Now that we’ve had a week to digest the three-hour epic designed to close out the Avengers saga, this is our spoiler-free review of Avengers: Endgame.
Avengers: Endgame is…a lot to take in. This is unsurprising since it’s the longest film in the MCU to date, but with how much they had to pack in there it actually almost felt too short. Several key scenes are very condensed. To be fair, lot of them are the sort of thing savvy viewers can fill in the blanks on, but I’ve got to imagine it was pretty hard for more casual fans to pick up on what was happening at times.
But like last year’s Infinity War, the whole point of this movie is to explicitly and unashamedly cater to fans who have been dedicated to the overall development of this universe. The film is at its best when it’s paying homage to the journey that’s led its characters to this point. Even though their world has been decimated and they have to rebuild themselves and the Avengers team (and they don’t shy away from showing just how bleak things are for them) there’s still plenty of time for one-liners, callbacks to previous movies, and moments to just bask in the glory of what Marvel has achieved with these movies. And the fact that there is not only an audience for this, but one substantial enough to make this the first movie to earn upwards of a billion dollars at the box office its first weekend alone is a testament to how well Marvel Studios has built their universe over the past eleven years.
Ironically, Endgame stumbles somewhat when it comes to the “endgame” for some of its central characters. As satisfying as the moments with the Avengers all together are, the quality of their individual arcs in the movie is a bit more of a mixed bag. Some get the satisfying send-off the filmmakers promised us, some suffer from character assassination (not necessarily in the literal sense), and some simply feel unfinished and will hopefully continue on in more MCU adventures for us to enjoy. (We’ll be posting some spoiler-filled articles on the character arcs of each of the six main Avengers, so look out for those in the near future!)
In some ways this seems like the peak of not only the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the entire comic book movie genre. One scene in particular seems absolutely impossible to top, and even though it’s one most fans saw coming at some point, its existence somehow still feels miraculous. But superhero tales will still continue to hit the big screen, and we can hope that even though the scope and scale of the genre may have reached its peak with this movie, the storytelling and world-building will continue to evolve, though perhaps on a more intimate, individual level.
But if this really does prove to be the peak of the genre’s popularity, we will always be able to have this 22-movie saga that – while not perfect – managed to slowly craft a complex story unlike anything seen before in cinema, and never truly dropped the ball at any point along the way. That’s why even though Avengers: Endgame is by no means the best installment in the franchise, it works pretty well as a celebration of all that came before and as a cinematic event for the ages.