***SPOILER FREE ZONE***
The super-sized issue twenty-two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe hits theaters Thursday, and superhero fans around the planet have no idea what to expect. So take a breath and enjoy that moment. No doubt by the end of opening weekend, tons of people will be spoiling the film for others (intentionally or not), memes will appear and this chapter of Marvel Studios incredible saga will come to an end.
Yes, I know that technically, Spider-Man: Far From Home is the closer for Phase Three, but thematically, story-wise, character-wise, Avengers: Endgame feels like the close of an era. It is stunningly enjoyable, fan service is paid (without pandering), moments delight, and the film ends up being a ‘WOW’ ride.
But for the moment, just savor that excitement, that moment before you see the film, before everything is revealed, and things are hopefully resolved. That anticipation, that joy… revel in it, because Avengers: Endgame is worth it.
The seemingly staggering three hour run time goes by in a ‘snap'(?), and from the film’s opening sequence to it’s final shot, the themes of family, regret, sacrifice, service – the very definition of a hero – runs throughout, even as the film dazzles with visuals, and action beats.
You can’t come into this one unprepared, a least cursory knowledge and familiarity with the previous twenty-one (!) films is a must, because there is a lot going on in this film, and every thing that has gone before is relevant.
The Avengers were soundly beaten in Infinity War, and Thanos (Josh Brolin) won without question, wiping out fifty percent of all life with a snap of his fingers. The survivors live with that knowledge and it affects everything they say, and how they live their lives, and none of them are any better for Thanos having ‘saved’ them.
Can they come back from that shattering loss? And more importantly, how? Rumors have circulated since the credits rolled on Infinity War, and you won’t find the answers here in this post, but I’ve got them, and I was very satisfied with them.
The Russos have taken their time with this film, the action, and the character beats have some real emotion to them, and while there are sequences that will have audiences cheering there will be tears shed as well. There are surprises that will have you laughing out loud, and emotional closure for a number of characters.
This is spectacle of the highest order, and should be enjoyed, and loved as such. Since 2008 Marvel Studios has been creating these escapes, and Endgame is a brilliant capstone to that achievement. It’s never been done before, and while there will be some who will argue the artistic merit of superhero movies, there is a very important place for escapist entertainment in the film world, and Avengers: Endgame is that example personified.
The story roars along, letting us catch up with those who survived, while mourning those we’ve lost, and the film delights in unexpected pairings as the plot begins to speed up. All the characters are coming into this film completely realized, and everything has a weight to it because of the prior films. There are arcs for characters and (beautiful) payoffs aplenty, even little Easter eggs sprinkled throughout for those with a sharp eye.
Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Hawkeye/Ronin (Jeremy Renner) the original core team form the heart of the film, even as Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), Nebula (Karen Gillan), War Machine (Don Cheadle) offer their support to combat Thanos.
Everything we’ve come to expect from the Marvel films is here; the fun dialogue, the set pieces, the iconic characters, and top-tier actors. There wasn’t a moment that I wasn’t completely wrapped up in what was happening. We’ve lived with these characters for over a decade now, and we’ve placed our trust in these films, in the MCU…
And issue twenty-two doesn’t let us down.
Avengers: Endgame wows and thrills, provokes and contemplates, and oh so entertains. I can’t wait to see it again!
Avengers: Endgame is in theaters this Thursday!