Nicholas’s review published on Letterboxd:
Endgame is genuinely amazing.
As of late, I've been a little mixed on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I hold some of the earlier films in very high regard, but in reality, I haven't seen them in very many years. I don't know how much I would like them if I decided to revisit them. And the films that I do remember from recent years (mainly everything post-Civil War), have been mixed. I wasn't a fan of Ragnarok or Ant-Man and the Wasp, I thought Captain Marvel, Black Panther, and Doctor Strange were all decent, and I mostly dug Homecoming and Infinity War. However, the more I thought about Infinity War, the less I liked it. The only film that I truly loved out of Phase Three was Guardians Vol. 2.
But Endgame is genuinely amazing.
This is due to a myriad of reasons, but the largest and the most substantial reason is emotion. Endgame carries itself with such a strong and tonally accomplished sense of emotional sincerity that feels almost impossible to not fall into, specifically in regards to characters. This film proudly embraces authentic characters and gives them more than enough room to breathe, far outside of the exciting blockbuster spectacle. And this is something that I feel has been missing from MCU films for a while, at least in my opinion. Poignant urgency to the story that doesn't feel contrived, grounded characters that go through genuinely stirring experiences, and resonant themes that feel universal and fleshed out. Perhaps maybe the themes of this hit me a little more personally than they will others, but themes of self-reflection and family are still pretty universal. And when they're done well, like in Endgame, they can be effectively powerful. This is the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the second superhero film ever, to make me openly sob.
So yeah, Endgame excels at all the emotional elements necessary for an exemplary conclusion to a franchise, but it's also a wildly entertaining and badass blockbuster film. There are so many exciting avenues this film goes down that are just so much fun to watch. Not only did I openly sob, but I actively screamed and cheered during some of the more exciting parts. There are several great crowd-pleasing moments and the humor mostly works. And if the humor doesn't work, at the very least, it usually doesn't impede on the dramatic moments, which is more than enough for me. This is a three hour film that thankfully did not feel like three hours.
Yeah. This is really great. I am super stoked that this lived up to and arguably exceeded that hype that I had. It's super entertaining and brings spectacle, but at the end of it all, it's genuinely emotionally evocative. It's probably the best Avengers movie? It's definitely better than Ultron and Infinity War, but it's been a hot spicy minute since I watched the OG Avengers. So who knows? But for my money, this is definitely one of the best MCU films. I love it. I love it. It's great. That's all, folks! Happy to report to you. Stay classy, San Diego.