THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS
It’s epic, it’s loud and it’s colourful. Avengers: Endgame brings together a celebration of all things MCU and ties off nicely the Infinity Saga. If you haven’t seen it already, you really should. This is something people are going to be talking about for years.
11 years and 22 films in the making, Joe and Anthony Russo direct the conclusion to what has been dubbed The Infinity Saga. With plenty of stand out, heart wrenching, fist pumping and tear jerking moments, Endgame is a worthy finale to what has been one of the most financially and critically successful movie franchises of all time. It can not be overstated what an achievement Kevin Feige and the production teams at Marvel Studios have managed to accomplish in just over a decade. There has never been a franchise like the MCU and there likely never will be. With a pretty consistent 2 films a year for 11 years, all of which are interwoven into one greater overarching plot the franchise has only dropped the ball a handful of times and has managed to keep it fresh and entertaining across the entire saga. As a result the Russos were under an enormous amount of pressure to deliver on what committed fans have been waiting for since first laying their eyes on Thanos at the end of Avengers: Assemble (Joss Whedon, 2012) and having to follow up on last year’s excellent Avengers: Infinity War (Anthony and Joe Russo, 2018). Fortunately the commitment pays off in the most epic of ways resulting in a movie event unlike any other.
Endgame picks up very soon after the cataclysmic events of Infinity War. Thanos has disappeared along with half the universe including some of our favourite heroes, and those left have to find a way to pick up the pieces. Upon finding out that Thanos has destroyed the infinity stones so that his work can not be undone, the remaining Avengers devise a plan to travel back in time and grab the stones before they were destroyed in order to bring them back to the present and use them to bring everyone back.
Whilst deliberately slow paced at times, Endgame is never boring. The stakes are so high that every move each character makes towards accomplishing their seemingly impossible goal feels like a mountain. The tension is consistently ramping up all the way to the end in an utterly enticing build up to one of the most epic final confrontations in recent cinema history. All the major characters have strong arcs as they try reconcile themselves and each other with the utter destruction of the last film and use that to push themselves forward into figuring out a way to rebuild what they have lost. It is an excellent story that delivers on exactly what was promised whilst throwing a few surprises in there for good measure.
As usual Robert Downey Jr. steals the show as Iron Man. Having spent several weeks in space, on the verge of starvation and madness, Tony Stark is rightly furious at the situation even though he was one of the lucky ones to survive. Robert Downey Jr. could play this role in his sleep if he was so inclined to at this point. His natural charm and wit are so interwoven into the mythos of Iron Man on the big screen that it’s hard to imagine the MCU without him. Chris Evans also puts in a wonderful performance as Steve Rogers, a character who has matured so much since first being thawed out of the ice back in 2012. Honourable mentions also go to Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Karen Gillan as Nebula and of course Bradley Cooper as Rocket the Racoon.
Visually the film is utterly and unsurprisingly stunning. The characters traverse many different environments over the course of the film and all look incredible. Fight sequences are well choreographed and played out, with the camera giving plenty of space to the fight so the audience is able to see what is going on clearly and take it all in. It is nothing new for the MCU to be visually astounding but it definitely seems that the producers pulled out all the stocks for the epic finale and with an estimated budget of $356 million, it certainly shows. CGI characters and environments look great and are well integrated with the physical presence of other characters and environments. It is hard sometimes to tell where the real world and the computer generated world crossover, which is a testament to the special effects team at Marvel Studios.
Avengers: Endgame however does represent something larger than just being an sprawling action epic. It represents years of hard work, planning and billions of dollars of investment to bring a much loved comic book universe to life. Shared universes and crossover films are nothing new in Hollywood but we have never experienced something quite like this. Wholly ambitious and such a colossal undertaking, Kevin Feige, Louis D’Esposito and Victoria Alonso have led the charge in creating a new kind of film franchise. Comic books have fascinated readers for decades with their sprawling universes full of quirky characters, some with seemingly unlimited power, some who’s only special ability is being a talking duck, and others who are simply just trying to get through high school whilst being a superhero on the side. These characters for years have brought joy and escapism to kids and adults alike with the underlying message throughout all of it that doing the good thing is always the best thing. Whether its smacking a mad titan in the face with a hammer or helping an old lady cross the road, it is within everyone the potential for greatness and to seize that opportunity and live the best they can. Now that universe and that message has a full, living and breathing presence on the big screen to inspire not just those who know these characters from years of reading their comic books, but to inspire those who know these characters from years of watching their films. It won’t be done for a long time and that is a wonderful thing.
Avengers: Endgame is on track to being one of the biggest film releases of all time, achieving wide success both critically and commercially. It is the celebration of a project that seemed impossibly ambitious but has in reality landed itself as one of the most culturally relevant entertainment pieces of recent years. People will still be talking about this film and this franchise 50 years down the line. It really is that big of a deal.
Written by Alfie Smith