For eleven years Marvel and Disney have not only created an empire with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but they have also tried to create a spoiler-free culture around their releases. Earlier this week, Marvel released a public letter to their fans asking them to not spoil anything from Avengers: Endgame. The film is, not ending the MCU, but ending an era of our main heroes. My point in saying this is that I am going to try to be as spoiler free as possible with this review. One, I don’t want Hawkeye to shoot me down over a movie review and two, the film benefits the viewer going in cold.
Starting with where Infinity War left off, Endgame focuses on the survivors of the “snap” (the genocide of half of all living things in the universe at the hands of the god-like Thanos after he acquired six powerful stones that grant any wish with the snap of your fingers). Left defeated and devastated, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Iron Man try to right the wrongs for the people they loved and lost. Going back through their pasts to embrace their futures, the Avengers, or what’s left of them, bring nostalgia and sincerity to the final saga.
As this is the final film in their contracts, Chris Evens and Robert Downey Jr., as Captain America and Ironman respectively, led the majority of the film. They have almost switched roles in a way. Ironman is more calculated and thoughtful and Cap is more relaxed and carefree. I have always found Captain America to be super self-righteous and annoying, but in the final installment, he lets his hair down a little. In a sea of actors at the top of their game, Chris Hemsworth stands out, channeling a pop culture icon too funny to name drop in this article. Numerous characters from past Avenger and standalone films pop up in small ways, making the universe and ending seem rounded. The way they walk down memory lane, acknowledging their best films, and even the ones where they stumbled, closes this chapter in the MCU with a nostalgic resonance.
At times, the film is complete fan service. Again, I can’t provide examples of how; but if you follow predictions online after you see the movie, you will understand what I mean by this. Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel seemed criminally underused, only being used as a plot device when there were no other solutions. This makes sense because the Captain Marvel script wasn’t even written yet when Endgame was being made. However, there are ways around that without only using her as a “get out of jail free” card.
From a cinematic standpoint, this is Marvel’s best. Every shot is calculated and visually stunning. Because of it 3 hours and 2-minute runtime, the visuals and story take their time to play out in front of you. Most of the time this works though it lags in a few places. You cheer when things pay off and gasp when the worst happens. We have watched 22 Marvel films over the last 11 years and to finally see an ending that is bittersweet and brilliant makes all that devotion worth it.