Review: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ (as you wish) #spoilerfree

“The battle of wits has begun.”

Intimate and epic, directors Anthony and Joe Russo perfectly tooled the storytelling wants and needs of fans for maximum impact.

Following the snap at the end of Infinity War, the Avengers tally their losses and pool their resources to figure out what comes next. It isn’t only the Earth that’s reeling; the entire universe mourns as half of all living things ceased to exist. Desperate to restore “the vanished,” a last-ditch effort is made to hold the offending being responsible for his despicable actions — Thanos (Josh Brolin) himself — but it’s going to take far more than beating down the bad guy to undo what has been done… even if some things never can be.

“Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.”

The culmination of almost two dozen films with over a hundred named characters finally comes to a head. Not only must Endgame follow up the Russo’s own Infinity War but also resolve it, and any decent omelet leaves broken eggs in its wake. Any review hereafter is a moot point to MCU fans clutching their pre-bought tickets for multiple showings, so consider what follows a carefully constructed spoiler-free analysis of whether it lives up to desired expectations — never mind how insane such an undertaking was to begin with. Ready?

“You’re just stalling now.”

It’s always been clear who the big guns were in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so put aside any fears that newer and more recent characters exist to steal the thunder of others; Marvel crossovers are a team sport, and everyone gets their moment to shine. But be warned: this is an ending, and an intentional one at that. Character storylines are concluding, and mixed reactions will follow witnessing how real the stakes actually are. Endgame orchestrates defeat, hope, struggle, courage, triumph, and denouement in perfect balance… as all things should be.

“You’re trying to trick me into giving away something; it won’t work.”

From heartbreaking discoveries to cheer-worthy reveals, MCU fans will be rewarded for their commitment with a film bursting with Easter eggs and callbacks, not to mention more than a little wish-fulfillment. Not every want is implemented exactly the way viewers might expect, however, and those choices will inform the films that appear beyond this phase. As an ending with the following aftermath, the film never strays from a firm conclusion; for the first time since Jon Faverau’s Iron Man, nothing lurks among or even after the credits: an intended catharsis as the impact settles in.

“What? Where? I don’t see anything. What’s so funny?”

While the battle scenes are hugely staged and rendered in detail to assault viewer’s senses, it’s the moments of reality facing success and loss that give the story weight and command attention. This has always been the model of Marvel, that heroes are people first no matter how super they are (or aren’t). Endgame is a bookend for what was proposed over a decade ago with a modest bank loan and a big idea: that the best Marvel stories are best told by Marvel — and here is the final proof they were exactly right.

Avengers: Endgame is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, some language, lost productivity from fans skipping work on opening Friday, and never going in against a film review when Death is on the line.

Four skull recommendation out of four
Avengers: Endgame Review #grmdrpr


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