It’s nearly impossible to review a film like this, where it is the culmination of over ten years of story, through nearly twenty-one films prior (a lot of the previous films have an important role to play in this one, in ways they never had before). At a certain point, everything about the film is a spoiler, and I won’t be a party to that, but I’ll do a quick spoiler-free commentary and will follow up in a couple weeks with more specific thoughts.
Picking up after last year’s Avengers: Infinity War, Endgame is the story of one mission: how to undo Thanos’ snappening, a universe-decimating move that wiped out half of all life. It’s a bold task, and while Infinity War sometimes had trouble balancing a lot of moving parts, Endgame manages to be more cohesive in many ways, but also exponentially more convoluted in others. I wasn’t happy with a lot of the choices made, but I was so thrilled with so much of what I saw on screen that it was easy to forgive and or justify a lot of the missteps. The last hour is such a treasure trove of fan service that there didn’t even need to be a story tied to it, but it’s better for having one.
While getting short shrift in the last one, Chris Evans’ Captain America/Steve Rogers gets a much more prominent role in this one it’s certainly the proper showcase for the character and actor that has been the emotional center for the entire Marvel franchise, even as Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) has been the more prominent central figure. The movie is three hours long, nearly half an hour longer than Infinity War, and yet feels so much quicker and more properly paced. It’s emotional in all the right places, and even as it gets mired some pretty ridiculous plot contrivances, still manages to be funny, fun, and enthralling.
Directors Joe and Anthony Russo, who have helmed two of the best MCU movies (Captain America: Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War), balance the action and drama quite handily with epic fight sequences, and truly emotional a payoffs. I could hear a woman behind me sobbing at one moment and thought, yeah, that makes sense. I applauded at least twice. It’s just so ridiculously good.
I can’t wait to see it a dozen more times.
My Grade – A-