In terms of scope, ambition and sheer filmmaking craft – there has never quite been a blockbuster like Avengers: Endgame. The last film in Phase Three – and the 22nd from the studio in just 11 year – above anything else, Endgame is a feat of storytelling and a truly momentous piece of cinema. What Anthony and Joe Russo have managed here, given the task at hand, is nothing short of remarkable. You almost take it for granted. Expectations are so high, and we’re so concerned with who’s going to make it out alive, that we don’t give deserved credit to the ability to weave this huge narrative and vast array of characters together.
For Endgame, in a similar vein to Infinity War, except this follow-up comes with the burden of closure – it’s a triumph in every single aspect. The tone is so delicately balanced, the way we move between humour, and action and profundity, to have a film make you laugh and cry within moments of each other, all while maintaining the stakes and implications of the narrative, is genius. The Russo brothers are geniuses. Some of the funniest lines come in the most fearful of scenarios.
Then there’s the pacing. To build this story and ensure the suspense is there, to reintroduce us into the world, and allow us time to breath and settle down, before the inevitable action sequences arrive, is masterfully done. It is worth noting, and be warned, you may not find satisfaction when it comes to individual character arcs, for there are certainly some of our favourites who are underused somewhat. But it’s been intelligently crafted so that those we do feature are being featured heavily for a reason, every decision feels thought out, even if it does take a few hours after the credits roll to understand. But in regards to character screen time, it has to be that way, otherwise it would become even more convoluted and complex than it already it.
But what helps is that it’s a film made for the fans, by the fans. This will give you everything you want, the rousing monologues, the catchphrases, the moments that quite literally make grown adults stand up and start whooping – because that’s what we want. These films offer a means of escapism and they are by their very nature crowd pleasers – so go ahead and bloody please us. And with that in mind, find the biggest screen and the biggest audience you can for this one – it’s immersive and prepare for a fair bit of participation, too. Or maybe that’s just my weird friends.
Most of the whoops from the crowd come, naturally in the latter stages of the film – when battle commences (don’t worry, that’s all we’ll say). But it’s a huge testament to the filmmakers that even though we know the fate of many of our favourite characters – just check the MCU slate, it’s not a spoiler, more a fact – we still fear for their safety, such is our investment. A lot of that is down to the quite formidable opponent in Thanos – and as the cliché goes, a hero is only as good as their villain, and our heroes are pretty damn good, and they have a worthy adversary here.
Avengers: Endgame is a celebration of over a decade’s worth of entertainment. Not only as a means of revisiting some of our favourite films, but of our favourite characters – who we have developed such strong emotions for – are given their a fitting finale here. The Russo brothers have done a fine job too in borrowing styles from all of the filmmakers who have gone before them, implementing and staying true to the distinct sensibilities of each director who has taken the helm of these characters, as this collects and celebrates such a variety of storytelling techniques. Akin, in some regards, to a greatest hits album. But of course this isn’t the end, it’s far from it, but it does feel like we have just closed one book, and we await the opening of another. It has a sense of finality about it, a feeling of closure, even if the next one is a few months away. Oh and one last thing, take tissues. Chris Evans says that he cried six times when he saw the film, and needless to say, we beat that record.