"We're in the endgame now." The words of Doctor Strange ring true, as Marvel's decade-spanning, 22 movie run comes to a close. Avengers: Endgame is exactly that. It's the end.
And here's the first thing I said upon leaving the theater: I'm actually shaking. And I still am. Absolutely no spoilers, but you have to go see this movie. And if you haven't been following the MCU, get all caught up first, then go see it.
This is an event unlike anything you've ever seen on the big screen.
Endgame isn't merely Infinity War part two. It does pick up in the aftermath of that fateful moment in Wakanda, but the story doesn't simply flow into the new movie. Endgame takes up the fallout, and not just the lost Avengers. The world is in mourning for those it lost, looking for any glimmer of hope and a reason to move on.
Of course, seeing Cap running down to the local supermarket for a loaf of bread and reminiscing about the old days wouldn't make much of a movie. This is the Avengers. But it's a different kind of Avengers, it's an Avengers that for the first time lost, and lost hard.
It's one of the early striking themes. These are emotional responses not yet seen in the MCU. There's a human side to each of them, even those that aren't.
An emotional Avengers that lost, and lost hard
Not everyone gets the same emotional exploration, though, and it's unsurprising that the focus falls more so on the original six. But it's not all doom and gloom. There are moments you'll cry, but equally, there are a number of laugh out loud moments with the comedic sides of Hulk and Thor, in particular, breaking the tension.
So how exactly do you follow up the biggest crossover event in movie history and one that ended that way? Endgame feels different to other MCU titles, precisely because of its name. No longer is anything being set up, explained, teased, what the past 21 movies have all been about is here.
Are there a lot of moving parts? You bet. And were this not a Marvel flick it would be easy to pick fault with all the pieces that are moving at the same time. There are times the pace slows, but mostly Endgame is a hectic three hours.
But precisely because of what movie this is, is exactly why that's not a bad thing. Endgame is delivering a service to fans who have invested so much into the saga.
It's fair to say this isn't just a movie. It's an event, an experience, a rollercoaster of emotions and one of the most exciting things you'll see in many a year.
More than a movie, it's an event, an experience
It's impossible to please everyone, but there's little reason to pick fault. Endgame delivers on a scale that I didn't think possible.
It's a fight, an epic tale of good and evil, the ultimate superhero experience. Take a moment to appreciate the enormity of it all, and enjoy the adrenaline rush that accompanies it. The special effects are typically grand, adding to the scale of the task. After all, it's not just Earth at stake, the Avengers have the fate of the universe on their shoulders.
Where does the MCU go now, though? Endgame does indeed bring the Infinity Saga to a dramatic close, but it also leaves you with plenty to ponder for the future. There are twists, but it doesn't feel like anything ends abruptly. It leaves you feeling good for what comes next.
The ultimate superhero experience setting an almost impossible bar
At the start of this, I said I left the screening shaking, and that's no exaggeration. Even recounting that three-hour experience brings it back. One of the most genuinely exciting movies you may ever see.
Endgame is exactly how you bring such an ambitious project to an end, leaving fans fulfilled, and frankly, it's set an almost impossible bar.
How exactly anyone, even Marvel, can follow this is a question in it itself. Avengers: Endgame is utterly magnificent.
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