’t really make sense in the grand scale of things, especially with how time travel works here. A few last things: there’s no mid or post-credits scenes. I know; I stuck around until the end along with everyone else. Also, this movie has Stan Lee’s last cameo before he passed away, which is kinda sad.
I give Avengers: Endgame a 10/10. Just when I thought Marvel Studios could never top themselves, they managed to not only meet expectations, but exceed them in many ways. This is a grand finale that very few stories achieve. The last time I’ve seen a finale this great was in Avatar: The Last Airbender and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. It’s epic, funny, and emotional with callbacks to previous movies, closure for certain characters, and a ton of fan-service, which Marvel pretty much earned at this point. Granted, the time travel stuff left a lot of questions and they didn’t do enough with certain characters, but I still really enjoyed it. Watching this movie was the best theater experience I’ve ever had in my entire life. Plus, I was there with a cousin I hadn’t seen in a long time, so that made it better. I would say go check it out, but considering it’s breaking every box-office record in existence, chances are you already have. Instead, I’ll say watch it again. If this was the last movie of the MCU, I would be completely fine with that. But these movies are making a butt-ton of money at the box office, so they’re making more and I’ll still watch them because I love this franchise. Plus, Marvel now has access to the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and other related characters thanks to Disney’s Fox acquisition, so the possibilities for storylines are now endless. The next MCU film after this is Spider-Man: Far From Home, which comes out on July 2.