Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Josh Brolin
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Running Time: 181 mins
Avengers: Endgame is an American film and the twenty-second in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With half the universe’s population having been wiped out by Thanos, and the Avengers left in tatters, the galaxy’s last remaining heroes band together for one last fight.
After eleven years of universe-building on an unprecedented scale, the Avengers and the Infinity Saga reach their final battle in Endgame, the three hour-long superhero movie to end all superhero movies. With such grandeur and history behind the film, there is a lot riding on it to provide a satisfying, suprising and spectacular conclusion to cinema’s biggest franchise of all time. And in the end, Endgame mostly achieves everything it sets out to do, even if it’s not quite the most spectacular film we’ve seen from the enormous Marvel Cinematic Universe.
First things first, let’s talk about the runtime, which at three hours and one minute long, is the longest theatrical superhero film of all time. At first, it may seem excessive, even by Marvel’s enormous standards, but for the most part, I have to say that it’s all three hours that’s pretty well spent, and despite a slightly sluggish start, the time passes in an instant, with very little dragging or wasted time throughout.
That fact alone is testament to just how much there is to digest with Endgame. If you thought that Infinity War was jam-packed, then the scale of Endgame is on a completely different scale, taking you deep into the very core of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a story that ties into every character and every story you have seen along the way.
And that’s the thing that really makes this film such an enjoyable watch in the end. I’ll get onto its flaws in a moment, but it thrills as a genuinely delightful and even moving love letter to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, doing more than enough to provide a satisfying conclusion to what the previous 21 films have built up to, as well as having heaps of references and tie-ins to the events and effects of previous movies that absolutely delighted me.
If you’ve never seen a Marvel movie before, then this film will be totally lost on you, but Endgame takes its role as a huge franchise finale in its stride, and does brilliantly to bring so much together into just three hours of action and intrigue, all the while impressing hugely with some brilliant surprises and ingenious twists throughout.
Directors Anthony and Joe Russo are fantastic once again in crafting an action extravaganza that still has the intricacy and depth to intrigue you beyond the simple fighting and action that was the earlier Marvel movies. What’s more, you can really feel their own passion for the MCU through their directing, as they pull out all the stops to give every small detail and element of the enormous franchise its own moment in the sunlight. And on top of that, they bring it all together under one roof, with a more coherent and slick delivery than the often jagged assembling process that was the first act of Infinity War.
And of course, we can’t talk about this film without mentioning the incredible cast that not only have portrayed a myriad of heroes over the past eleven years in thrilling fashion, but star once again spectacularly in this last Avengers film.
With such an enormous cast that’s been built over the course of eleven years, I can’t mention everyone who stars so impressively here, however seeing Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Chris Evans’ Captain America, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor and Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk (the original Avengers team) return on screen together for one more outing is amazing to see, and they all put in performances with the emotion, passion and energy that an epic franchise finale like this definitely deserves.
All of that shows how Endgame impresses not only as an entertaining superhero movie, but above all an enthralling and genuinely delightful love letter to the MCU, and in that, it does more than enough to bring this enormous franchise to a satisfying and enjoyable close.
However, as impressive and delightfully nostalgic as Avengers: Endgame is, I still can’t say that I was ever really blown away by it. Infinity War, although also not perfect, really impressed me with its bold story and genuinely epic feel, but this film just didn’t quite hit home on that same level for me.
The difference between Endgame and Infinity War is that the latter had universe-ending stakes, and a genuine sense of hopelessness in the face of a genuinely indomitable villain in the form of Thanos. Endgame, on the other hand, is a little bit too easy, and doesn’t feature that same undefeatable threat that made the previous film so audacious, and feel so genuinely epic.
As a result, while Endgame impresses with an enjoyably intricate story and good action throughout, it lacks that audacity and boldness throughout that could have made it a truly mind-blowing finale.
It starts off on the right foot, with a bold, genre-defying dramatic atmosphere that assesses the trauma of the world after the devastating finale of Infinity War, and although it’s a little on the slow side, I was hugely impressed by how the movie was willing to go so deep into the characters’ psyches, without ever really drifting back to more simplistic superhero fare.
However, while that emotional drama impresses early on, and features on a few occasions later on, I did feel that this film was a lot closer to the formula of a more generic and basic comic book movie, particularly in the final act.
Of course, being a basic comic book movie isn’t problematic, as the first Avengers proved, as well as this year’s Captain Marvel, but when acting as an epic franchise finale that aims to bring an end to such a huge franchise, I really would have liked to see something that changed up the Marvel formula a little bit more, and took leaps that Infinity War was willing to.
Anyway, with all that said, there’s no denying that Avengers: Endgame is a hugely entertaining and undeniably impressive finale to the Infinity Saga in this Marvel Cinematic Universe. There is of course more to come from Marvel in the future, but for now, as it closes the door on what it has been building to over the course of eleven years, Endgame proves a brilliantly engrossing and equally delightful love letter to the biggest blockbuster franchise ever seen, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.9 overall.