Decimated and beaten. With all the dust settled (sorry) from the end of Infinity War, this is how Avengers: Endgame begins for earth’s mightiest heroes. After 21 previous films and 11 years building to this point in the MCU, the expectations for Endgame are undoubtedly huge and theories on how they will conclude the Infinity Saga have been running wild.
After Thanos (Josh Brolin) wiped out half the living population in the universe, what’s left of the Avengers must reassemble once more to undo Thanos’ actions and restore order to the universe.
It’s near impossible to discuss the narrative of Endgame without spoiling the film for everyone so the best I can do is that Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have done a great job in giving the film three distinctive acts. Each act offers a range of different emotions but all three of them together combine to make a superhero film that really does define exactly what an epic is, working as a love letter to the entire backlog of MCU films and their audience in the process.
The Russo brothers, who have been at the helm for, now including Endgame, four of the very best MCU films, really do deserve all the praise they get for how they handle the roster of characters on show. Being the culmination of the Infinity Saga, there are some huge moments that provide such a satisfying pay-off for anyone who’s been majorly invested in these stories and characters, like myself, since Iron Man back in 2008. The brothers know how much these characters mean to some so it’s great to see them ensure a rousing finale is provided for all to sit back and admire.
The action is rather subtle for the first two acts but it’s delivered amongst some fantastic callbacks that feel deeply nostalgic, even though they’re only from within the past decade. There’s a number of brilliant surprises along the way that brought out nothing but a feeling of sheer joy. It’s when the film reaches it’s third and final act where things reach such a level of crowd-pleasing fan service that I couldn’t help but let out a few screams. Trust me though, I wasn’t the only one. It’s as big as expected, particularly on an IMAX screen where the film really does flourish, and there’s one moment in particular that floored me, a sequence that will go down as one of the greatest in the superhero genre.
Coming to the performances, Endgame really does belong to the original six members of the initial Avengers cast; Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner. With a film juggling so many characters, these six get the majority of screen time and Downey Jr. and Evans are the two major stand-outs in Endgame, both giving possibly their best performances in their respective roles. Hemsworth continues to deliver on the comedic aspect of Thor while Ruffalo brings probably my favourite iteration of the Hulk within the MCU to life brilliantly. Johansson and Renner have always felt like the Avengers no one really cares about however, I think things might be about to change because they get a real chance to shine in this one.
Outside of the original six, the rest of the cast (and what a cast) just suit their roles down to a tee. Paul Rudd has a larger role than I thought he’d have and that’s a good thing because the man just brings the entertainment factor to the team that feels different to what everyone else brings. Josh Brolin returns as Thanos and, while his presence isn’t as impactful as in Infinity War, it’s great to see the performance of an actor like Brolin brought to life through the motion-capture wizardry that we know looks seamless enough now to not hinder a film.
Accompanied by Alan Silvestri’s brilliantly rousing score, Avengers: Endgame is a cinematic event for the ages. Not only is it the closing chapter of a 22 film arc, it’s a celebration of what makes these films and their characters so special to the millions that have supported the MCU since its inception back in 2008 with Iron Man. It’s a sprawling epic that will make you laugh hard one moment before reducing you to tears the next, and if that’s not enough, even the end credits are suitably epic for such a triumphant finale.