‘Avengers: Endgame’: A Spoiler-Free Review
Just go see it.
Those four words really do suffice here, particularly when trying to avoid spoilers, and we’re all about #DontSpoilTheEndgame. If you’ve loved the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the past decade, you’ll most likely love this movie. Endgame is definitely not a starting point for someone looking to see what the big deal is about these films; you’re expected to know the characters and the relationships. And at the opening night showing that I attended, everyone in the packed theater seemed to be very invested in at least some, but usually all, of the characters, and they loved references to the previous films.
It’s not a spoiler to say that Endgame focuses on the characters who we didn’t lose in the “Snap” at the end of last year’s Infinity War. The movie really focuses on the original team, who first assembled seven years ago in Avengers. Back then, it was mindblowing to see the Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and Hulk franchises come together, and of course Marvel has really raised the stakes for seeing various team-ups in the years since. Infinity War blew minds by bringing Black Panther, Dr. Strange, Spider-Man and even The Guardians of the Galaxy into an Avengers story; Endgame goes a bit further than that. Here’s a reference for longtime comic book readers: more than anything else, it reminded me of the thrill of reading DC’s 1985-1986 miniseries Crisis On Infinite Earths, which united pretty much everyone in an epic battle with the highest possible stakes (and it’s no surprise that Marvel’s 1991 mini-series The Infinity Gauntlet, which united the Marvel universe and inspired Infinity War and Endgame, used Crisis artist George Perez, comicdom’s master of widescreen cinematic action).
Here’s a minor complaint: with all the guest appearances, it would have been nice for Marvel to give us a glimpse of the Defenders: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and even the Punisher, all characters with popular Netflix shows, all of which have been canceled as Marvel moves their content to parent company’s Disney+ streaming network. Likewise, a nod to ABC’s Agents Of SHIELD would have been nice, too. By now, wouldn’t it be OK for the Avengers to learn that Agent Coulson is still alive? But rumor has it that Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige doesn’t like the company’s TV properties, and that’s a shame, as most of them ranged from good to excellent.
Some critics, trolls and contrarians will try to take away from the artistic value of superhero movies, particularly one like this, where it seems that everything and the kitchen sink is thrown in. The amount of movie stars in the credits is, frankly, mindblowing. The film sports what was probably the greatest battle scene in any sci-fi film or TV show (but talk to me again after Sunday night’s Game Of Thrones episode!). On the other hand, it had some of the most intimate moments of any MCU film. Throughout Endgame, the audience laughed, screamed, shrieked, gasped and some even teared up. Was the film perfect? No. Like a lot of Marvel films, there’s so much great dialogue, and that makes the corny lines stand out more, by contrast. Sometimes characters act a bit out of character. And if you get too caught up in the logic of cosmic aspects of the film, you’re not doing anyone any favors.
Will Marvel be able to top this? We don’t know much about their plans, beyond the upcoming Spider-Man: Far From Home movie, and that new installments of Black Panther, Dr. Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy are in the works. We know that at some point, the MCU can start developing X-Men and Fantastic Four films. But what about the Avengers? Well, if Endgame teaches you anything, it’s that “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” never quit.