By Chic DiCiccio
Eleven years. Twenty-one movies. That is the buildup for “Avengers: Endgame,” which is this week’s Most Anticipated Movie of All Time. The fact that Marvel Studios and Disney made it this far is almost unimaginable and this 181-minute epic faces near impossible expectations.
“Avengers: Endgame” surpasses any and all expectation. This happens in the first hour. It then proceeds to mix nostalgia and creativity in a way that can only be called extraordinary. Each section moves perfectly into the next at breakneck speed and it all crescendos in a perfect moment that can never possibly be captured again.
There really is little that can be said that won’t ruin the entire film. “Endgame” is essentially told in three acts, none of which are episodic and perfectly flow right into the next. The beginning deals with the apocalyptic events surrounding Thanos’ (Josh Brolin) snap that ended life for half of all living beings in the universe, leaving Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) loaded with survivor’s guilt. Like “Infinity War,” it’s dark, somber and as based in reality as the Marvel Cinematic Universe can get.
The second chunk covers the surviving heroes’ (a laundry list of them) attempt at righting Thanos’ wrongs. Without getting into detail, it’s an hour-long love letter to Marvel fans and an amazing payoff to everyone who stayed with them throughout this entire story development.
The third section is something that simply must be seen. It’s borderline indescribable. There will be applause and cheering and, for once, it may be applicable in a movie theater setting. It’s an emotional rollercoaster for even those who may not be committed to these characters.
But if you have become attached to these characters over time, you will need tissues. Each of the original six Avengers gets their moment to be heroic (and look really, really cool) then turn around and cause you to get the waterworks moving.
If awards were given out on technical brilliance while juggling about 50 balls in the air, then go ahead and hand directors Anthony and Joe Russo an Oscar right now. We all know “Endgame” will be ignored in that arena, but it’s completely unfair. It could also be said for screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. They created a three-hour long movie with seemingly hundreds of characters and storylines that’s cohesive in every way, shape and form.
While actors and actresses zip in and out, the film mostly sticks with Downey Jr., Evans, Hemsworth, Ruffalo, Johansson and Renner. It’s only fair considering none of this is even happening without them, Downey Jr. in particular. They are acutely aware of just how important this culmination of movies is, and they seem just as enthralled with these roles as they did when they each stepped into them.
Is there a bit too much sci-fi mumbo jumbo? Sure. Could it all be picked apart? Absolutely. But why bother? “Avengers: Endgame” is exactly what an event movie should be.
It’s thrilling, funny and, at times, heartbreaking. If this is indeed the swan song for several of these characters, there couldn’t possibly have been a better ending.