Avengers: Endgame Review: An Uneven Yet Satisfying Conclusion Fans Will Adore
No other film in 2019 (sorry, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker) has more buzz surrounding it than Avengers: Endgame. The hype is so strong due to the marketing campaign’s promise that Endgame will be an epic conclusion to Avengers: Infinity War, which left millions of Marvel fans devastated as their favorite characters vanished into thin air following the snap of Thanos’ fingers. 11-years after the MCU’s start with 2008’s Iron Man, among other reasons, Avengers: Endgame is not only going to become one of the most talked about films of the year but one of the biggest blockbusters of all time.
Like most, I was very excited to see Avengers: Endgame. For the past 11 years, I have not only watched all 21 films leading up to this one but have become attached to the majority of these characters. As I have stated many times in the past, no film franchise is without flaws and the Marvel Cinematic Universe is no different. The major distinction, however, is how even when a Marvel film fails to wow me, I still find something about that film that I like. For example, I didn’t like the first two Thor movies, but I liked Tom Hiddleston’s portrayal of Loki. Whether it’s a character, direction, soundtrack, or the visual effects, I tend to find something to grab onto with even the MCU’s weakest efforts.
Avengers: Endgame is an odd film to review. While there is a lot to admire about what directors Anthony and Joe Russo, and writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely managed to pull off, there are certain things that didn’t work. I have no plans to ruin the fun surprises for anyone, so I will try my very best to go into detail while keeping this review fairly spoiler-free as possible. That said, the film opens, unlike any other MCU film. It’s a cold open reminding the audience of what Thanos has done and how it has affected the Avengers and the world. This scene is nothing short of spectacular and sets the bar relatively high for the rest of the film.
Soon after, we get to see all of the remaining Avengers reuniting and working together to form a plan to take back the infinity stones from Thanos. Unfortunately, their strategy doesn’t go as planned. Feeling wholly defeated and down on their luck, the Avengers decide to go their separate ways. Each of them moves on with their lives while trying to adapt to the new normal.
As time passes, we get a better sense of who is still out there. The next 90 minutes is pretty much all buildup as the gang reunites once again to form a risky plan that requires them to break up into smaller teams and travel through time. It is within these 90 minutes where I feel the film has its fair share of ups and downs. There is far too much exposition, which makes the film feel longer than it should be, especially given how simple the plot of Endgame is. By overexplaining the plan, it lessens the impact when it is reasonably obvious how certain things are going to play out.
That being said, there are a lot of surprises within these 90 minutes. These surprise moments all work and will undoubtedly make fans squeal with joy. All of these scenes can be best described as fan service because they work best for those who are fully committed to the MCU. While the scenes are entertaining, I don’t think they will be nearly as effective for those who haven’t seen all of the films in this series leading up to this one. Please keep in mind that if you haven’t seen Infinity War, you must watch it before you see Endgame. And you should probably add Captain Marvel and any film involving an infinity stone to that list as well.
As for the film’s final hour, it’s is epically awesome. If you loved the airport fight in Captain America: Civil War, this film easily tops it. So many moments will undoubtedly make audiences cheer with delight, including a glimpse at other variations of Avenger teams. While almost the entire film works as fan service as I mentioned above, this enormous battle will blow fans away. Even the most casual fan will be excited.
This brings me to the film’s final 15 minutes where multiple endings provide closure to various characters. While I think the first ending was emotional and powerful, the proceeding endings felt like overkill. The first ending was the perfect way to bring this film to a close and making these additional endings even more distracting is a final scene that seemingly goes against the rules concerning the approach to time travel.
The Russos have always been big fans of popular culture, so I loved the references to all of the time travel films including Back to the Future and Hot Tub Time Machine. It was also great that Russos decided to go a different route with the tone of this film as it is nowhere near as serious as Infinity War. I like that they added a lot of humor into the mix, even if not all of the jokes worked. Seeing how the Russos perfectly blended action, humor, drama, and heart, they really made a film that plays as a love letter to the fans.
Some of the other complaints that I have with the film revolve around plot holes and how certain characters just seemed shoehorned into the film. I get that these things aren’t going to bother most fans, but it bugged me. When it comes to the time travel plotline, for example, the film makes a point to criticize time travel films but then fails to stick to its own rules.
Moreover, multiple characters make an appearance and seem somewhat out of place. I think the most noticeable one is Captain Marvel. I feel like the character was being used merely to move the story along, as the film gave the character no development whatsoever.
Endgame is centered on the original Avengers which works in the film’s favor. Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, and Thor are the most valuable players and get the most screen-time. While we have seen Thor do comedy, you have never quite seen him like this. Chris Hemsworth proves once again that Thor is at his best when he is hamming it up on-screen. I know Chris Evans’ Captain America is a fan favorite, but he is one that I have always felt somewhat indifferent towards. Evans gives it his all this time around and brings a lot to the character including some laughs.
As for Robert Downey Jr, this is the best we’ve seen from the actor ever since he put on the Iron Man suit back in 2008. I honestly felt like Downey sold this movie. He is the heart and soul of this film and ends up invoking the most emotional reactions from the audience. We all know that superhero films often get overlooked for Oscar nominations, but I do believe Downey’s performance in this film is award-worthy.
As for the secondary characters, the Russos and the screenwriters made it a priority to give some of the more undeveloped characters in the MCU some much-needed screentime. These characters include Nebula, Black Widow, and Hawkeye. I feel like these three characters have finally been given some meaty material. Karen Gillan gets to play two different versions of Nebula, and by doing so, we finally get to know what makes her tick. Black Widow and Hawkeye are closely linked in this film giving them a chance to shine.
I also want to make mention of Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man who has continuously become a highlight as well as a scene stealer in the MCU. While Ant-Man may not have as impressive of an entrance as say Captain Marvel or battle scenes as cool as Captain America’s, I do think he brings genuine humor and heart to the film. I love the scene where the Avengers decide to use him as a test dummy. It was such a simple scene but one of the funniest in the film.
Avengers: Endgame isn’t a perfect film yet the Russo Brothers, writers, and cast managed to create a movie that serves as a wholly satisfying send-off to some of the most beloved characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fans will not be disappointed and will be making multiple trips to the theater for the next few weeks. Fans should also remember to bring along some tissues as they will be needed for several scenes throughout the film. Avengers: Endgame is not without flaws, but it offers a lot to the fans, as it’s entertaining, fun and emotional.