Forget everything you think you know about Avengers: Endgame, because the trailers are almost entirely useless and deceptive. Watching it was quite possibly the oddest blockbuster experience I’ve ever had: I walked into the theater thinking that I had a decent idea about what the film’s narrative was going to be about, or at least the first little bit, yet those expectations were thoroughly shattered very soon after the film began.
In an attempt to be spoiler free, I won’t provide much of a synopsis except to say that the film starts fairly shortly after the last one ended. Everyone is understandably devastated by the “Snap-heard-round-the-universe” and are all trying to cope in their own way.
The film attempts to be both a sequel and an end-of-an-era/nostalgic celebration of all things Marvel. I personally was really expecting it to be a sequel that would wrap up the events of Infinity War, but the film’s goals were much broader than that: they wanted to wrap up the first 10 years of films, not just the last movie. With the goal in mind, the amount of references to both big plot points and throw away gags in other MCU films that they included is quite staggering. The filmmakers have no qualms in expecting their audience to understand and remember much of the previous 20 or so films in the saga. Sometimes these references feel organic, yet a lot of them unfortunately feel quite forced.
As usual, the action scenes in the film are quite good, especially the one in Tokyo. It should be noted however, that the film is actually a lot more violent than most Marvel movies are. I wouldn’t say that the violence is gratuitous, per se, but it is going to be a lot to handle for some younger audience members.
It also should also be noted that while everyone expects this movie to be more on the somber side of things, I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t. Oddly, it’s probably the funniest Avengers film to date. Most of the melancholy is isolated to the first 20 or so minutes, and then the rest is a fun and funny ride.
There were several things in the film that didn’t work for me, such as pacing and convenient plot points or even plot holes. The filmmakers (the Russo brothers) most certainly decided to focus on giving the characters a satisfying journey rather than making sure the plot worked seamlessly. I’m usually a fan of films focusing on character more, but the Russos showed that they are more than capable of the perfect balance between the two in Infinity War, which I consider to be a vastly superior movie.
Ultimately, the film tries to cram too much into a single film, which I think could leave the audience feeling fatigued at the end. The plot is extremely complex and I’m still trying to wrap my mind around one of the main plot devices. Again, comparing this movie to Infinity War, which is a masterclass in balanced pacing and tone, Endgame falls a bit short and just feels a bit busy and even messy at times.
Overall, Avengers Endgame is a moving, fun, and satisfying film that Marvel fans will eat up like a bowl of their favorite ice cream flavor. It was a tad too busy and felt forced in parts, but still was a capable conclusion to the first 10 years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, I tend to be more critical of Marvel movies in general than most others, so perhaps take faults I found with a grain of salt.