MOVIE REVIEW – Avengers: Endgame lives up to the hype and then some (SPOILER VERSION)

WARNING: SPOILERS!!

April 30, 2019

At least in my lifetime, the release of a movie has never been more anticipated than the release of Avengers: Endgame on April 26. Following the end of last year’s Infinity War, in which Thanos killed half of all life after obtaining all six infinity stones, fans were eager to see how Earth’s mightiest heroes were going to undo the effects of what was dubbed “The Decimation.” Additionally, with the contract of some of the MCU’s biggest stars running out following this film, many believed this would be the last time they would see some of their favorite heroes on the big screen.

Naturally, when a movie has this much hype, it’s easy for it not to reach its lofty expectations. What I am here to tell you, however, is that Endgame lives up to the hype and then some, making for an epic movie that will have you laugh, cry, and cheer all at the same time in its three hour duration.

In case you all do not know this about me, I am a HUGE fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There’s a reason that when a new Marvel movie is released I quickly sign up to write a review of it for The Sentry. I am simply fascinated by what Kevin Feige, the brains behind the idea of the MCU, and the team at Marvel Studios have done the last 11 years. I have seen all 22 movies of the MCU, many of them several times. Endgame was made for fanatics like me.

The reason I say this is because of the large number of references to other MCU movies throughout the film, whether it be in the form of quotes, references to scenes from other films, or revisiting other films through time travel. While you can still enjoy the film if you know relatively little about the MCU, the more you know, the more you will enjoy this movie. I cannot stress this point enough. Going back and watching other movies in the MCU will allow the film to make more sense and mean so much more to you.

I am now going to shift to discussing plot points, so if you don’t want it spoiled (you need to go into this movie knowing as little as possible if you have not seen it), I now say goodbye to you and hope you go see this amazing movie.

*****Spoilers Ahead*****

The beginning of the movie was not what I expected at all. When Thanos, having destroyed the Infinity Stones, was killed only 20 minutes into the movie, I remember being in a state of utter confusion, wondering where the heck this movie could possibly be going. The answer was five years in the future.

By allowing five years to pass after The Decimation, we get a unique look-in on each of the original six Avengers and how this has all affected them in very different ways. Each of them has moved on in one way or another, some in a good way (Iron Man, who settles down and has a daughter, Morgan) and others in a bad way (Hawkeye and Thor, who has become fat. The alcoholic, fat Thor was a hilarious addition to the movie), coming to the conclusion that bringing everybody back is probably impossible, until Ant-Man returns.

After Ant-Man and the Wasp, many fans believed time travel through the Quantum Realm was going to play a role in Endgame. It turns out it was completely essential to the plot. Although time travel movies run a lot of risks of turning out cliche and taking any type of sense of being realistic out of a film, Endgame’s time travel actually makes sense. The directors of the film, the Russo brothers, and the screenwriters, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, consulted with actual scientists on how time travel would work if it were possible. Hint:  it isn’t like Back to the Future, something Bruce Banner makes fun of in Endgame. Essentially, going back and changing the past doesn’t alter the present. When one time travels, the present becomes his past and the past becomes his future.

Once Tony Stark finds a way to have functioning time travel, the Avengers devise a plot to go back through time to moments in previous films to find all of the stones in the past and bring them back to the future. In the process, we get to relive some of the coolest moments of the MCU in the past, but sadly, Black Widow sacrifices her life in order to get the Soul Stone. Back at the Avengers compound with all the stones, The Hulk, using Stark’s infinity gauntlet, snaps his fingers, starting the last part of the film, which can only be described as mind-blowing.

Immediately after Hulk’s Snap, 2014 Thanos, alerted about his eventual death and the undoing of his snap through Nebula’s computerized memory, attacks the Avengers compound, bringing the mad Titan back into play as the main villain of the film. Somehow, the stakes are raised even higher than Infinity War. This time, Thanos threatens to eradicate every atom of the universe and start over with a creation that will be grateful.

After a few minutes of fighting that takes a toll on the remaining Avengers, we have the coolest scene I’ve ever seen in my life. Resurrected from Hulk’s snap, each of the dusted heroes return through portals created by Doctor Strange, causing Cap to say the iconic line from the comics that has never before mentioned in a MCU film, even though it was hinted at in Age of Ultron:  “Avengers, Assemble.”

The following battle is an epic battle that looks like it was taken straight out of the Lord of the Rings. It’s literally everybody in the MCU vs. Thanos and his forces. We get an amazing moment in which Captain America wields Thor’s hammer, something that many fans, and Thor himself, believed he could do.

In the end, we knew it was going to come down to Iron Man. It was mostly widely known that Robert Downey, Jr.’s contract was up at the end of this movie and that this was going to be his last film in the MCU. When Iron Man sacrifices himself using the infinity gauntlet, dusting Thanos and all his forces and finally winning the battle for the Avengers, his character arc is completed. He finally made the transition from an arrogant playboy to a hero willing to make the sacrifice play, something which Captain America had criticized him for in previous films. While it was sad to see him go, it was a fitting ending for Tony Stark, and as Pepper Potts tells him in his final moments, he can finally rest.

The one part of the movie that caused me to tear up was the final scene with Captain America. Tasked with going back through time to return the infinity stones to where they were taken, thus ensuring that alternate timelines are not created, Steve Rogers instead decides to remain in the past and marry Peggy Carter, finally getting that dance he had to take a raincheck on in Captain America:  The First Avenger. It was truly a beautiful ending for Cap, as he finally got the one thing he had been wanting for his entire time in the MCU.

The work of the Russo brothers on this film was spectacular, just as it was in their other three MCU films, Captain America:  Winter Soldier, Captain America:  Civil War, and Infinity War. I’m incredibly impressed at how good of a story they were able to come up with that satisfied fans without falling too much into the category of purely fan-service. Their work at going back through the MCU was in many ways poetic, and they were able to balance a large number of characters with important stories to tell in a way where none of them feel slighted by the end. I thought it was especially important that they chose to keep the focus on the original Avengers in this movie, reinforcing the ending of this Saga of the MCU.

While this film is intended to be an ending and provide a sense of finality, the MCU is not over. Phase 4 will begin next year, and the MCU has a lot to deal with following this movie. I’m especially excited at the prospect of Thor being a new member of the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Just in case you can’t tell, I loved this movie, and I will be going to see it again. While it is 3 hours long, it doesn’t feel like it, and it keeps your attention. Because of the last hour alone and its overall satisfaction for me as a Marvel fan, I might go as far to say it’s the best movie I’ve ever seen. It lived up to the hype and then some.

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