(This review contains mild spoilers)
The Russo Brothers have the impossible task.
Oh, explaining how the surviving heroes of Avengers: Infinity War, band together to save the universe five years after the events of the last movie? That’s actually the easy part.
No, the challenge here is wrapping up 11 years worth of epic filmmaking, and giving a large cast of characters some sort of closure, while at the same time resolving the dangling plot points of the last movie, and turning it into a blockbuster event.
Avengers: Endgame might have been sold as an epic conclusion of a 21 movie spectacle, but beneath the special effects is an effort to conclude the first three phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
And make no mistake – even with 3 full hours, there is a lot to absorb. So no, the Russos weren’t lying when they said that there is no time for even a quick toilet break. From life to death, love and hatred, forgiveness and redemption, to loyalty and betrayal, Endgame is an emotional roller coaster ride that makes you shout in joy for one second, before turning you into a mushy mess the next.
But before you proceed, just make sure that you watch all the last few movies and post-credit scenes that have come before. At the speed that Endgame develops, there is very little done to explain how Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) shows up at the Avengers headquarters, and how the surviving members hunt down Thanos (James Brolin). You must also familiarise yourself with the little details, such as Clint Barton/Hawkeye’s family, because the first 5 minutes of the film sets the tone for the movie.
By the time Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) appears to explain how the Quantum Realm can help save everyone, the action-adventure turns into a heist caper, and that’s actually the only low point in an otherwise excellent, heartfelt film. Without spoiling anything, let’s just say that the method of salvation used by the Avengers has opened up more plot holes and questions. And if you really need to know how, James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) explains it in the best way possible – Back to the Future, Terminator, Looper, 12 Monkeys, Frequency, Groundhog Day… you get the meaning.
This also makes the middle bit a little bit of a meander, as the movie revisits some iconic moments in the MCU. Unless you are a walking encyclopedia on all things Marvel, the chain of events can get hard to follow, and a little all over the place towards the end.
Still, the most amazing thing is not how the Russos manage to weave it all in, but in how they managed to recruit some of the top names in the MCU to make their return in Endgame, some for a short cameo, but some in lengthy events that help reshape the narratives of their characters.
Still, the motherload is in the final act, where Thanos makes his last stand against the Avengers. There will be movies that revolve around epic battles and fights, but Endgame delivers where it matters. Hearing the undisputed leader of the Avengers utter the famous battle cry, seeing them band together in an epic fight that has no equal, to seeing a fallen, worthy hero finally lifting his team in the most anticipated manner possible – Endgame is filled with these Easter Eggs that fans have waited more than 10 years to see.
Oh, and a special shoutout goes out to Chris Hemsworth (Thor), who consistently delivers an impact performance as the God of Thunder. Just when you thought you’ve seen all aspects of the Asgardian, Endgame delivers on another that will weigh heavily on the audience.
That and the chemistry between Jeremy Renner and Scarlett Johansson. These two need to be in a movie together, and it should have happened yesterday.
And just when you thought there were no more surprises, Marvel pulls yet another, as this is the first MCU film in the last 11 years, to not have a post-credit scene of any type. That’s because after all the action is over, and things have been done and dusted, Endgame spends some time on epilogues for several key characters, while also setting new beginnings for others.
Some of them are narratives are different from the comics, but nonetheless provides fitting endnotes to the characters. Even if these endings are reset by future filmmakers and storytellers, the Russos have cleverly woven concluding chapters for a host of heroes.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
Endgame serves as a great conclusion to 11 years and 21 movies, as it also sets new challenges ahead for some of our heroes. Long live the Avengers.
Story - 8/10
Direction - 9/10
Characterisation - 9/10
Geek Satisfaction - 10/10