“Avengers Endgame”: The Grand Conclusion

Of all the adjectives that could be used to describe “Avengers: ​Endgame​,” the most fitting would be monumental.

This descriptor is no hyperbole. ​Endgame ​embodies the word in both its literal and figurative senses. It is massive in both its scope and scale, weaving together the disparate narrative threads of the past 22 movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and bringing a conclusion to an ongoing story that has gradually developed since 2008’s “​Iron Man​”.

Marvel has made ​”Endgame” a monument to its achievements, a three-hour-long self-referential ode to the studio’s past 11 years of creating culturally iconic blockbusters.

Confident in their billions of dollars in profits and the dedication of their legions of fans, Marvel has deviated somewhat in “​Endgame”​ from its usual winning formula. Let there be no doubt, the movie is still packed with CGI superhero smackdowns, but sibling directors Anthony and Joe Russo have added much more emotional impact to the ​Avengers​ finale.

Full of triumph, tragedy, cheers and tears, the film is supremely emotionally satisfying to fans of the Marvel saga.

Learning from the main criticism of the sprawling “Avengers:​ InfinityWar​,” “E​ndgame”​ focuses its attention on the six main characters from the first film, convenient survivors of the cataclysmic, population-halving “snap” of the previous movie.

Setting aside some CGI spectacle in exchange for character development, the Russo brothers devote most of the three-hour runtime to exploring the heroes trauma and emotional growth.

The dialogue is filled with Marvel’s signature humor throughout, and the protagonists engage in plenty of the action and adventure that fans have come to expect.

The actors and actresses give solid performances throughout, though you can almost sense their lack of enthusiasm after years of playing the same characters.

The plot can be complex at times, though it mostly stays true to the name of the movie and keeps its eyes on the prize.

The first act notably defies expectations, resolving elements of “​Infinity War”​ in a way rarely seen in most superhero blockbusters.

The second act is the weakest point of the film. A branching narrative and slow progression dampen excitement, and several weak plot points do not stand up under scrutiny.

Any sins that may have been committed in the previous scenes however, are redeemed tenfold by the film’s final act. ​

“Endgame” ​saves the best for last, filling its conclusion with exhilarating action sequences and ending with emotional thrust.

It is important to note that ​”Endgame​,” the last in a series of 22 films, was a tribute to past stories made for dedicated Marvel fans. It constantly references past events and characters, and could be very confusing for audience members who are going in blind.

The film is inseparable from its context, enjoyment will increase dramatically the more familiarity one has with the larger Marvel story.

Wrapping up over a decade of stories is no easy task, yet ​”Endgame” ​has put its best foot forward. Full of emotional ups and downs, story twists, and fully developed characters, the movie gives a satisfying and emotionally engaging conclusion to the ​Avengers​ series.

Though it may suffer from a few rough points and plot holes, the film is ultimately the sum of its many, many great parts, which it binds together in a cohesive and enjoyable way that I must recommend to any Marvel fan.

4.5/5 stars.
samuelbellefy@mail.umkc.edu

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