Was ‘Whatever It Takes’ Enough?
Our heroes have finally hit the big screen and the embargo has lifted. Here is our spoiler-free “Avengers: Endgame” review.
We’re in the endgame now. After more than a decade of serialized cinematic storytelling, “Avengers: Endgame” is the 22nd film in an unprecedented movie franchise, and while this certainly isn’t the end for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the film delivers in its promise of finality and provides beautifully poignant endings for many of the franchise’s most enduring characters.
While newer heroes like Ant-Man, Rocket Raccoon, Gamora, and – the most recent addition to the MCU – Brie Larsson’s Captain Marvel have their roles to play in this 3-hour-long epic, “Endgame” is squarely focused on the original Avengers roster, and rightfully so. A lot has changed since the Avengers first assembled in Joss Whedon’s 2012 crossover, and while last year’s “Avengers: Infinity War” was a triumphant reminder of how large the MCU has become, “Endgame” is a celebration of the saga’s roots.
It’s also a celebration of the films that have come before it – even the not-so-good ones like “Thor: The Dark World.” Die-hard MCU fans will notice all the small (and the not-so-small) call-backs to previous events, but these small moments go beyond basic lip-service. These moments are a reminder of the journey that preceded “Endgame” and an essential part of the overall experience. It would have been enough for “Endgame” to simply be a good superhero movie, but the fact that it honors everything that came before so beautifully and artfully makes it more than just the sum of its action-packed parts.
While Thanos was practically the main character in “Infinity War” he takes a back seat in “Endgame,” but his presence always looms large. The world of “Endgame” is a world of trauma and loss, and the film pulls off the magic trick of both letting the audience live in that loss along-side our heroes while also providing enough levity and comedy to lighten the mood when appropriate. It can be thrilling, exhilarating, hilariously, but also deeply sad and contemplative, which could have come off as cheesy or unearned, but is ultimately the most noteworthy part of the experience.
There is, of course, a big, bombastic action set-piece at the film’s climax that goes above and beyond anything we’ve seen in the MCU before, but the real highlights are the touchingly human moments between these characters that happen both in the final moments and throughout the film. “Endgame’s” greatest achievement is providing both the spectacle and the heart that makes these films more than expensive VFX showcases.
The MCU will go on, but if “Endgame” truly was the end, it would be a worthy finale to one of the most important, successful, and decade-defining franchises in the history of cinema.
Before you see it for yourself, make sure you’re prepare by checking out our list of the Top 10 Things To Remember Before Seeing Avengers: Endgame