Written by Daniel Callaghan.
Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, Avengers: Endgame is the 22nd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the direct sequel to last year’s Avengers: Infinity War, and the final chapter in the now officially titled Infinity Saga. Running at three hours, it is also the longest film yet to come from this franchise and the fourth Marvel entry to be directed by the Russo brothers, who have made some of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s best films. Now that we’ve arrived at the grand finale, the salient question needs to be answered: is it any good?
Taking place a few days after the devastating events of Infinity War, the remaining Avengers must do whatever it takes to undo Thanos’s victory (kind of a spoiler from the last movie) in order to restore harmony to the now decimated universe.
I don’t give anything else away besides that (this will remain spoiler-free).
The original title for this movie was Infinity War: Part 2 before being changed as it was believed to be very a separate kind of film from its predecessor, and I can definitely understand why this choice was made. Whereas Infinity War was a grand epic with plenty of action that moved at a quick pace, Endgame takes the opposite approach. It chooses to focus more on character-building and having them talk about their feelings rather than the kicks and punches. However, much like Infinity War, the Russo brothers know who should be sharing their scenes with who, making these scenes watchable and wonderfully entertaining. Because these characters are so defined and likeable, the film excels in being simultaneously dramatic, hilarious, heartfelt, and heartbreaking, rarely feeling forced or unpleasant. Furthermore, the film never becomes too depressing and maintains an uplifting and inspiring tone throughout its runtime. I will go on record to say that I got teary-eyed at a few instances in this film.
Being the final film in this chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Avengers: Endgame is also being executed as a giant celebration of all the previous films in this franchise and a love letter to its fans. To say that this film uses its long-running time to accomplish this as perfectly as possible is an understatement. For the most part, the three-hour running time isn’t felt too much. There are, however, a few instances where scenes could have been shortened a fraction, and it’s here that the length is apparent. Without giving anything away, the main crux of the story may also be slightly confusing at times and bring about a few continuity issues within the bigger picture. With that said, these moments are very few and far between and certainly don’t hamper the experience. Despite the action being slightly absent compared to the previous film, it is certainly fantastic when it happens. One action sequence could possibly be the most awe-inspiring I’ve witnessed since the battle of Gondor in Return of the King.
While Infinity War focused more on the villain, Endgame is definitely an Avengers movie, and much like every other Avengers film, every cast member is fantastic. Whether it’s Robert Downey, Jr’s Iron Man, Chris Evans’s Captain America, Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye or Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, everyone fills their part as key players in the film’s story. Having all lost people they cared about at the end of Infinity War, the Avengers cast is wonderfully convincing as broken and regretful people, especially compared to 2012’s more lighthearted The Avengers. While I’m not a huge fan of their solo films, Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel and Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man are also welcome additions to the film, with the latter providing some of the funnier moments. Josh Brolin’s Thanos, however, does take a slight backseat to the story since the main focus is back on the Avengers team, and the intrigue surrounding him may be somewhat lacking compared to the same character in Infinity War. This is nonetheless forgivable as not only is there a previous film with him as the main focus, he still manages to be a rightly feared adversary and a worthy opponent to the heroes regardless.
Production-wise, there are plenty of standouts. The visuals effects are brilliant throughout, maintaining the same crisp look of Infinity War with motion capture and realistic settings, while also adding its own flair. Explaining exactly what I’m talking about could be a potential spoiler, but I will say that it is both clever and excellent. Trent Opaloch’s cinematography remains a noticeable staple of the Russo Brothers’ directing style, allowing for a great variety of camerawork when compared to some other MCU films, as well as adding great dynamics to the action scenes. Alan Silvestri’s score is not as bombastic or epic as his work in Infinity War, but his much more downplayed approach remains a nice support to the hopelessness and hopefulness throughout this film, and the Avengers theme is always welcome to hear. It could be the last time we hear it.
Despite a few issues regarding pacing and the main villain being slightly less interesting than previously seen, Avengers: Endgame is undoubtedly a worthy closing chapter of the Infinity Saga in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Wonderfully defined characters, an engaging story, and incredible action make this film an experience for the ages. For anyone like me who has been with this franchise since 2008’s Iron Man, it’s one that won’t be forgotten anytime soon. Marvel Studios and the Russo Brothers wanted to go out with a bang, and not only did they succeed, they excelled.