by Ian Morton
Considering it’s 3 hour run time, Avengers Endgame wraps a 10 year story campaign in an emotional, respectful and surprisingly unique way. While there are a couple of character choices that may divide audiences, the general tone isn’t about upping the game but rather paying homage to all that comes before.
Over the past year, everyone involved in the production have kept tight lipped surrounding the plot, going so far as jokingly removing ‘secret-spoilers’, Mark Ruffalo and Tom Holland away from the press tour and circulating the infamous ‘Thanos demands your silence’ letter to those fortunate enough to get a peek behind the curtain. This review will (hopefully!) follow suit!
Following the events of Infinity War, our heroes find themselves dealing with the aftermath of ‘The Snappening’, in which Thanos played out one of Doctor Strange’s’ 14 million foreseen outcomes and wiped out half of all living things. Daring to do something different, this event not only changed the Marvel landscape but also marked the first time that our band of heroes lost at the hands of their enemy.
Kicking things off waist deep in the wake of the previous installment and Marvel’s most decisive film yet, the plot takes a dour tone early on as it explores the emotional toll of Thanos’ actions. It’s a bold choice given how quickly other films in the series burst into action set pieces, but one that the Russo Brothers make wisely. Taking time to explore this emotional weight gives the directors a platform to set up an excitingly fresh adventure for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes while at the same time giving audiences the depth that comes with a high stakes loss.
Although this approach sounds intense, it thankfully doesn’t come at the expense of fun. On top form, all the cast are given their time to shine as they quip and riff off one another like kids in the schoolyard. Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth and Paul Rudd take particular advantage of this, often earning the biggest laughs at the most pinnacle moments. This fine balance of drama and comedy still plays in favour of the Marvel universe, showcasing world shattering consequences while having fun at the same time.
The central plot is also one of the most ambitiously engaging adventures the Marvel heroes have had throughout its long history. In many ways, it subverts expectation and goes somewhere that even the most avid fan of the comics would struggle to see coming. While it may not manage to juggle the characters with quite the same skill as some of the other installments, it does more than a capable job at wrapping up and finishing stories started nearly a decade ago.
When all is said and done, the choices made and the story told feel like the only logical way in which the series could have ended. Although there will be some moments that divide audiences (particularly upon repeat viewings), it’s a film that has outrageous fun while ultimately doing justice to everything that has made the current MCU what it is today.
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