Avengers: Endgame (2019)

“Endgame” accomplishes a grand feat. It’s not only a sequel that resolves just about every question we had with “Infinity War,” but it also acts as a wonderful book end to the first ten years of Marvel movies. This movie is a kind of “What If?” if you will, and I loved how the Russo Brothers don’t just make good on closing the epic saga of the infinity stones, but also have some fun tinkering in the Marvel Cinematic Universe established by folks like Joss Whedon, and Jon Favreau prior. It’s a marvelous and brilliant compilation of everything we love about this cinematic universe, plus a dramatic pay off for folks that have come to fall in love with these heroes and villains for of all these years.

“Avengers: Endgame” is set directly after the big snap that altered the universe as we knew it. Years after the Avengers were left wondering what they should do next, they’ve literally come to grips with the fact that Thanos has won, and they may never see their friends again. After Scott Lang comes back from the Quantum Realm to realize the universe has been altered, things might be changing for the Avengers and their current state of reality. The Russo brothers have a lot on their plate, and “Avengers: Endgame” is probably the most ambitious and epic scale blockbuster that Marvel Studios has produced thus far. It’s so immense that it makes “The Avengers” look absolutely simplistic by comparison.

With three hours in their corner, the Russos don’t work so much on refreshing the audience’s memories, but they instead remind us of why we became so engaged in this universe to begin with. “Endgame” charmingly flaunts the idea that the MCU was a successful gamble for Marvel Studios from the outset, delivering a coherent final stand for these beloved characters. The Russos also use a lot of the lingering plot threads from the previous films in the first phases from the movie series to bring together a rather remarkable tale about bonding, family, and thinking about ideas of life and how sometimes the things we love can disappear in an instant.

The Russos drop in on all the remaining Avengers, and set the course for a path of redemption for superheroes like Hawkeye, Bucky, and Nebula, among many. The narrative traces through the path to stop Thanos defining it as also a pathway to re-claiming a lot of what they’ve lost, and gaining so much in the future. While “Endgame” might just be the biggest Marvel cinematic epic to date, the Russos reach deep down and grab on to our hearts to prove that we’ve been invested not only for the action and theatrics, but the heart, the soul, and the richly drawn superheroes. Through and through we’ve watched these characters grow, suffer, and endure, and the Russos allow many of them to see the end, and resolve story lines that feel natural and worthwhile.

“Endgame” is an emotional movie, and I think fans will think of the gut wrenching moments, and the inspirational moments ten years from now when “Endgame” is looked back upon. While yes, the action is amazing, and the performances are absolutely stellar (especially from Evans and Downey Jr.), “Endgame” is also a beautiful, masterful final bow for the audience that has followed this epic story line from “Iron Man” and on. There’s so much to digest with “Endgame” that the Russos include that conveys how important every single moment in this movie series has been, and why they will continue to be celebrated as milestones in pop culture and storytelling.