Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Avengers: Endgame - Review (NO SPOILERS)

Eleven years. Twenty-One films. One Universe.

Stitching together narrative threads of dozens of characters and multiple franchises into one expansive story is not an easy task on paper. And yet, Marvel has produced something that has systematically changed Hollywood and popular culture at every turn. Now, with Avengers: Endgame, it all comes to an end, at least for now.

Adrift in space with no food or water, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) sends a message to Pepper Potts as his oxygen supply starts to dwindle. Meanwhile, the remaining Avengers — Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Captain America (Chris Evans) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) — must figure out a way to bring back their vanquished allies for an epic showdown with Thanos (Josh Brolin) — the evil demigod who decimated the planet and the universe.

When discussing Avengers: Endgame, there is a great deal of caution that must be taken. One must highlight what makes this story such an emotionally satisfying, near perfect conclusion to the first saga of this universe while maintaining the secrecy of the film’s biggest reveals and surprises. Simply put, this is epic storytelling. A three-hour journey full of character moments before reaching an explosive and exhilarating third act. Never once does it slow down, yet there are quiet moments to breathe and appreciate how special this film truly is.

Part of the film’s success falls to how engrained some of the actors are in their roles by this point. Not only is the audience familiar with these characters, but the people behind them are as well, and this familiarity has gone a long way to make these already popular characters iconic. 

The original six Avengers get the spotlight this round, bringing the entire franchise full circle. Performances from Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans stand out as tremendous work amidst a bevy of fantastic performances. Despite an ensemble cast to end all ensemble casts, each character gets their moment to shine and contribute to this mammoth film, including more than a few cameos from MCU veterans.

Surprisingly, and arguably thankfully, the action doesn’t bog down the story elements that are so vastly important to getting this film right. Most of the first two acts contain very little action in fact, perhaps saving it all for the bombastic and outrageous comic book insanity of the third. When the film does get to the action, it doesn’t hold back. Numerous examples of visual eye candy that comic book fans have dreamed of seeing on the big screen come to life, delivering emotions that are almost impossible to put into words.

Avengers: Endgame is not a perfect film, very few are. But it is, without a doubt, the perfect conclusion to this expansive universe. No film should have to endure the expectations that have been placed upon this film, and yet, it absolutely delivers in every regard. It delivers on the action, it delivers on the small character moments, and it delivers, in spades, the level of emotion and ambition that a finale of this magnitude needs to work. For those individuals that have invested time into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this is a dream come true. A film that will be talked about for years to come as the incredible and moving comic book film that changed Hollywood. 

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