SPOILER FREE. Ten years…21 films…and a cliffhanger that left audiences breathless and weeping, has led to what is appropriately titled…Endgame. The movie's events would show the Avengers actually having something to avenge-- The Snap, which caused the deaths of half of all life in the universe-- and also bring to a conclusion ten years of brilliantly interconnected storylines. Arguably the most anticipated movie in cinematic history, Avengers: Endgame is shattering records: ticket pre-sales, first day domestic box office, first weekend domestic box office, and has already passed $1 billion worldwide in its first weekend.
It’s easy to understand why. The Russo Brothers have written and directed a masterpiece that is equal parts action, drama, comedy, and tragedy. The Russos have formulated a story that from the very first scene and continuously throughout the entire film will tug at your every emotion, and make you laugh, cheer, and cry (both in sadness and in pure joy) more times that you can count.
It’s been no secret that to reverse the effects of The Snap, the Avengers are going to have to figure out a way to recreate The Snap. It’s also no secret that somehow time travel will have to be used to achieve this.
Unfortunately, the remaining Avengers have to wait five years for a solution to present itself. They have been living in a world still in shambles and in shock from losing half its population. Most have moved on from being an Avenger, some have transformed themselves into something different, while others still hold down the fort, looking for a way to find and defeat Thanos. The solution finally arrives at their doorstep, thanks to of all things, a rat.
The rest of the story is too difficult to describe without spoilers, but it is a fitting retrospective of the last 10 years, with every major character from the last decade appearing, however briefly. For those who haven’t seen many or any of the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the avalanche of characters will be very hard to absorb, but fans will be in geek heaven.
Every one of the Original Six—Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye—has been given generous screentime to resolve their individual storylines, in ways that are either emotionally shocking or dramatically satisfying. A tense, high-stakes scene between Hawkeye and Black Widow features standout performances by both actors, and seeing a different, more nurturing side of Tony Stark is a heartwarming treat.
The action sequences are as fantastically designed and rendered as any you have ever seen. The line between live-action and computer-generated is so blurred, it is hard to tell which is which. The hand-to-hand combat between Captain America and Thanos was instantly legendary, and Captain Marvel proved once again why she is the Avenger to be feared the most.
Like any true Marvel movie fan, you will want to stick around until the end of the credits, even though for the first time ever, there is no bonus scene; but there is an audio Easter egg that is a fitting and touching bookend to this amazing 10-year journey.