Avengers: Endgame is the culmination of every previous Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movie spanning since 2008’s Iron Man. It is the movie event of the year. Hype surrounding this movie rivals that of the Star Wars franchise at its peak. Endgame attempts to tie the loose ends of every characters storyline along with the cliffhanger of Avengers: Infinity War which came out last year. The tasks the directors and screenwriters of this movie dealt with could have ended in disaster. If this movie was a bad payoff, it could derail the entire future of the MCU.
As the name suggests, this is it. As a finale, the movie manages to be an entertaining finale and satisfying for fans. As a standalone movie, it is rough around the edges and has some glaring plot inconveniences.
Starting off with the good aspects of the film, the special effects are amazing. Nothing was unconvincing or took away from the film. I found the special effects on Hulk to be the most impressive. With his large amount of screen time and interaction with physical sets, Bruce Banner/Hulk seemed very fluid and real in his movements and interaction with other characters. The rest of the CGI cast also looked great. Besides the CGI, the soundtrack was also great. It kept the recognizable Avengers theme while also creating an epic score around it. One of the best Marvel scores I have ever heard and makes the film better with its usage. The film also gets some important plot points right. Endgame ends important character arcs in a satisfying manner. The loose ends tied up and there was a conclusion for every character that wasn’t going to continue in the MCU for another generation of fans. Infinity War set a high bar for meshing the characters together into a cohesive storyline, and Endgame matched that. Throughout most of the movie, the screenwriters only had to work with the original Avengers instead of the now 30-ish other characters at their disposal. The snap allowed them to create a more cohesive and all-encompassing end for the original characters.
The screenwriting contains the only noticeable problems I have with the movie. While it did give good endings to long-time characters, I feel like the plot wasn’t as tight as it should have been. Compared to Infinity War, Endgame seriously lacks in terms of pacing its scenes. Hulk at the diner or Hawkeye fighting in Japan seem to be either pointless to overall plot progression or could be cut down to make a more digestible runtime. While many of these scenes allocate time for showing characters that weren’t in Infinity War, the pacing did not have to be so persistently sluggish.
The heist scenes also felt like they had varying degrees of importance, making some less interesting. Tony Stark having conversations with his father doesn’t really come to a point, but merely is a moment for Stark to see his dad again. The same happens with Thor and his mom. Time travel itself also opens up a world of confusion and questions to the audience. The explanation is explained visually, but only after they time travel multiple times. There are some thing that don’t add up as well. If they meticulously planned this mission, why didn’t Nebula tell them about Thanos looking for the Power Stone in 2014 as well? While characters can definitely make mistakes, I don’t see how this was overlooked considering it was implied that they worked a long time on this mission. I was able to follow what they were going for most of the time, but still missed key moments that made me question the legitimacy of the story. The pacing does get much better once the heist scenes are over. From that point onwards, it is almost a perfect finale.
While the plot has many problems that slightly corrupt the movie from a practical standpoint, the movie still fills its purpose as a finale to the over 20 movies that came before it. The time travel heist sequences have pure scenes of fan service. The movie won’t make as much sense if you haven’t seen the previous Avengers movies, Ant Man and The Wasp, Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor: The Dark World, Captain Marvel, Iron Man, etc. This doesn’t change the fact that the movie is simply epic on a grand scale. Nothing can top the epic resonance of the final battle scene, where the music is cranked to eleven and we see every single Marvel superhero fight together, using their different abilities to help each other out. There is something so raw and enjoyable about this sequence that it nullifies most criticisms of my first viewing. However, a second viewing might wear down my avoidance of criticism since the problems with the plot and pacing will become more glaringly obvious over time. Regardless of this, Endgame is a movie made for theatre sound systems. The grandiose ending makes for a conclusive wrap up that satisfies most of what I hoped for in the film. For better or for worse, this is a cultural moment of epic proportions with a movie that mostly lives up to it’s grand expectations.