This is a story about family, those that we lose, moving on, but also, refusing to. Avengers: Endgame doesn’t just signify a closing point for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the fundamental ending of a chapter for the entire superhero film genre. This IS the final chapter in the MCU novel that began it all, with the original 6 Avengers front and center.
It truly goes without saying that this film pays deep and honest respect to the original cast that helped birth the franchise. This film can only be described as a cinematic love-letter to the original 6, as well as the entire franchise. What the Russo brothers have done here is clear, this film is for the original 6 and for saga as a whole; a culmination of all the stories that have been shared over the past 11 years from Marvel Studios converging into one final stand. All with the sole intent to conclude these stories in spectacular fashion.
Avengers: Endgame displays a masterclass effort in concluding character arcs, tying up open story lines, and giving each and every character the screen time and justice they deserve. Split into a three-act structure this film is anything but standard, as this irregular story structure tosses audiences into a spin. If Avengers: Infinity War was the spectacle of the Infinity saga, then Endgame stands as its beating heart. This is a character driven film with the intent of letting us as an audience see these characters in their final forms, their lowest points and their highest. If you’ve been here from the beginning, then you need to be here for the end.
A heavily-stacked cast doesn’t begin to describe the volume of performances seen throughout this film, but the original core characters are here, and for the most part they do not disappoint. Robert Downey Jr stands at the top, just as he always has within this franchise, providing audiences with a fully realised Tony Stark. A man who has seen and experienced it all, a man finally coming to terms with reality. Downey brings together 11 years of character growth and transformation, producing what can only be described as a brutally honest performance to conclude a franchise that he helped build over a decade ago, all with a relative box of scraps.
Chris Evan’s also returns in shining form as Captain America; incorporating the faults, hopes and dreams of Steve Roger’s into one performance – a Captain America that is true to his failures and honest with his intentions. Scarlett Johansson stuns in her role as Black Widow, producing possibly one of the films best performances alongside Downey. She provides more depth and emotionality than to her character than ever before, as well as a captivating conclusion to a character that has been here from the beginning. Jeremy Renner removes his hood and shows the true face of his character, a torn and blistered portrayal of Hawkeye similar to what we had seen in Avengers (2012), illustrating a dark turn for a beloved character. Beyond the main cast we get other major standouts, one being Karen Gillan as Nebula – she provides an amusing and emotionally deconstructed version of a character I never expected to fall for, in time her character only grows more complex as Gillan grows accustomed to playing her. Not every character hits their note in perfect fashion, such as Thor (Chris Hemsworth) – as sadly there is a reduction of his character in this film.
While Avengers: Endgame provides a more complex narrative, the visual component of the film becomes simpler with less MCU-cosmic exploration to new wacky locations, as the films narrative threads begin to shrink on one path and align on another. The visual effects are once again outstanding as there are only a few shots looking substandard, with the backdrops feeling authentic when present. The distinction between Thanos and CGI has blended into one as the character feels more like a living and breathing life form rather than a computer generated figure. These visual effects are supported by an outstanding array of dazzling shots that absorb you further into the picture, with pitch-perfect lighting that supports the emotion that is being conveyed in the scene.
The costumes get a modern take and have improved upon Avengers: Infinity War with Iron Man’s suit feeling far more practical and Captain America sporting the chainmail armour. The production design feels more or less the same, feeling less fresh than what you’d see in Avenger: Infinity War; despite this they still produce outstanding quality that allows the audience to dive into that alternate reality. This is supported by such an intricate soundscape that contains careful selection and mixing of sounds into the film, it succeeds in its attempt to evoke a particular emotion from its audience. The score is composed nicely incorporating character motifs and its themes to add meaning to the visual and narrative components of the film.
Avengers: Endgame is blockbuster film making at its finest hour. This is the end. Just as these characters have moved on and are turning over a new leaf so must the audience, accepting that everything has an end. The Russo Brothers have succeeded in producing a monumental achievement in film making, taking over a decade, 22 films, and dozens of characters audiences get to experience a film that somehow combines everything and concludes everything simultaneously. If anything can be learnt from the Russo Brothers, it’s that their passion for these characters is the sole reason Avengers: Endgame stands as one of Marvel’s greatest achievements.
Tying together 11 years of cinematic history into a single 3 hour epic – this concluding film is an ode to those that forged the franchise; a fantastically structured narrative combining the best elements of every MCU film into one final chapter.