Over the course of 11 years and 22 films, Marvel have built a cinematic universe that has captivated and brought together millions through immersive storytelling, brought to us by a ever-expanding mixing pot of creators. All their efforts and talents culminated in the climactic instalment of what has been deemed Marvel’s ‘Infinity Saga’ – box-office record-breaker Avengers: Endgame.
After devastation was brought to the MCU in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, fans were left wondering what the future held for our favourite heroes. The heavily-anticipated Endgame provided answers in abundance. The film picks up almost immediately from the end of Infinity War and barely pauses for breath from start to finish – except for well-played emotional beats within its second act – as it seeks to right the ‘wrongs’ of the events of Infinity War. While Infinity War was structured more like a series of vignettes, Endgame opts for a more traditional three-act structure, and all for the better. Constantly playing with the audience’s emotions, the film deftly weaves in and out of action sequences and emotional sub-plots, sprinkled with copious twists and surprises, some major to the plot and others simply a character’s shocking new appearance. It pays homage to, and often literally replays, many of the key events of the last ten years’ worth of movies, yet somehow manages to not fall into the trap of unimaginative fan-service.
Fan-service, however, there is aplenty in Avengers: Endgame. It is a three-hour-long thank you to the millions of fans across the globe, providing moments that we could only have ever dreamed of and never really expected would be played out onscreen. The Russo Brothers crafted a film that poured its heart out to the audience and gave us everything it possibly could in what ended up being a final bow for some characters. The epic and ambitious finale was the stuff of superhero dreams that could induce goosebumps in even the most casual of viewers. Even though Spider-Man: Far from Home (July 2019) will be the true finale of this saga, it will act as an epilogue to Endgame’s closing hour. Said hour packed in so much emotion, action, and incredible story that it will be hard to forget.
Endgame is also unafraid to break the rules in order for it to work, forcing us to forget everything we thought we knew about aspects of science-fiction and the superhero genre. It reinvents the rules so that it can deliver us a totally unencumbered viewing experience, which I doubt even the pernicketiest of sci-fi boffins could complain about. It condenses hours of story into a ‘mere’ three-hour runtime, and neither emotion nor exhilaration is sacrificed in the process, with more surprisingly mirthful moments than you can shake a stick at. Act one reinvents beloved characters and reintroduces them to us, while act two throws them into a mixing pot and builds them up once more, with act three finally bringing about the end not only Endgame’s story, but also that of a decade-long anthology.
The cast are absolutely no small part of Endgame’s triumphant success. The people behind the characters brought their A-Game for this movie, likely understanding the full sentimental value it would have for many of the viewers. Not a single actor failed to deliver a convincing performance, but special props must be given to Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans, and Robert Downey Jr. all of whom delivered emotional and layered performances with aplomb, helping elevate the movie. Paul Rudd is also worthy of note for his always-charming portrayal of Ant Man/Scott Lang. His character helps bring some appropriately handled and much-needed humour to the film, while also providing opportunity for the other characters to show their funnier sides too. After Infinity War’s bleak ending, such humour could have been tactless if handled incorrectly, but this was far from the case.
Avengers: Endgame is sentimental, epic, emotional, and a sincere love letter to any and all who have grown to love the characters and movies of the MCU in the past decade. It borrows enough flavour from its twenty-one predecessors to give a familiar, comfortable feel, while simultaneously offering a unique and individual experience. The final moments say ‘farewell’, ‘hello again’, and ‘until next time’ before bowing out with content and triumph. A comic book brought to life; it is the perfect film for lovers of the superhero genre, and everyone else too.