Avengers: Endgame” is a film that has an awesome responsibility – that is, to serve as the culmination of what is now 22 films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and do so in a way that gives the characters we have grown to love over the past decade – ever since 2008’s “Iron Man” made Robert Downey, Jr.’s Iron Man a household name – their due, with a nod to the past, a look toward the future and a truly epic 3-hour spectacle.
The film deals with the aftermath and repercussions of last year’s “Avengers: Infinity War” in which heroes like Black Panther, Scarlet Witch and Spider-Man were “dusted” out of existence and half of all life in the universe ceased to exist by Thanos (Josh Brolin) with a snap of his Infinity Gauntlet-clad fingers.
This leaves it up to the Original Six Avengers – Iron Man, Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) – to try and set things right. They get assists from War Machine (Don Cheadle), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Okoye (Danai Gurira).
Oh, Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) also makes her presence felt in a big way. Her power is truly off the charts. The Russos (Joe & Anthony) expertly give her enough screen time and significance in the story to satisfy her fans, while not allowing her to detract from the story of the Original Six and the other heroes we want to see get their due.
“Avengers: Endgame” is the kind of movie that is hard to review because there is so much going on and I don’t want to spoil any of it.
What I can say is that the initial battle against Thanos does not go as anyone expects and the team decides to split up into different time periods using Ant-Man’s limited “Pym Particles,” in order to get all six Infinity Stones BEFORE Thanos can “snap” half of all living creatures out of existence.
Pretty high stakes, right?
But as with all time-travel stories, the story gets a bit convoluted. Plus, wouldn’t it make more sense for the whole team to, say, go after the one stone that controls all time rather than this elaborate, grandiose plan?
One other minor quibble: We never get to actually see what the “dusting” – the wiping out of half of existence – does to the rest of he world or universe that are non-Avengers.
Also, after “Infinity War,” which saw so many characters we have gotten to love interact with one another, it is a bit jarring to be back to so few.
That said, if you don’t think about the rules of time travel too much, there are some truly magnificent nods to the past, which also show how much each character has grown and knows themselves.
There are in-jokes and surprise appearances and reunions and one battle you probably never thought you’d see.
In a 3-hour film, there may not be quite as much action as you expect. There is a lot of talking, but it always serves the plot and the growth of the characters. Especially Captain America, Thor and Iron Man.
The last 15 minutes are as epic as you can get, with a battle that dwarfs that of “Infinity War” and will make you cheer several times, as well as cry.
Because directors Joe and Anthony Russo don’t hold anything back and refuse to play it safe.
What the repercussions are for the future of the MCU, only time will tell.
But “Avengers: Endgame” is unforgettable as a result.