Thanos demands your silence, and we’re committed to helping you stay spoiler-free. This is an entirely spoiler-free review of “Avengers: Endgame.” #DontSpoilTheEndgame
The world of superheroes changed forever at the snap of Thanos’ fingers.
Now, the Avengers who survived the dusting of last year’s “Avengers: Infinity War” are back and looking to, well, avenge half of humanity and reverse the deadly snap.
“Avengers: Endgame” serves as the final chapter of a 22-film saga spanning 11 years and countless superheroes. With so much riding on a single film, there are opportunities for a lot of things to go wrong– yet “Endgame” nails it.
Before the Avengers embark on their desperate attempt to undo the devastation, they break their huddle with a motivational catchphrase: “Whatever it takes.” But the superheroes aren’t the only ones going to extremes here– directors Anthony and Joe Russo ensured pure satisfaction, filling their movie to the brim with fan favorites, easter eggs and everything Marvel fans desired.
At a massive three hours and one minute, “Endgame“’s runtime might seem intimidating, but it has to be the quickest three-hour movie ever, all thanks to Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely’s smart and well-paced screenplay. There’s certainly a ton going on, but nothing ever feels overambitious or stretched too thin.
In “Infinity War,” the biggest hurdle was distributing screen time between some 30 characters without anyone feeling cheated, but this time around, the franchise has gotten back to its core players. With all the explosions and Infinity Stones, it’s easy to forget the humans at the heart of the franchise– the original Avengers: Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye. They’re all connected by human relationships and “Endgame” finally takes the time to once again fully explore them. As each one struggles to cope with the fallout of the Snapture, the bonds between the heroes prove to be their strongest weapon.
In a movie with a star-studded cast overflowing with stellar performances, Scarlett Johansson and Robert Downey Jr. stand above the rest. Johansson’s Black Widow, who initially seemed marginalized as a sex symbol for the franchise and has so often been relegated to the backseat, is the glue holding the team together in this final installment. As a result, Johansson finds herself starring in some of the film’s most powerful scenes.
Ultimately, it’s only right for the man who started the Marvel Cinematic Universe with 2008’s “Iron Man” to be the one leading it to the finale. “Endgame” acts as a superb swan song for both Downey Jr. and his lovably egotistical Tony Stark. Although he’ll never get the credit he deserves because superhero movies are usually not looked at as award-worthy, Downey Jr. turns in one of the year’s most compelling performances so far.
Next up for Marvel is this summer’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” but after that a majority of the upcoming slate is still tightly under wraps, meaning the future of many of the MCU’s favorite superheroes are very much up in the air. This uncertainty, coupled with “Endgame”’s overwhelming magnitude and tremendous sense of closure make it all the more emotional. There’s no doubt “Endgame” is the franchise’s most sentimental entry, so be sure to have a handful of tissues ready.
As the Avengers conclude their first era, it’s clear that certain faces will be missed moving forward. But, for the first time in the franchise’s 23-film history, it actually feels like something is coming to an end here. No cliffhangers, no post-credits teasers. Instead, there’s a real sense of finality in the closing minutes of “Avengers: Endgame” and, surprisingly, that feels OK.
As Stark says, “Part of the journey is the end.” The MCU will live on, but for many of Earth’s mightiest heroes, their time has come. “Avengers: Endgame” may fall just short of “Infinity War,” but it’s certainly packs more emotion and satisfaction, allowing for an epic finale and a poignant farewell.
Initial Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5
2nd Viewing Star Rating: 5 out of 5
Zach Goins is a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association based in Raleigh, N.C. Zach co-founded Inside The Film Room in 2018 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of the website and co-host of the podcast. Zach also serves as a film critic for CLTure.org.