Avengers: Endgame is breathtaking. It's a cinematic masterpiece, a rightful culmination of eight years of Marvel's created universe, spanning twenty-one movies, and the emotional rollercoaster you never thought could spawn from a franchise based on comic books. Marvel began the increasingly popular trend of creating interconnected canons through movies, a trait that DC, the Monsterverse, and many other aspirants are adopting in order to compete with the giant. However, Endgame is definitive proof that while competitors have increased in number over the years, the original will still remain king, at least for now.
To judge Endgame as its own movie is simply unfair, simply because the very plot of this movie is reliant on the films made before it. In order to reverse the decimation Thanos caused, the heroic Avengers must travel to particular instances of both planetary and intergalactic history, while the Infinity Stones were still vulnerable and not lodged in the golden gauntlet of the Mad Titan. This alone creates amazing and downright hilarious situations (ie, Captain America whispering 'Hail Hydra' in the elevator towards a collective of secretive HYDRA spies working in SHIELD, or Peter Quill being knocked unconscious by War Machine). One moment specifically stuck out to me, the scene where the original operation to nab the Tesseract went awry thanks to Hulk's rage, and Loki uses the chaos to escape. According to this movie's own rules, this creates another branch in the Avengers timeline in which Tom Hiddleston's beloved character is freely traversing galaxies and causing havoc as the God of Mischief.
Endgame's strengths are derived from many great qualities that have made Marvel's later iterations into their franchise wonderful and kept the superhero genre a prevalent theatrical element. An engaging storyline, characters whose quips make you laugh and demises make you weep ceaselessly, a musical soundtrack that capitalises on sheer epicness and intensity, and ultimately, an atmosphere of both fun and seriousness, meshed together into one cohesive package. I'll also have to admit, Endgame nearly made me cry at the deaths of both Black Widow and Tony Stark, longtime members of the franchise who both poetically met their ends in fitting ways: Sacrifice.
In fact, I believe that's what Marvel's overall theme throughout all twenty-two adventures have been about that bittersweet theme of sacrifice. In Iron Man One, Tony Stark sacrificed his lucrative weapons manufacturing business to protect the world from evil-doers. In Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve Rogers sacrificed his chance at love with Peggy to stop Red Skull from destroying America. In Civil War, the Avengers sacrificed their very team and sense of camaraderie for what they personally believed in. But in Endgame? Endgame's sense of sacrifice was unique, yet expected. The heroes didn't sacrifice for ideology, they didn't sacrifice their money or standing or even their chance at love. They sacrificed for each other.
Of course, Josh Brolin once again nailed his performance as Thanos. His character change over the movie was understandable. At first, he was a simple hermetical farmer picking plants and enjoying retirement on an isolated world, before being ambushed and beheaded by the Avengers and Thor respectively. However, due to time miscalculations regarding Nebula, the past version of the original timeline's Thanos garners knowledge of his fate, and decides that instead of slicing all life in half, he will instead reconstruct the universe and leave no knowledge of the Avengers or their supporters in his wake. Thus, Thanos goes from a misdirected and deluded altruist to a brutal warlord that has grown tired of perceived 'ungratefulness' at his actions as saviour of life itself. At the movie's climax, Thanos also once more displays his sheer power and combat ability, at first taking on Captain America, later energized by Mjonlir (epic moment by the way), Iron Man, and Thor, but eventually indirectly fighting a cavalcade of the MCU's greats, including Captain Marvel, and WINNING! While ultimately, Thanos and his army are destroyed when Tony selflessly snaps the Infinity Gauntlet, his final stand is truly a battle that'll remain timeless and remembered.
The Russo Brothers, Stan Lee (may his soul rest in peace), and the hundreds of Marvel staff that have wrote, provided technical support, leased out settings, managed advertisement campaigns, and dozens upon dozens of other pivotal tasks to create this universe and finally see it off have given us an unforgettable experience. Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlet Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Paul Rudd, Josh Brolin, and the list simply goes on of these talented actors whose careers were practically forged by these movies, worked intensely and tirelessly to create both a viewing pleasure and adventure for our eyes and hearts. Never have I been more grateful to a studio than Marvel, for starting cinematic universe trend in filmaking and thus indirectly inspiring the creativity of thousands, if not millions of others.
Each original Avenger received a satisfying end to their trilogies's character arcs. Thor is embarking on a journey of self-discovery with the restored Guardians of the Galaxy. Captain America experiences the past and enjoys a life with Peggy Carter. And Tony Stark, while not the first chronological Avenger, began this enter universe with Iron Man One, making himself a household name, While extremely depressing, his end seemed... fitting, his death encapsulating his character development from self-obsessed industrialist to champion of goodness. The events of Civil War now seem like a minor disagreement in a now blossoming friendship, the way Cap and Iron Man interact throughout a majority of the movie, and rightfully so. The Avengers moved on from their past enmities, reuniting together to achieve a common goal: saving the world.
Without hesitation, I can safely say my favourite scene was the final battle between Thanos's legions and what can be considered the Marvel Cinematic Universe itself. Black Panther, Stephen Strange, Spiderman, Valkyrie, the Asgardian, Wizard, and Wakandan Armies versus hordes of badass and vicious alien cannon fodder. Even seeing the Chitauri, Outriders, and Sakaaran Militants one last time was oddly nostalgic, if not downright entertaining to see them either get crushed or crush the enemy forces of light before them. Leviathans reigned in the skies, Antman even freaking PUNCHED one of them! Imagine that, Ant-Man punching a spaceship! Peter Quill's hilarious reunion with past Gamora, the female superheroes uniting to defend Peter Parker and annihilate the oncoming horde of baddies, Obsidian's laughably quick death, Ebony Maw's posh British accent spouting 'sire', Corvus being speared, and so, so much more. This scene was beyond deserved, it was EARNED. Years of hard-work, blood, sweat, and tears toiled to culminate in this vibrant bonanza of our cherished characters battling against forces of darkness and destruction, and saving the Earth.
There's nothing truly surprising I can say about Endgame. No revelations I can detail to make my reader think about this three hour two minute cascade through superhero glory any differently. All I can do is thank Marvel and Stan Lee for creating such a timeless, yet so modern work of art. I hope wherever the MCU goes after Endgame, it carries the same feel and wonder this movie so properly commanded. 10/10.
Oh, and one more think. I love you, 3000.