Avengers: Endgame ★★★½

Finally, an MCU film with an actual beating heart instead of calculated approximations of emotional weight. Boldly takes its time to get to the destination, landing some genuinely hard-hitting emotional beats and cutting those heavy moments with an appropriate dose of humor so it never feels too maudlin or cheap. The lingering feelings of grief, anguish, and guilt are palpable, but never overbearing or heavy-handed. The narrative is ambitious and the pacing is fantastic. It's unmistakably a Marvel film, but Endgame uses the typical formula and character arcs in new, unique ways, and ends up feeling refreshing and honest after the bleak and relentless Infinity War. It's like a less-polished B-sides compilation that compliments but also consistently outshines the preceding "major" work.

Is Avengers: Endgame a fitting conclusion to a 22-film franchise that ran over 11 years? I don't know and I don't care. It's a thoughtful, heartfelt, inventive, and fun superhero movie. The moments where I wasn't smiling ear-to-ear, I was holding back tears. My favorite MCU film.

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