“Avengers: Endgame” is arguably one of the most hyped and anticipated movies of the decade, if not the century, being rivaled only by other blockbuster film franchises such as “Star Wars” and “Harry Potter.” Even then, “Avengers: Endgame” has something the others do not: an epic conclusion to a 22 movie saga. Rightfully so, the movie has already crushed multiple records including ticket pre-sales and opening weekend sales, both domestic and international. In fact, as of writing this review, “Endgame” has already made over $2 billion worldwide. Regardless of how much money the movie will undoubtedly make, the real question is, does “Endgame” live up to all the hype?
The short answer is, without a doubt, yes. “Endgame” does the impossible and delivers a fulfilling conclusion to over 10 years of buildup. With a script co-authored by Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus and the Russo brothers in the directors’ chairs, the movie was certainly in capable hands, and amazingly the movie delivers on everything that was promised and more. It has emotion, humor, high stakes and a satisfying end. Of course, no movie is without its faults, but as a whole, “Endgame” is a movie for the ages.
The three hour movie starts directly after the end of “Avengers: Infinity War,” with Thanos’ (Josh Brolin’s) infamous “Snap” taking place moments before. The screen cuts directly to Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), one of the original Avengers. Predictably, his whole family gets turned to dust, setting a somber tone for the rest of the movie. However, the film doesn’t stay on Earth for long, cutting to Tony “Iron Man” Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), stranded in space, where we left him at the end of “Infinity War.” After getting an eleventh hour rescue from a new friend, Tony makes it back to Earth. The surviving Avengers regroup and hunt down Thanos, who is promptly executed by Thor (Chris Hemsworth) after revealing he destroyed all of the Infinity Stones, making his Snap irreversible. Seemingly without hope, the Avengers make their way back to Earth with no way to reverse the eradication of half the universe.
The fan theory that the film would feature a significant time jump proves correct, and the film cuts to five years later. If one wants to find faults with the movie, the pacing of this early part of the movie drags a little as the plot tries to gain footing, depicting all of the Avengers still trying to cope with the aftermath of “Infinity War.” However, it has to be said that a movie of this complexity needs a little exposition to make sense. With the arrival of Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) from the Quantum Realm, the movie slowly begins to gain speed and humor. Many things start to arrive all at once. Tony now has a daughter and is married to Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) is now Professor Hulk, which basically means he has Hulk’s strength and body with Banner’s mind, and Thor is drowning his sorrows in beer, developing quite the beer belly. But Ant-Man’s arrival means hope in the form of time travel, which needs Tony to make it work. Predictably, Tony decides to help the remaining Avengers after deliberating if risking his perfect life will be worth it. Guilt, a feeling of unrest and a picture of Peter Parker (Tom Holland) spurs Tony to take action.
Now comes act two, with a time travel heist and a movie that is firmly on its two feet. The Avengers split up into different teams in order to all go back in time at once, collect the past’s infinity stones and use a new Iron Man gauntlet to snap everyone back into existence. This is perhaps the most fun and lighthearted part of the movie until the very end of heist. We see each team go into major past movie moments from the first “Avengers” movie, the first “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie and the second Thor movie, “Thor: The Dark World.” The team composed of Natasha (Scarlett Johansson), Clint, Rhodey (Don Cheadle) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) ran into the biggest challenges. Two major things happen at once. Nebula learns that her past self’s systems can connect to her own and is caught by Thanos and Natasha and Clint arrive on Vomir. While Nebula’s predicament creates problems for the third act, the situation on Vormir culminates in one of the film’s biggest character deaths with the self-sacrifice of Natasha, also known as the Black Widow. The scene in which she and Hawkeye debate who should sacrifice themselves is brutally sad, reminding the viewer of the intense love both characters have for each other while making the film’s stakes painfully clear—not everyone is making it out alive of this one.
With all stones safely in the Avengers’ possession, they reverse the Snap with Hulk wearing the glove as it is thought he is the only one strong enough to withstand the energy. He does in fact survive it and reverses the snap leading to immediate joy which is quickly taken away when Thanos arrives after viewing the future Nebula’s memories. Thanos arrives with an army to decimate the Earth. What follows is the most epic comic book fight sequence to ever make it on screen, when Thor, Captain America (Chris Evans), and Iron Man start to fight Thanos together all the while Hawkeye is running to keep the infinity gauntlet safe. After knocking both Iron Man and Thor out of commission for a period of time, Captain America takes Thanos on by himself in an anxiety inducing battle that makes you think, “this is it, Captain America is about to die” until he doesn’t. The dusted Avengers including Spider-Man, Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and Falcon (Anthony Mackie) arrive and Captain America wields Mjolnir, Thor’s hammer, proving that he is worthy.
Once again the audience starts to feel like they’re in the clear. We get a reunion between Iron-Man and Spider-Man, Rocket and Groot, Scarlet Witch is beating Thanos up, and Captain Marvel arrives literally obliterating his ship with her fists. However, the infinity gauntlet ends up making his way to Thanos in spite of the Avengers’ efforts. With no other choice left, Tony gives up his life and puts the gauntlet on, dusting all of the enemies, including Thanos himself. What follows is one of the most heartbreaking movie deaths of the man who started the Marvel Cinematic Universe finally gets to rest and completes his character arc. Iron Man’s funeral is as sad to watch as his death, bringing all the characters together once again to say goodbye to the one they once loved.
The final part of the movie sees Captain America leave to return the infinity stones to their proper place in time to keep the timeline accurate. Steve doesn’t come back, however, and stays in the past to live out his life with Peggy. We later see Thor also say goodbye on Earth as he leaves to find himself and joins the Guardians on their outer space adventures. All in all, the movie ends tied up nicely with a bow, a satisfying conclusion.
Ultimately “Endgame” is a once in a lifetime movie that brings together and finishes a storyline which is 22 movies in the making. It pays homage to its predecessors and provides a satisfying conclusion to all of the characters we’ve come to love over the decade of movies. The biggest problem of “Endgame” is that it expects the viewer to have seen and remembered the other 22 movies. Much of the story relies on past events and will not make sense if you have not seen the other movies. In the end, “Endgame” is a perfect movie for Marvel fans, but not for the casual viewer.