“Endgame” wields a powerful gauntlet of nostalgia, heartbreak and resolution.
“Avengers: Endgame” is the culmination of over 10 years of Marvel storytelling, starting with 2008’s “Iron Man.” Anthony and Joe Russo take the directorial reigns to conclude the story they set up in last year’s “Infinity War.” The film follows the surviving Avengers as they band together to try and reverse the effects of Thanos’ infamous snap. The film mostly succeeds in its nostalgic send-off to a 10-year story.
“Endgame” has a large ensemble cast, as most Avengers movies do, that works as effectively as it did in the other films. Robert Downey Jr. is confident as Iron Man once again and is efficiently accompanied by Chris Evan’s Captain America, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk and Don Cheadle’s War Machine. Most performances remain consistent with previous films, while Hemsworth’s Thor has a new comedic persona as a deadbeat version of his godly character.
Additions to the main cast include Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man, Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel and Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye. Rudd adds his unique comic flavor to the ensemble, while Larson’s Captain Marvel lacks a notable presence and usually just serves as a deus ex machina. Renner powerfully portrays Hawkeye as a grieving assassin who is hell-bent on avenging the death of his family. Josh Brolin is back as Thanos, and he’s as menacing as ever.
While serving as the climax of a decade of storytelling, “Endgame” also provides a unique superhero ensemble adventure. Within the first 30 minutes of the film, it becomes clear that it will not be following the expected path. The plot makes sure to use its iconic characters, locations and events to its advantage. Characters travel to all areas of Marvel Cinematic Universe, bringing back fan-favorite locations and sequences. The battle scenes are tightly edited and framed, making sure to retain focus on the actual characters and not just the explosions. Despite its nearly three-hour runtime, the film never seems to lose itself and keeps the viewer engaged.
Despite the barrage of out-of-this-world special effects, the film still manages to provide shockingly humane scenes with its super-charged character roster. Characters grieve and try to move on from the devastating events of the Infinity War. They act like humans, despite their supernatural powers, and it enables the audience to resonate more with a fictional superhero world. One scene in particular involves Johansson’s Black Widow nibbling on a peanut butter sandwich while fighting back tears. It certainly doesn’t get more human than that.
While the film is generally an awesome experience, it certainly is not perfect. It falls into the same clichés and weaknesses many modern superhero films often do. Characters magically “figure out” how to invent ridiculous machinery, conveniently survive highly dangerous experiments and often get a bit muddled in the “rules” of its world. But like every film set in a fictional world, suspension of disbelief is necessary.
Another weakness of the film is that, despite its unique and surprising first half, it starts to become a bit predictable toward the end of its three-hour run. Unlike “Infinity War,” which marveled in its ability to shatter expectations, “Endgame” starts to become a bit conventional in the way it handles its major resolution. Regardless, there are still some impactful surprises to spice up the generics.
Overall, “Avengers: Endgame” is the satisfying conclusion Marvel fans have been waiting for.
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Rating: 4.3 dust particles out of 5