After more than a decade in the making, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) unearthed its epic finale with its 22nd feature film, Avengers: Endgame. It wasn’t always the smoothest of rides. You won’t have to look any further than Thor: The Dark World and Avengers: Age of Ultron to know that each individual installment was far from perfect. Yet, every separate chapter serves a unique purpose, highlighting the notion that the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts. And with Endgame, specifically, the concluding film reinforces the phenomenal fact that, like a clutch athlete who performs best when the game is on the line, the MCU continues to shine brightest on the biggest stages.
Following Thanos’ (Josh Brolin) cataclysmic finger snap that annihilated half of all living creatures in the galaxy, the remaining Avengers are forced to deal with their failures. Yet, when Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) luckily returns from the quantum realm only to discover what had happened, he finds his superhero allies and they discover a time-traveling plan that could potentially reverse all of the destruction caused by Thanos. Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and the rest of the Avengers embark on a mission to undo the past without compromising the future.
For all its glory, Endgame stands as a monumental chapter in the MCU that opens certain doors and closes others. The film’s bulky three-hour running time proves effortless as the humor is as strong as it’s ever been and the story makes for a thrilling and engaging experience. And while I definitely applaud Endgame’s script for how it thrusts Thanos back into the heart of the story as well as other key characters that you might not expect, the film’s time travel elements are also some of its weakest. Any time you revolve a story around such a fragile and flimsy scientific idea, it becomes easy to poke holes in the many faults that surround it. However, these issues are rather minor and simple to ignore thanks to an otherwise brilliant showcase from the directing duo of Joe and Anthony Russo. Each central character that helped build the MCU becomes handled with immense care and respect, all while the story takes the audience through a trip down memory lane that’s both enjoyable to witness again and necessary to fulfill the film’s emotional climax. I was also pleased that Captain Marvel’s inevitable inclusion was not as some unstoppable saving grace to the Avengers, and rather a complementary figure to the heroes that we’ve spent a decade relying on. And although Endgame will understandably be viewed as a finale of sorts, it’s actually a bridge from the humble beginnings of the MCU to the limitless behemoth that it has evolved into. Fan theories have already begun circulating in hopes to dissect where exactly cinema’s greatest film universe will go. Yet, Endgame forces me to take a step back and appreciate everything we’ve been give. The MCU has created an expansive world unlike anything we’ve ever witnessed, and I’m convinced now more than ever that Marvel’s future is very, very bright.