REVIEW: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Is a Beautiful Tribute to the MCU

Banners all over the interwebs have warned us not to spoil the endgame, so we won’t – no matter how much viewers may think they want to know who lives, who dies, who tells your story. While this review will contain no real plot points, it will contain a lot of gushing, because that’s exactly what Avengers: Endgame deserves. It’s not only a reward for longtime fans with over a decade’s worth of storylines to pay off, it’s also a master class in juggling an unbelievable amount of characters without dropping any of them.

I legitimately cried when this appeared.

The 3-hour runtime is barely felt, except for in one or two scant instances that have more to do with one’s bodily needs than with the action or lack thereof. And though there is plenty of action throughout the film, there’s just as much quiet contemplation and character growth. The Russo brothers handle both skillfully, maneuvering between fight sequences and introspective moments seamlessly with rarely a hiccup. Even without getting into fan theories and hopes for any particular resolution, it’s easy to see that the movie was crafted by people who truly love the heroes involved. Some parts may feel predictable, but that’s only because they’re the right step for that character to take and a perfect culmination of their arc. Besides, there are also several plotlines and developments that will shock and awe audiences everywhere. Sure, someone somewhere may have seen these things coming – but overall, there’s a sense that Anthony and Joe Russo know just how to toe the line between surprising and satisfying.

Whereas Avengers: Infinity War at times felt like it suffered from having to combine so many disparate parts into one cohesive story, Avengers: Endgame feels like it knew what it needed to be and what story it needed to tell all along. Of course, it focuses on the ones who have been there the longest – especially Tony (Robert Downey Jr.), Steve (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), and Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) – but there are meaty roles for some of the more recent heroes like Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) as well as some of the supporting cast members such as Clint (Jeremy Renner) and Nebula (Karen Gillan). And the best part is that no one feels tacked on or extraneous, and no storyline seems like a dead end. Sure, there’s always characters we wish got more screen time, but in the end the film is a fitting homage to the stories that have been at the forefront of the MCU for the last eleven years.

It hurts so good.

And Avengers: Endgame truly does take advantage of those eleven years to pull plenty of callbacks, making those rewatches everyone’s been doing for the last few months entirely essential. Not only are there direct references to the events of previous movies, but characters and relationships from said films also become a powerful tool to enhance the experience of this film, reminding us how much the Avengers have lost and who all they must fight for. And if you thought Infinity War took things too far on the humanizing Thanos front, you’ll be pleased to note the pendulum swings pretty hard towards the Good Guys and Gals this time around. Whatever the reasons may have been, nothing excuses the damage that’s been done and (hopefully) nothing will stop the heroes from setting things right.

Speaking of setting things right, that’s something this movie does in a lot of ways. Not every MCU film can be considered a masterpiece, or even objectively good, but they will all be considered “worth it” once fans exit the theaters this weekend. The Russo brothers, as well as the powerful performances from much of the entire cast, have succeeded in making the 22-film universe truly mesh together as one. By incorporating bits and pieces from the pre-existing mythology into the stories continuing in the present, they make the characters feel more alive and three-dimensional than ever before, despite not having as much time to dedicate to each individual one.

So grab your tissues, use the restroom before your screening, and prepare to be taken on quite possibly the most cathartic movie experience of your life. Because even if Avengers: Endgame isn’t a perfect film – and there’s certainly some logical fallacies and science fiction inconsistencies that can attest to that – it is a perfect conclusion to more than a decade of fandom lore and character growth for some of the world’s most beloved fictional heroes.