Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Endgame ★★★★½

Avengers: Endgame is a cathartic finale for the biggest blockbuster experience of our time. Sure, the MCU will continue on, but for the original heroes we met back in phase 1, this is the end of the line for most of them, and what an ending it is. A film that goes for broke and rarely misses, firing the Chekov's guns this franchise has set up all the way back since eleven years ago.

It's rare to see a film that follows the three-act structure as strictly as this does. Indeed, it feels more like three mini-movies put together. One might say that about its predecessor, but the difference there was it was three plots being cut inbetween. This is very clearly three separate hours of storytelling following the same characters as they get tested the hardest they've been yet.

What is there to say about the ensemble that hasn't been said in the past? Downey and Evans deliver some of their best performances yet, and Johansson and Ruffalo are excellent as well. Hemsworth and Renner do about as well as they have recently, but that's to be expected. The surprisingly big stand-outs though are Rudd and Gillan. Rudd shows more emotional aspects here than he's done so far in this universe, while still being a refreshing beacon of hope for the Avengers. Gillan, shockingly, steals the whole movie, allowing Nebula to easily seen as the character who has grown the most since her first appearance, in a likable and compelling way unlike anyone else in this cinematic universe. The writing on Nebula and her performance put the character in a unique place where one may see her more as an Avenger than a Guardian, but that's oddly welcome to me.

There are a few glaring flaws here and there. The way it handles one of the original six Avengers is nearly unforgivable if it weren't for the fact we're guaranteed a follow-up that fixes that aspect. Similarly, one ending, though emotionally right, feels somewhat hollow due to the pre-existing character arc set up. Just dropping a decade-long build for the character for a crowd-pleasing ending feels good in the moment but while reflecting, feels odd.

As for the story of Endgame, I'll keep it on the downlow for now because of the spoiler-free nature of opening weekend. I'll just say that it goes delightfully more genre than expected and by the ending of the whole thing, I would've been more than happy with another half hour of the movie. The pacing here is phenomenal for an 182-minute superhero movie, with barely a scene that feels too long. That's not to say it's rushed; there are quite a few great moments of lingering between character interactions and very funny jokes. The ending in particular feels emotionally tear-jerking, and indeed, the right way to conclude it all.

Avengers: Endgame represents all that Marvel has built to while signaling to the future of the franchise. It feels like a wholly complete ending despite the clear hooks for where to go next. It does have the issue of not feeling distinct among other flaws, but as for Avengers movies, this is by far the best one yet. An emotional powerhouse that truly feels like an event, Avengers: Endgame is phenomenal and a truly staggering moment in blockbuster history. Monumental in more ways than one, it's pure spectacle and a fantastic conclusion to this eleven-year saga.

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