ReviewsTelevision & Film

No Spoilers – AVENGERS: ENDGAME Is Everything You Want in a Superhero Movie

Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Directed by Anthony & Joe Russo
Written by Chrisopher Markus & Stephen McFeely
Based on characters appearing in Marvel Comics
Produced by Kevin Feige
Executive Producers Jon Favreau, James Gunn, Stan Lee
Executive Producers Victoria Alonso, Michael Grillo, Trinh Tran
Executive Producer Louis D’Esposito

Rated PG-13

There was once an idea… and for some of us, there was this notion that the idea couldn’t last very long. Five years, maybe ten, before the superhero film started to lose momentum and fizzle out. That’s not happening yet, and Avengers: Endgame injects enough momentum to sustain superhero movies for maybe another ten years. If they stay on track.

This is the culmination of ten years and twenty-two films, a tapestry of stories that have been woven together into this final event, and it does not disappoint. Indeed, this could very well be the best superhero movie to date (after 1978’s Superman, of course…).

As we noted in our “First Reaction” video, it’s very much a challenge to talk about this film without diving into spoiler territory, mainly because pretty much every moment in the film is a spoiler. Suffice it to say, Avengers: Endgame includes so many payoffs and callbacks to ten years’ worth of films, the three-hour running time almost doesn’t contain them all.

Everything’s in this film. Well… everything except the Netflix shows and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., that is.

Chris Evans and Robert Downey, Jr. are in top form as Steve Rogers and Tony Stark, respectively. We’ve seen these to go from cautious allies to best friends to ideological opposites, and the resolution to that arc is deeply satisfying here.

Scarlett Johannson and Jeremy Renner deliver perhaps the most nuanced performances they’ve ever give us as Natasha Romanov and Clint Barton. And while we might not ever get that film about what happened in Budapest, you can feel the history between these two in a way that’s only been hinted at in previous films. There is a deep connection between these two, and it’s not in any way romantic. This movie makes it clear that they have each saved the other one more times than they can count, and in this one Nat is making every effort to save Clint from himself.

My only major quibble is with the running gag they gave Thor. It got tired pretty quickly, even though Chris Hemsworth sells it well.

Josh Brolin’s Thanos is nuanced in a way that makes you almost feel for the guy. In his mind, he’s the hero saving the universe from itself, but he quickly realizes that wiping out half the universe wasn’t enough. His new scheme is even more of a threat.

All of the Snap-surviving characters have more to do than just show up. And the three-hour run time gives scenes room to breathe. It doesn’t feel rushed or cramped, nor does it slow down. There are quiet character moments, yes, but even those moments are moving this team forward to the final outcome, and every scene builds on everything that’s come before in the last ten years.

Now, to be clear: it’s not absolutely necessary to have watched all of the previous films in order to appreciate this one. It stands by itself pretty much all on its own, even though seeing Infinity War is almost a pre-requisite to set up where we are at the beginning of Endgame. But those who have watched every film will have more moments to enjoy as we get those callbacks.

There’s even a “blink and you’ll miss it” cameo from Jim Starlin, who created Thanos and the Infinity Stones way back when. And while his relationship with the print division is done, Starlin should be sticking around the movie lot for a while as development proceeds on Shang-Chi, also his creation.

Plenty of surprises in store, too. Faces you don’t expect to see.

Alan Silvestri’s music score is top notch, as always. It blends original melodies with themes from other films in a seamless way, which only reinforces how these films are all interwoven together to get us to this point in the story.

What else can be said without giving anything away? Not much. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll gladly tell your money “good-bye” and then you’ll maybe want to do it all over again. This one will crack $1 billion in its first four or five days. It’s already setting records, and it’s poised to blow the doors off Avatar and Titanic as the biggest movie ever in the history of movies.

And it’s a superhero film. Not bad for a bunch of “books just for kids”…

Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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