Avengers: Endgame

Note: This review is 100% spoiler-free.

I feel like I just finished a marathon. Partially because this movie is a whopping three hours long, but also because Endgame finally puts me at a place where I feel like I can stop and take a breather. The mad pace started by Iron Man back in 2008 culminates here, and what a crazy, record-breaking, unprecedented journey it’s been.

In a word, Avengers: Endgame is awe-inspiring. Bold. Insane. And pretty much bonkers all the way around. As they did in a different way with Infinity War, they’ve managed to break all sorts of storytelling rules, flirt with dangerous convoluted ideas, cram way too many characters in, and still manage to come out the other side with a victory. It’s an impressive feat that will take repeat viewings to fully appreciate.

It’s hard to talk about the movie while simultaneously giving nothing away, but I can say that whatever it is you want from the MCU, you’ll find it in this movie. Big hero moments? Check! Quiet character moments? Check! Conclusions to ten years of plotlines? Check! Jokes on jokes? Check! Inside references only appreciated by the mega-fans? Check! It really does have it all, without seeming over-stuffed or overly gratuitous.

To one of those points, this is a movie best enjoyed by having an intimate knowledge of everything that’s come before. And I don’t mean a few of the MCU movies — I mean ALL of them. I can’t imagine how confusing this thing would be for someone who’s seen none of the precursors. Luckily, such folks are probably few and far between at this point.

For such a long movie, it breezes by with nary a moment to be bored. There’s always action, humor, or heartfelt character moments to keep you drawn in. And it does the latter so well, tying a bow on arcs that have been playing out for over a decade, and fulfilling promises long forgotten for each and every main Avenger. The secondary ones (Ant-Man, Captain Marvel, War Machine, etc) don’t exactly get short shrift, but they politely step aside to leave the focus on the original six.

That’s not to say that the movie’s perfect. Some of the jokes can be tonally out of place at times, and for super nerds who analyze movies, there’s at least one thing that makes absolutely no sense in the context of the movie’s premise. Seriously, y’all, I stayed up for three hours trying to make sense of it and couldn’t come up with a satisfying answer. It doesn’t detract from the movie, though, especially in the moment, and maybe it’s worth breaking the rules for what it adds to the narrative.

Look, you don’t need me to write a review to know whether or not you’re going to see Avengers: Endgame. This is one of the most significant cinematic events in history, and you’re either already on-board, or never will be. It has an outside chance of hitting $1 billion in worldwide box office this weekend. Utterly insane.

The hype is real. The movie is worth it. And it’s great to be alive during such an amazing film-going era.

Rating: 5 stars
Should you watch it? Yes!
Should you take your kids? If they watch the other Avengers movies, sure
What you should watch first: All of the MCU movies, starting with 2008’s Iron Man. Anything less, and you’re bound to miss some reference or another.

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