This has been written spoiler free!
I’ve been systematically reviewing Marvel movies for almost a decade now, and how could I not – this. There is a feeling of sadness to think that this is the last film of an era, the final piece of a truly epic saga. True, the Marvel movie universe began strong but had its bumps and rough patches in the middle but over the last few releases it has really tightened up the writing and stories with richer characters and intricately interesting individual and inter-movie plotlines that helped polish itself up like no other superhero movie saga (cough* DC), well positioning it to make a solid homestretch for a truly anticipated landing. We all know what a cliffhanger Avengers: Infinity War (2018) left us with. In a nutshell, regardless of what critics say, most viewers and loyal fans are going to rush to the theaters or get their hands on some copy and watch this final chapter – Avengers: Endgame (2019). That is obvious and undeniable. But does it deliver?
With half the world turned to dust, and a good number of our Avengers evaporated, we find the remaining team battle-worn and miserable as they try to pick up the disintegrating pieces of what’s left. Morale is low and tempers are high (as usual). Within the first 20 minutes we get some unexpected quick encounters and surprising plot twists which leave us even more lost than before. Believe me, things happen so fast than how you’d have expected it to go you are going to go – “wait, now what happens for the rest of this movie?” The quest to find out, what we do next is on. Our characters too are not who we’ve been used to seeing and this is a nice subtle twist too of depriving us of satisfying what we thought we came for and instead giving us new flavors and differences to acknowledge and deal with – Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in this movie will do just that for you, as will the Hulk (Mark Rufallo).
Directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo also seem to have brought their endgame in the perfect direction of this movie, and I found the writing by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely to be very, very strong (phew)! This is a truly fantastic movie and a must watch. Above all, I think what stands out most is how tasteful it is. I’ve always asked for superhero movies to go beyond blowing up buildings and larger than life sets and going bang-bang-bang and further inundating us with a sea of CGI! And this treat does just that. There is a delicious balance achieved by mixing in internal human drama and character depth with the suspense of the overall stake of the story for these characters. The movie is long: a whopping 3 hours and 1 minute (like some Hindi movie), but its length is justified fully as it achieves a rare feat for today’s blockbuster movies: perfect pacing that takes its own time to walk us hand in hand with the more human elements of some of these characters we’ve come to love and recognize so well – especially Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Captain America (Chris Evans). Marvel did an almost flawless job of this strategy with Captain Marvel (2019) by taking its time to explore Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Carol Danvers’ (Brie Larson) stories.
As a film broken into two parts, and knowing that the first part was immensely successful and well-received, you could only imagine the pressure resting on this final piece to not mess up an already good thing. I think it is so comforting to tell you, in my opinion, they didn’t mess it up one bit. In this most recent concoction you get drama, laughter, goosebumps, fear, emotion, tear jerkers, love, nostalgia and really the whole package – all well wrapped and tied up with a bow. Plot twists are plenty, though subtle and your knowledge of details from the past will serve you well to understand the present. There are battle scenes that make you yell with the rest of the audience, and moments of human compassion and connection that leave you feeling connected with the screen as if this was your family struggling to find their way to do whatever they can to save us all, regardless of the sacrifice.
I’d love to go in-depth about some of the shots but I want to veer away from spoiling it for you. The acting is solid – I mean, you wouldn’t get a more star studded cast in a superhero movie anywhere else. Maybe it is because it is the end that we almost feel like it’s a star studded reunion onscreen with everyone we’ve gotten to know over the course of the decade starts appearing up for this final send away. Markus and McFeely do not shy away from pulling the drama trigger on characters we love, as we found out last time – and this rendition is no different. The sense that mortality is at stake, even for the Godly, is ever present. I mean, we are up against Thanos, people. He is truly a God killer in this universe especially with that multicolored glistening gauntlet he flaunts around.
The cinematography also felt just right for most scenes. When we needed epic wide shots for battles we received them, and when we needed close ups for the human connection scenes we got them with slow skin-close heartwarming nearness.
This will be remembered as one of the best superhero movies ever made.
It ties up loose ends nicely, throws in a few ambiguities to make the viewer think “how did that happen again” after the movie is over, but most importantly, it craftily lands this entertaining journey with poise and the utmost satisfaction – bringing together cinematic majesty with an engaging story that surprises and engages quite harmoniously. Worth the wait. We give Avengers: Endgame a solid 9/10. Adieu.