Archives by Day

July 2019

Avengers: Endgame

Platform(s): Movie
Genre: Action
Developer: Marvel Studios
Release Date: April 26, 2019


Movie Review - 'Avengers: Endgame'

by Adam Pavlacka on April 26, 2019 @ 2:15 a.m. PDT

After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War, the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to undo Thanos' actions and restore order to the universe.

It's been nearly 11 years (and 21 films) since Iron Man debuted as the first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). In that time, we've been introduced to multiple characters from multiple realms. Marvel characters who weren't major players in the comics were elevated to superstar status in the movies. Most importantly, we've seen these characters grow and evolve. Assembling a proper conclusion to the saga was never going to be an easy task, but to their credit, the Russo Brothers managed to get it mostly right.

Picking up immediately after the events of "Avengers: Infinity War," "Endgame" is all about the aftermath of that film. It is equal parts action, humor, and heart, with the story beats not only focusing on defeating Thanos but also in how the surviving heroes have dealt with the personal aftermath of "the snap." The greatest feeling of failure comes from letting down a loved one, and that's a theme that is explored in "Endgame." Each of the characters deals with failure and loss in their own way, with some becoming vengeful, some becoming preoccupied with work, and others simply shutting out the world. How they overcome that hump is a driving force behind the personal stories.

While "Endgame" wraps with an epic third act that includes nearly everyone, the focus of the story is on the core team that we've all known for years. It's an interesting contrast with the concluding act, as the middle hour contains some of the most personal bits of storytelling for these characters.

I'm not going to detail the plot, both to avoid spoilers and because it all works much better on-screen than it sounds in print, but one of the benefits of the story structure is the way in which it allows the film to both revisit and contextualize what we know of the Avengers. There is plenty of fan service here but not in a bad way. Instead, it's delivered as a means to tie up loose ends for major story points as well as minor threads that were merely teased in earlier movies. One of my favorite scenes in "Endgame" is a callback to "Captain America: Civil War" that brilliantly subverts your expectations while still delivering in a big way.

The trademark Marvel humor is here in full force, with witty quips and on-point one-liners delivered with aplomb, though they are smartly timed so as not to interfere with the weightier moments — and there are some weighty moments. Tears were evident in the audience at my screening, both from hardcore fans and more casual viewers. Some of that is due to the investment that viewers have made in these characters over the years, but a large portion is also due to the story, as "Endgame" is many things, but it is not a big reset button. The events of both "Infinity War" and "Endgame" have occurred for these characters, and those events have consequences.

That's not to say the movie is perfect. For one thing, it relies on the audience to have some familiarity with the overall MCU. This is not a film to watch as your introduction to the franchise. At least one of the character debates in the middle act crosses the line from dramatic to overdone melodrama. Still, any missteps that are made over the course of the first two acts are immediately forgiven once the words "Avengers Assemble" cross Captain America's lips.

If you thought the final battle in "Infinity War" was impressive, you ain't seen nothing yet. What's here is a Marvel fan's dream, as well as something that must have taken an extraordinary amount of time to choreograph and coordinate before filming began. The battle is every character's moment to shine, and nearly everyone is featured. Some get more screen time than others, which is a given, but no one is left out.

There are also multiple hero moments, akin to Thor's arrival in Wakanda in "Infinity War." Some of these feature individuals, while others focus on a group of heroes. What's impressive from a visual perspective is how the Russos have managed to capture the look and feel of a massive comic battle so well. There were multiple instances that looked as though they could have been lifted directly from the pages of a Marvel book. I wouldn't be surprised to see still images from the last act used as art once the Blu-ray drops.

After the action wraps, "Endgame" also manages to deliver a proper epilogue for all of the major characters. The film is not just a bookend to a 22-chapter saga, but it's also a love letter to fans and a solid passing of the torch for a new generation of heroes. It doesn't wipe the slate clean. It leaves plenty of potential for storytelling, but it's clear that the Avengers as we know them have reached the end of their journey. It's time for a new team to step up to the plate and assume the mantle for the next generation of films.

Score: 9.5/10

"Avengers: Endgame" is rated PG-13 and has a running time of 3 hours and 1 minute. It is showing in 2-D, 3-D, IMAX and IMAX 3D.

Editor's Note: Unlike other MCU films, there is no post-credit stinger here. The movie is over once the credits start to roll.

More articles about Avengers: Endgame
blog comments powered by Disqus