By Andrew Jenck
**Review contains spoilers
Avengers: Infinity War has received a fair amount of criticism in regards to it’s ending, as we all know that almost every character who was turned into ash was going to come back, and while I understand that sentiment, it is not one I share. Namely, all of the original, more established Avengers remained, setting the next installment as a more emotional, character-driven narrative. In a perfect world, Avengers: Endgame would be the final entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; not just for being a sendoff to some longtime players but also that Endgame encompasses everything that we love about the MCU (not the most original interpretation but it is true). Virtually every film before plays a hand in Endgame’s story, as there will be at least one thing that will make you giddy if you have been keeping up with the franchise. For anyone who has passing interest and has only seen a handful of movies, you will be entertained (I had a friend who was in the exact same situation), but this does feel more geared towards the longtime fans.
What I find the most interesting about Endgame is that despite being a last ditch effort to save half the universe, the action scenes are not the most memorable features. They are fine with some great moments and get the job done, but few of them go beyond just serviceable in my eyes. I feel that many moviegoers’ big takeaways will be the character moments and interactions. With time travel playing such a key role, it is appropriate that each of the big three stands for a different part of time. Thor is distraught by the past, having lost so much over the last few films. He learns in the end to not be held back by depression and how far from grace he has fallen; not the body shaming that others have claimed. Steve encompasses the present, who may be a product of the past, is more focused on the mission at hand. Tony’s biggest concern is the future, now being a father, he comes to realize that while he may want to forget the past and live his normal life, he cannot be self-absorbed and understands that a better future is worth the risk. Hence, he is the one who sacrifices himself to defeat Thanos, not just because he has been the face of the franchise.
Every other character gets their time to shine and has their moments. Clint and Natasha’s friendship is engaging throughout and hits close to home. Ant-Man gets some of the biggest laughs. Karen Gillian really commits to her role as Nebula, showing how much humility she has gained over the years and her interactions with her past self are among the heaviest of the film. Hulk, however, feels like a bit of wasted opportunity, as they’ve shown Banner’s struggles with the Hulk over his last two appearances but all of that character development hinted at is just glossed over in the time skip.
The final battle is well executed, albeit more for seeing the previously deceased characters come back in glory. I understand that the scene with all the female superheroes may come across as gimmicky to some, but I felt it was cool to see and can imagine a lot of little girls got a real kick out of it. There are however, some drawbacks with the time travel mechanic, as now the Avengers have to fight against Thanos from the past, who doesn’t quite have the same depth as he did in Infinity War. I suppose that is a tradeoff when the previous film was Thanos’ film whereas this one is much more of an Avengers film with more development and character interactions.
Avengers: Endgame is a worthy sendoff to characters we have followed throughout the last decade. There is a great amount of emotional weight but still maintains a sense of humor. The spectacle is there, but it is the more intimate moments that stand out. I can’t say that I am excited for the future of the MCU but that’s a different editorial for another time. As is, we’re out of the Endgame now and it was a satisfying conclusion.