Now that ‘Avengers: Endgame’ has had a good, albeit successful run in theaters for a few weeks, and the spoiler ban has been lifted, I have felt the need to go into detail about ‘Avengers: Endgame’. Being that this review is filled with spoilers, those who still have yet to see this epic conclusion to Marvel’s ‘Infinity Saga’ should turn back and come here afterward; otherwise, you can keep going.
Eleven years and twenty-two films have brought us to ‘Endgame’, which serves as an epic conclusion, tribute to past Marvel Cinematic Universe films, and a goodbye to beloved characters (R.I.P. Tony Stark and Natasha Romanoff). In ‘Endgame’, chapters get closed and new beginnings are at hand (A set-up for both ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’, and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3, where Thor joins the characters on a search for Gamora from an earlier timeline) as we see superheroes who have been erased from existence come back for the ultimate showdown with Thanos (Josh Brolin), yet not in the way you expect.
With its three-hour runtime, ‘Endgame’ takes a while to get to that battle, so it is easy to feel underwhelmed by the story going into a different direction. You would think the confrontation between the Avengers and Thanos would be saved for the end, yet the surviving heroes which include the likes of Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), James Rhodes/War Machine (Don Cheadle), Nebula (Karen Gillan), and Rocket (Voice of Bradley Cooper), with the help of Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) manage to find the mad titan relaxing on a planet and kill him on the spot (“I went for the head” says Thor, in reference to Thanos’ last words before the snap), but not without an interrogation, where we learn the stones were destroyed after Thanos snapped yet again.
Where do they go from there? Thanos is now killed and all hope is lost! Cut to five years later, and everyone is going through their own personal battles with depression. Stark now has a child with his wife, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), Rogers is attending a support group for those who lost friends and family to the snap, Banner has now managed to combine his intelligence with Hulk’s build, and Thor is now an overweight drunk loser living in Norway (in one of the film’s disappointments); while Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) has finally escaped from the Quantam Realm with the help of a curious rat, and Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) is a vigilante in Tokyo as a way to cope with his family disintegrating.
The plot does pick up eventually when Lang discusses the possibility of time travel after being stuck in the Quantum Realm for five years. This causes Banner and a reluctant Stark to make a time machine in order for everyone to go back and collect all six infinity stones through different points in time and bring everyone back from disintegration. Though it will not be easy as characters run into past versions of themselves (2023 Captain America fighting 2012 ‘Avengers’ Captain America), say goodbye to long passed family members (Stark meeting up with his father in 1970, Thor trying to save his mother from her death in Asgard in 2013 a la ‘The Dark World), or changing a course in history causing alternate timelines (Nebula crossing paths with 2014 Gamora and Thanos from ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, wherein 2014 Thanos decides to travel to 2023 to destroy the world once and for all).
Eventually, after grabbing the stones, they have to fight 2014 Thanos in an ultimate showdown filled with heroes like Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Hope Van Dyne/The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and even fan-favorite Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland). As expected, the Avengers do defeat Thanos and the world is saved, but not without sacrifice, as the man who started it all manages to bring the final blow with a reverse snap with his last words being “I… am…. Iron Man.”
It is easy to see why ‘Endgame’ is a three-hour ride. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo have done everything they could to make a perfectly fitting ending to a franchise that has lasted a decade. Even though, this is the end of an era, it is a beginning of new adventures, stories to tell, and characters to welcome. Wherever the MCU goes, we will follow, and it is all thanks to ‘Iron Man’ back in 2008.