The wait is over. A year has passed since Thanos snapped his fingers and left audiences in tears. Never before has a superhero film ended on such a massive downer. It seemed unfathomable that we’d need to wait a year for the follow-up to Avengers: Infinity War. For those that have been with Marvel since Nick Fury first told us he was putting together a team, an extra year in a franchise that has spanned eleven still felt like a lifetime. Officially it isn’t even the last film in Marvel’s Phase Three (Spider-Man: Far From Home has that honour), it does signal the end of a chapter that has spanned twenty-two films. Was it worth the wait? If you’ve read this far in the review, you’ll likely know the answer.
The battle against Thanos (Josh Brolin) has resulted in massive tragedy. Our heroes have been defeated, half the universe has been wiped out and all seems lost. Captain America/Steve Rodgers (Chris Evans) still clings to his optimism and the belief that they can make amends for their mistakes and, at the least, avenge those that have fallen. With Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) joining the team, the survivors must rally together and fight for the future that they have left.
Avengers: Endgame is an epic climax to an ambitious series that could have easily went off the rails and been confined to development hell. Not every film has been perfect, or in some cases any good, but they’ve all played their part in the payoff with the end result proving to be a magnificent finale that puts a full stop on the stories we’ve devoted so much time to. Over a decade has been invested in these characters and the Russo Brothers don’t disappoint in punching us right in the feels in so many ways that your emotions will be shattered come the final curtain call.
The cast are in superb form, years of working together resulting in incredible chemistry that emphasises the family bond. With all that’s been lost, the sombre tone that hangs over the film is perfectly captured in subtle glances that reflect the mood of the fans. Scarlet Johansson puts in her best performance as Black Widow/Natasha Romanova. Broken yet undefeated, her turmoil is only matched by her drive to find any semblance of a win. It’s a theme that permeates the movie. It’s been an incredible journey for all involved but a special mention has to be reserved for Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man/Tony Stark. The evolution of the character who kick-started the MCU way back in 2008’s Iron Man has been a joy to behold, as the actor has gotten older so has the character. He’s learned throughout the years, maturing from the selfish lord of war to the man he becomes.
It’s not all plain sailing as Endgame struggles to strike a tonal balance in the first hour. While humour has been a staple of the Marvel movies, and a welcoming one at that, so many jokes are crammed into the opening act that it becomes a laugh a minute riot. The comedy is laid on a little thick with some of the gags feeling forced and as such taking away from the overbearing doom that shrouded the opening scene, continuing on from the previous film’s ending.
When the joke book is put on the back-burner the film really kicks up a gear as the severity of the stakes are fully realised. Alan Silvestri’s rousing score is inspiring, a rallying cry that lifts audiences in defiance against the odds. The action is incredible, keeping its promise that you daren’t leave your seat lest you run the risk of missing something vital.
Avengers: Endgame is the resolution of the Infinity Saga and it lives up to expectations, although maybe not the hype. My initial thought was it isn’t as good as Infinity War, that may change on second viewing as this is a film that deserves, and will likely benefit, from repeat viewing. Exciting and thrilling, it’s a fantastic movie that hits the right notes when it matters to deliver satisfying conclusions to so many journeys. It’s been a long and winding road with many bumps along the way. In the end, the destination was more than worth it. Excelsior.