As Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) says in an early Endgame trailer, “Part of the journey is the end,” and this three-hour epic finale to the Infinity Saga of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a nuanced masterpiece that just may be the best part of the journey yet.
Still reeling from the effects of Thanos’ (Josh Brolin) infamous “snap” that ended half of all life in the universe, morale is at an all-time low for the surviving Avengers. Members of the team are coping with the tragedy in different ways, none of them productive.
Captain America (Chris Evans) is struggling to lead a therapy group for civilian survivors, but even his normally inspiring words of comfort sound hollow. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is but a shadow of his former god-like self, making an active decision to wallow in self-pity and despair as he hides on a boat playing video games all day. Meanwhile, Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) has turned into a ruthless vigilante to fill the void of a loss.
Things are truly looking bleak when Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) unexpectedly shows up (having freshly escaped from the Quantum Realm) and pitches a crazy plan to reverse the Mad Titan’s mass genocide. Can the disheartened team find the inner strength to push through the hurt, and assemble once more to save the world?
Endgame has done the impossible and put together an almost perfect conclusion to a story 21 films in the making. Even with so many disparate story lines and moving parts, directors Anthony and Joe Russo focus just enough attention on the fate of every character in the MCU to satisfy even the most rabid of fans. Endgame is at times a nostalgic tribute to some of the most memorable moments from previous entries.
Though it’s difficult to dole out screen time among the more than 30 core characters in the Infinity Saga timeline, some performances were especially noteworthy. Iron Man’s arc from brash, self-centred billionaire genius in his 2008 debut to becoming a true team player here is a testament to Downey’s range. Hemsworth’s turn as a dejected former champion trying to hide from reality deserves a shout out as well. Evans is a steadying onscreen presence as usual, and Rudd provides his trademark comic relief with perfect timing. Finally, the magic of CGI has turned the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) into something … incredible as well, but we’ll leave you to discover the surprise for yourself.
Those just looking for a grand visual spectacle and large-scale fight scenes will also go home happy, as the CGI set pieces are some of the best that have ever been done. Combatants old and new will get to showcase their own unique styles, and the climactic final battle scenes had fans openly cheering in their seats.
Artistic nuances for a superhero film are sometimes put on the backburner for the sake of go-go-go action, but not in Endgame. Each cinematic choice has been made for a specific reason and it shows. Muted colours are used to great effect in the first third of the film to reflect the sense of loss and devastation of the “snap”, and the soundtrack is also chosen carefully to set the tone for each sequence in the film. Kudos go to the entire team that worked on this production.
Endgame is truly a fitting send-off to the current generation of MCU films, and beautifully hit all the required beats of the superhero genre. The creators and actors of all the movies have been part of this journey for more than a decade, and fans should head to cinemas to see them take the final glorious step together as soon as possible.