It was the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), a 22-film franchise starting with “Iron Man”over a decade ago, that helped transform comic book movies into what they are today. For years Marvel has been building to the culmination of their cinematic universe, and it has arrived. “Avengers Endgame”is the second part of a duology with 2018’s“Avengers Infinity War.” Even though the two are interlocked from a narrative perspective, they convey very different tones. They’re complements; while “Infinity War”focuses on how big their universe has grown, “Endgame”focuses on how far it has come.
My screening had watery eyes, roaring laughter, and shrieks of horror within the first 20 minutes. Having twists early on was exciting, not knowing where the story was going. But after the first act the sense of unpredictability shifts into fan-service, but in the best way possible.
This film is a celebration party, with all these fan-pleasing moments feeling earned after a decade of fandom instead of simply being gratuitous. The question on fans’ mind shifts from “What’ll happen that I never thought of?” to “What’ll happen that I always dreamed of?” However, I could imagine some non-established viewers asking “Why did this happen?” or “Why’s that a big deal?” only for their friend to reply “It happened in the comics” or “This was teased in an earlier movie.”
Going back to the party analogy, people who have never seen another Marvel movie may feel like a guest at a surprise party for someone they don’t know. They understand others have an attachment to what’s happening but they don’t, scratching their heads at inside jokes or feeling uncomfortable seeing people getting emotional. But for partygoers who have taken the time to meet all or even some of the guests, it is a damn good party.
That being said, I have some nitpicks. This film was about loss, depicting very real and different ways people deal with the aftermath of “Infinity War”and existing in a world where grief is the new norm. Despite this, the film was surprisingly funny, at times feeling slightly inconsistent in tone. Additionally, there were some plot points that occur offscreen when I feel they should have been shown; but at a 3 hours runtime, I understand their omission. Lastly, the film may get a little convoluted in the middle, only containing a quick “blink and you’ll miss it” explanation.
Luckily none of these detract from the gut-wrenching emotional scenes or the stellar conclusion to the MCU’s “Infinity Saga.” It is no exaggeration to say the last act is everything a movie eleven years in the making could be. The cinematography channels not only the greatest of the comics but the ancient mythologies that inspired creators like Stan Lee when these characters were originally conceived. There were cheers and tears as fans received the incredibly satisfying closure they needed. The ending is only embellished when the movie gives a little glimpse of the new but forever changed future to come.
So should you go see “Avengers Endgame?” If you are a die-hard fan, chances are you have already seen it. If you are a casual fan, having seen several movies, I would still say yes, the seemingly daunting three hours will still fly by with great enjoyment. If you have never seen a Marvel movie or simply feel you’re not a “superhero movie” person, I would advise this: log in to Netflix and watch Avengers Infinity War. While the characters and setting may be foreign, the basic plot is still possible to follow. What’s more important is this film will show you how comic book movies have evolved past the now archaic, “Good guy fights bad guy” bland plot some still associate with them.. It will reveal a depth to the genre many don’t realize has existed in the past few years of film. If it still doesn’t appeal to you, then pass on “Endgame.”
But if “Infinity War” piques your interest to explore this universe more, find a list of movies to watch in preparation for “Endgame.” They will give you all the context you need as well as stoke your newfound curiosity. If you are too impatient or busy to give yourself a movie backlog, I’d still go see this movie, just bring a friend who knows their stuff to clarify. Regardless, the film will be entertaining to those who jump right in from “Infinity War,” and hauntingly beautiful to those who have been a part of this universe from the very beginning.