Avengers: Endgame Review
“I’m here to talk to you about the Avengers Initiative.” With the words of Nick Fury in a post-credits scene that launched an entire universe. Avengers: Endgame is a culmination of the Infinity Stones narrative, a thread that has been woven through the Marvel franchise since Captain America: The First Avenger. Over ten years, fans have grown to love the world that Marvel put together, smashing box office records all over the place and changing the face of blockbuster cinema.
After Thanos’ Snap at the end of Infinity War, the remaining Avengers find themselves struggling to cope with the new world order and are determined to find a way to bring back their fallen comrades, family, and friends. This determination leads them on a testing path that will see them confronting both their fears and their regrets.
To reveal any more of what happens in Endgame would be to do a disservice to anyone who has not yet seen it. There are plenty of surprises here as well as expectations fulfilled and subverted. It runs the gamut of the emotional spectrum. There are moments to cheer, moments of sheer joy, feelings of loss, and moments that feel almost overwhelming. Even if you only love a few of these characters there is plenty to attach yourself to, but if you are fully invested in just about everyone? Well, this really is a film for you. It is a tribute to both the phenomenal achievement that is the MCU and the fans that have followed it.
Endgame unfolds at a very slightly more meditative pace than its predecessor, which was relentless in its need to pull everyone together across the galaxy to face Thanos, but uses every second of its three-hour runtime to produce the kind of spectacle that feels like a once in a lifetime event. The fact that you barely feel the much-publicised and discussed duration is an achievement in itself. Because it packs so much in, repeat viewings are inevitable to pick up on every little detail. No doubt repeat viewings of other MCU films will also add depth to Endgame.
That pace allows for some strong character work throughout, particularly in the quiet interactions between two characters, with or without dialogue. The action sequences once again make superb use of each character’s abilities and finds new ways to pair them up and complement each other. The cast really steps up too. Robert Downey Jr has long been the MCU’s keystone; Stark has changed enormously since his first film in 2008 and RDJ brings his characteristic charm and gravitas to bear here. Chris Evans, as ever, is the very embodiment of Captain America. He got less to do in Infinity War, but he has more to work with here and excels in both the serious and comedic moments.
The reduced Avengers team also allows other characters to shine. Karen Gillan brings a real depth and tragedy to Nebula, who, along with Rocket (Cooper’s voicework here continues to be his finest performance), slots into the earth-based team with ease. Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye is back in the fray too and is given a lot of emotional heavy-lifting to do, particularly in the early part of the film. Likewise, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, and Mark Ruffalo find new aspects of their characters to emphasise and explore. Chris Hemsworth once again treads the fine line between comedy and tragedy as Thor, finding one in the other in moments where lesser actors would veer too wildly into one.
What the Russo Brothers, Kevin Feige, and Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have crafted with the players of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is something nothing short of extraordinary. It is a finale to the Infinity Stones Saga, of course, but it also manages to be a new beginning, one which makes the future of the MCU a very exciting prospect indeed.