Review: Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Avengers: Endgame

Rating

Director

Anthony & Joe Russo

Screenplay

Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely

Length

3h 1m

Starring

Almost everyone who’s ever been in a Marvel movie except Anthony Hopkins, Edward Norton, and a few others…

MPAA Rating

PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and some language

Original Preview

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Buy on DVD/Blu-ray

Soundtrack

Poster

Source Material

Review

Eleven years after Iron Man built hopes of a shared cinematic universe, the original four Avengers have found their biggest adventure yet, combing the universe for a way to reverse the events of the previous film. Avengers: Endgame is the spectacle audiences have been longing for since the beginning.

Set after the events of Avengers: Infinity War, the remaining Avengers, Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) are joined by a host of other supporting heroes and new wave heroes to try to concoct and execute a plan that will bring back their fallen comrades. Will they succeed in time or will they be a step behind their enemies?

Discussing this latest film is a challenge as even the core elements of the plot would threaten to ruin the experience for any who haven’t yet seen it. Suffice it to say, the predictions I made going into the film largely came to fruition, though I was more surprised than I expected to be, which is a blessing.

Anthony and Joe Russo, the filmmaking brothers who excelled with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, then botched Captain America: Civil War and largely disappointed with Avengers: Infinity War successfully returned to the movie magic they created with The Winter Soldier and made a fitting end to the first eleven years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The surprising thing is that, unless the gaping plot holes and paradoxes are setups to the next phase of the MCU, there was virtually no world building for the next generation of Avengers films. That shows a lot of restraint, but also calls into question where they can conceivably go from here. Theories could be crafted, but until we see what Phase 4 looks like, we’ll have to satisfy ourselves with this final chapter for the time being.

The Russos themselves cannot take full credit for the film’s success as composer Alan Silvestri does a lot of the heavy lifting. While his scores for past films have seldom been more than serviceable compositions, Silvestri exceeded expectations here by building or diminishing at just the right moments. His soaring score in the final battle sequence is a beautiful bit of work while setting emotional expectations for the inevitable moments of sorrow was equally well executed.

Disney’s visual effects department is likely headed for their first Oscar victory with a bountiful array of tremendous and exciting effects that bring a universe to life in predictable, but exciting ways. There are wall-to-wall effects here and the final battle sequence is only one of the reasons an Oscar victory might finally be appropriate.

Avengers: Infinity War was a notable misfire in the cinematic universe, but Endgame pays off all of the frustrations and issues that film had by stoking excitement, building emotional resolutions, and finding ways to be both inventive and foreseeable at the same time. This was a franchise capper that everyone was anticipating and it certainly made up for a lot of the issues that have arisen over the years.

Though not perfect, Avengers: Endgame was about as close to perfection as we were likely ever going to get out of this franchise. Reining in the worst of the franchise’s thematic and stylistic impulses, this final film has largely delivered on the promises Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America: The First Avenger, and Thor made. We’ll just hope that the next dozen years can improve on what has been an uneven, but largely pleasurable series of films.

Spoiler Discussion

For now, I’m going to refrain from discussing spoilers. There were a lot of really cool scenes, especially in the last hour of the film, but there were also a lot of issues I had with some elements of the film. Some of them are nitpicky, others are genuine concerns, but none of which need to be given air right at this juncture. For now, let’s let the universe digest this end feature and come together later to discuss just what everything means because there’s quite a lot to discuss.

Oscar Prospects

Guarantees: Visual Effects
Probables: Sound Mixing, Sound Editing
Unlikelies: Picture

Review Written

April 29, 2019

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