This is one of the most difficult reviews that I’ve had to write, for two reasons. Firstly, this is a film that needs to be seen without spoilers to get the full experience so there isn’t a great deal that I can actually say, other than being broad and vague. Secondly, I have been a massive fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since Iron Man was released in 2008, making it increasingly tricky for me to watch each installment with a critical eye. Nevertheless, I have now had a total of 45 minutes to piece my thoughts together and I’m pretty certain that whether I look at this as a fan or as a critic, the end result is the same: Avengers: Endgame is a masterpiece.
Time flies when you’re having fun
Sitting at 3 hours and 2 minutes long, Endgame is by far the longest entry from Marvel, and yet it doesn’t feel its runtime at all. The pacing is so well controlled, and the plot moves along so efficiently that the time flies by. It helps that most of the set up came in last year’s Infinity War, and luckily for the writers, Thanos’ snap put this film in the perfect position of urgency and tension that the action was naturally moving at a rapid pace.
That isn’t to say that the writing isn’t phenomenal in Endgame, because it really is out of this world. There are so many different ways that this could have played out (just look at the tons of theories across the internet) but the writers found the one way that seems to tie up every single story thread from the past 11 years of this universe, in a satisfying way, whilst also leading into the future. There are many surprises along the way, but all seem perfectly organic and fitting for this story.
An honest love letter to the fans
With so many people involved both in front of and behind the camera, it would be easy for something to slip, but it just doesn’t. The film truly feels as though every single person wants to tell the best possible story and really cares about these characters and the audience for that matter. There is a lot of ‘fan service’ scattered throughout, but each moment has been worked for and earned. One moment, in particular, had the entire audience gasp and cheer in the screen, including me.
The Russo brothers had a seemingly impossible task on their hands. After successfully bringing all of these characters together in Infinity War, how could they top that? Well, they managed it. Not only is the film coherently shot, but it is visually stunning. From the quiet moments to the all-out action scenes, everything is beautifully framed and rendered. There are a couple of times where it could turn into an absolute mess, but the Russos somehow keep everything in check so that the audience knows exactly what’s going on.
Redefining the Superhero genre
Starting with Captain America: Winter Soldier, the Russo brothers sought to redefine superhero films; injecting elements from other genres to mould their vision for the superhero genre. Avengers: Endgame is the culmination of this journey; being part heartfelt drama, part all-out action flick, with bits from other genres sprinkled in. And it all works astoundingly well. Whilst we’re mentioning ‘heartfelt drama’: bring tissues because you will definitely need them.
A fitting conclusion
There isn’t really much more I can say. This may seem like the ramblings of a crazed fanboy (and that may be partly true) but I cannot state enough how much of an unprecedented achievement this film is. Eleven years of storytelling, across 22 films, all coherently interconnecting and building to this one film is a feat that will probably never be replicated. To fit so many characters and plot threads into one movie is an accomplishment in itself, but to have that film be as visually stunning and satisfying as Avengers: Endgame is incomprehensible.
Realistically, most of the world is going to see this film over opening weekend and it will make a ton of money. If you still haven’t decided whether to see it or not, just do it, you won’t regret it. See it soon, see it on the big screen, whatever it takes.
Jordan Duguid | ★★★★★
Avengers: Endgame is in cinemas now.
Action, Superhero | 12A | USA 2019 | 26 April 2019 | Disney | Dir. Joe & Anthony Russo | Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner