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'Avengers: Endgame' Review

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May 2, 2019
Hunter Friesen
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It’s taken eleven years and twenty-two films, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe has finally reached its long-awaited bittersweet conclusion. 

Thanos has snapped his fingers and half of all life on Earth is gone. With the few remaining heroes left, the Avengers embark on a revenge quest against the villain that has stolen their friends and loved ones. But just like all plans, this one doesn’t go right and the team must now band together for one final showdown in order to save the universe and set things right once and for all. 

*Forewarning, this review may be a bit shallow at times and free of specific details for the sake of not wanting to give away spoilers. So please give me the benefit of the doubt as I try to be careful with my words.

After four outings, brothers Anthony and Joe Russo have firmly planted their position as the MCU’s best directors. Whether it be during somber conversations between characters or in the Lord of the Rings style final battle, the amount of detail and effort that goes into each frame is unparalleled by any other blockbuster. Regular Marvel cinematographer Trent Opaloch’s compositional lighting and camera movement is simply outstanding and keeps the film running on all cylinders throughout its three-hour runtime.

Also keeping the energy high is the lightning pace that brothers infuse into the film’s second and third act. They may miss the mark a bit during the first hour, but they more than make up for it in the latter two thirds as they deliver some of the most entertaining material put to screen. 

Lastly, aiding the brothers is a sweeping score by the always underappreciated Alan Silvestri. His music is swiftly able to go from epic to intimate in the blink of an eye and is a key driver behind many of the overwhelming emotions felt. Co-written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, Avengers: Endgame may mark the first film in the franchise to look back in the past as opposed to solely setting up the future. The specific medium it uses to reminisce may not be the most logical or neat, but the end product is a string of touching moments that pleasantly rewards fans that have stuck around all these years. 

After some time away from each other during Phase Three, the main core of the Avengers is finally back together, albeit under less than ideal circumstances. This initial tighter cast allows the main troupe to get their time to shine in what could be a few send-off performances. Things start to get messy when the entire roster is put back together. Some characters get the shorter end of the stick in terms of screentime, but I don’t know how it could all be properly done unless this movie was another six hours longer (which I would still approve of).

Marvel films have been built since day one on their ability to blend comedy with high emotional stakes. The stakes have never been higher here, and the same can go for the number of quippy jokes. The quality of the humor is surprisingly high throughout, but the sheer amount of one-liners during what should be tense moments verges on borderline overkill. 

With its bafflingly long cast list, Endgame boasts quite a few key acting highlights. The co-leads of Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans shine brighter than they ever have before. They’ve gotten better with each performance and leave it all on the screen as they share immense chemistry with each other and everyone around them. Josh Brolin is still great as Thanos. While he doesn’t reach the high bar he set for himself in Infinity War, he still delivers another powerful performance that towers over all the other Marvel villains.

Both Karen Gillan and Paul Rudd surprisingly stand out as Nebula and Ant-Man, respectively. They each have a more grounded personal story that offers a stark contrast to the epic main narrative. I realize I’m leaving a lot of great performances on the cutting room floor, but it would take a novel to talk about them all. Basically, everyone either did well or just alright. Nobody was outright bad. 

Arguably the biggest pop culture moment of all time, Avengers: Endgame is a film that arrived with an infinite amount of expectations and meets each and every one of them. Within its 181-minute runtime, you’ll laugh, you’ll more than likely cry (I did), and most importantly, be amazed at how a legendary neverending franchise can reach such a satisfying conclusion that both respects the past and gives confidence for the future.

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