[***This review is ENTIRELY spoiler-free.***]
Reaching the climax of anything is always a bittersweet moment. The slow, steady build-up (in this case 11 years worth) constantly stroking the fire of your interest, keeping you on the edge of satisfaction. You’re perfectly happy with what is going on at the moment, all the while knowing that something bigger and more exciting is going to come soon. Once it finally comes, you’re able to release the immense (11 years worth of) tension that has been building in one big explosion. That’s exactly what Avengers: Endgame does to the committed fans who have stuck through all the phases Marvel’s cinematic universe has thrown to us, many with mixed results. After the euphoric ecstasy that the film brings, we are left with the sad thought: Will any Marvel film feel this good again?
It’s been a long journey from the first Iron Man to Avengers: Endgame, but it will easily prove worth every minute. First off, you have to applaud Marvel’s commitment to establishing a multifaceted universe before just slamming all the characters together for one major meet-up (*cough, cough* Justice League *cough, cough). Watching Endgame, I got the same chills that the first Avengers film gave me, but that Age of Ultron didn’t. Whether these Avengers films are an obvious cash-grab becomes a moot point when their quality is this high. Out of any of the previous Marvel films, Endgame is a love letter to the fans. Every cameo, every silly plot development, every note of sadness, and even every callback (many of which you’ve probably forgotten about) to previous films shows the attention to detail, not just for the MCU but also for the fans that have kept it running.
The Russo Brothers have shown us the full potential of the comic genre by subverting it ever since they first joined the MCU with Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Up until that point, the Marvel films had a fairly predictable tone and narrative. The Winter Soldier proved that there are no limitations to a comic book film and that even they can be elevated. Since then, we’ve gotten gems like James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy and Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok. All three game changers, but each for a different reason. If Endgame suffers from any flaws, it is because of the variety of different tones from each of the films. The Russo Brothers try their best to appease the tonal origins of each superior hero, but the lighthearted and humorous nature of one ends up undermining the emotional development of the other.
There will be moments in the film where an overwhelming feeling of sadness will take over. You’ll probably end up watching the climax of the film through misty eyes and a runny nose, so the things that are meant to be the emotional high and low points aren’t that affected by the uneven tone. What is affected are all of the small, somber scenes leading up to those big emotional gut punches, that get ruined because the scenes aren’t given time to breathe before someone throws in a funny one-liner. Luckily, the tone doesn’t affect the pacing in the slightest. At 3 hours, this film goes by pretty briskly. Unless you made the mistake of not peeing beforehand or buying a soda and popcorn, you won’t notice the runtime at all. There is a lot packed into this film and they make every minute count.
Just like Infinity War, Endgame is made fun because all the character interactions we haven’t seen on-screen before. There is one scene in particular, when all the female heroes of the MCU are the focus of a battle, that rivals the power of the No Man’s Land scene in Wonder Woman. During the climax of the film, you’ll run the full gamut of human emotions, going from one feeling to the next. Even though there are a few too many forced pop culture references in the film, seeing the evolution of all our favorite characters makes it more than worth it. Some of them we are reintroduced to, some we say goodbye to, and others we say see you later as the film teases what new adventures are in store for them in the future. Once you experience Avengers: Endgame, you’ll quickly realize that there will never be anything like it again (or at least not for another 11 years), and honestly, maybe there shouldn’t be.