Avengers: Endgame Is A Fittingly Nostalgic, Super-Sized Finale

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Intense SFX-laden battle scenes? Check. Unexpectedly tender character moments? Check. Knowing references to Marvel canon and resolutions to plot lines that have been brewing since the MCU first began? Check and check.

To be blunt, the 3 hour and 4 minute Avengers: Endgame is a lot. Critics were famously unsure about Joe and Anthony Russo’s ability to turn Avengers: Infinity War, which featured dozens of cast members and constantly jumped back and forth between scenes on Earth and outer space, into a cohesive, unified film. The balancing act that Endgame demanded may have been even more difficult for the Russos to pull off, even though they didn’t have to manage as many main players this time around. But pull it off they somehow did.

In Endgame, the Russos manage to not only wrap up the whole Thanos storyline from Infinity War but also wrap up the 11-year-long Infinity Saga in a way that, for the most part, makes narrative sense. Will the ending please every single critic and die-hard Marvel fan? Probably not.

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But it’ll likely please most of them, especially fans who have taken the time to watch each of the 21 MCU films that came out before Endgame (or at least 20—you get a pass if you haven’t seen The Incredible Hulk). Endgame presents new (sometimes ridiculous) sides of characters we’ve known for as long as 11 years, and it revitalises a handful of plot threads and arcs that this writer assumed had been completely forgotten. Also, not to spoil too much, but there’s a thrillingly self-referential moment that happens about a third into the movie that actually made my heart skip a beat.

That’s not to say that Marvel casuals can’t enjoy Endgame. Lost track of where each Infinity Stone came from? Endgame will give you a handy refresher. Forgot that Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Steve Rogers’ (Chris Evans) relationship had gotten particularly frosty in Captain America: Civil War? Endgame makes that fact abundantly clear.

Also, cynics concerned that Captain Marvel’s (Brie Larson) presence makes Thanos’ (Josh Brolin) defeat inevitable need not worry—our heroes have to fight just as hard as they always have, maybe even harder. And, as is custom with Russo-directed Marvel movies, Endgame certainly isn’t lacking in humour despite the ever-looming possibility that half the world’s population could remain missing.

Endgame is, at times, mildly confusing and even a little bit overwhelming— both in terms of the information it throws at you and the emotional moments it forces you to confront. However, it certainly isn’t forgettable—and 10 years from now, we’ll likely look back on Endgame as a satisfying conclusion to the saga that helped define 2010s pop culture.

Avengers: Endgame is in theatres starting today. Check out the official trailer below.