Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Written by: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan, Danai Gurira, Bradley Cooper, Josh Brolin
Runtime: 181 min
The grave course of events set in motion by Thanos (Josh Brolin) that wiped out half the universe and fractured the Avengers ranks compels the remaining Avengers to take one final stand in Marvel Studios' grand conclusion to twenty-two films, Avengers: Endgame.
Don't worry. This is going to be a pretty vague review. Right now, as I'm writing this sentence, I'm still processing what I saw and how am I going to explain how I felt without spoiling a single tiny thing. First of all, it's such a mix of feelings. On one hand, I'm extremely happy that I was lucky to be alive during this epic time and that I was able to follow these characters that I love and care about so much. On the other hand, I'm obviously sad that it finally reached the end of this (hopefully) first incredible saga. There are no perfect films and one with so many heroes will always have struggles balancing it all (Infinity War already had this issue).
However, the Russo brothers did everything they could to deliver a phenomenal story, and they did. I don't think this could have been any better. Its last hour exceeds any expectations. It's epic, emotional, action-heavy, and it has one of my favorite shots in the entire history of cinema. It's pure magic, and the VFX team will surely get an Oscar for it. The action reminded me of the biggest Lord of the Rings' battles, and it was impeccably filmed, filled with riveting and chill-inducing sequences. Nevertheless, don't expect this high-intensity feeling throughout the whole runtime. The other two acts are a slow-burn build-up to a payoff that's going to make you pretty much either "love" or "like" this movie. I absolutely love it!
This is easily one of the best MCU films, if not my new number one. I can't deny that the 3-hour runtime has some unnecessary scenes, but even if they don't have a significant impact on the plot or even in the characters, they still contribute to the enormous build-up. Seeing this family that we grew up with just talking with each other or having lunch, at the same time that they deal with the consequences of Thanos' snap, is inexplicably captivating and heartwarming. Characters like Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) and Steve (Chris Evans) supporting each other is simply beautiful. Their comradery and chemistry are worthy of some tears here and there.
Some people didn't really enjoy Infinity War so much due to the lack of screentime that some characters had. This time around, there are fewer characters to work with, so the balance is better. Everyone gets an important role, from Captain America to Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) to Nebula (Karen Gillan), and even Rocket (Bradley Cooper). Every single character has a major moment. If you take one out of the movie, it just doesn't work anymore. This is not only great work from the directors, but also from the writers.
Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely are not even going to be remembered because fans will always think of the cast first. Most of them will also remember the directors. But the writers?! If I stand at the door of the theater at the end of the film and question everyone about who are the writers, I strongly believe most of the audience won't know. Every dialogue, every sentence, every word carries so much impact on the narrative. Literally, I cried and got chills just by hearing two freaking words with the perfect timing in between. The amount of grief that the words of the ones who've lost everyone and everything carry is palpable and, for me, those are the most emotional moments of the movie: seeing how everyone is suffering from their own losses, not the deaths themselves.
The humor is mostly on-point, but it's still connected to my only real issue with the film, which is the second act's tone. From the moment the team decides what to do, we already know that this is a 1 in 14 million chance of success like Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) said, so the stakes and pressure are massive! With this level of tension, I didn't expect such an “easygoing” and “funny” vibe throughout, except for one particular sequence. They do a great job once again of pairing up certain Avengers together, but most of them go through these too comedic plot points for such a crucial and serious mission. Fortunately, this act carries enough action and emotional drive to make this problem not that big of an issue.
Visually, this is arguably the best-looking superhero film ever. From the mind-blowing visual effects to the gorgeous cinematography, everything is perfect. The costumes are gritty and muddy when our heroes are in a battle, their faces are all filled with blood, and I have no words to describe how jaw-dropping that last act is. I can't wait to change my desktop wallpaper once THAT shot is available. I dropped a single tear just by looking at it. No one talks, no one does anything. It's just an amazingly beautiful image. The score is epic as hell. So much that I'm listening to it right now as I'm writing this review, and I'm getting chills all over my body.
I can't really write much more, to be honest. I will acknowledge the cast because they are brilliant. Each and every single member delivers an outstanding performance, but if I had to choose the ones that both surprised me and had the most impact on me, they would be Johansson's, Evans', and Robert Downey Jr's (Tony Stark / Iron Man). “New” characters like Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) blend seamlessly, and the payoff is unbelievably satisfying. In terms of predictability, it goes more or less as I expected, but it still carries a few surprises throughout. Nothing is ever like we imagine or theorize about, so expect the unexpected, and don't judge a movie by if it fits your crazy, unrealistic theories that never crossed the producers and directors' minds in the first place!
All in all, I don't know what to do now. The only thing I'm sure of is that I want to see it again, as soon as possible. The last hour is f*cking insane. I couldn't fall asleep properly because I couldn't stop thinking about it. Endgame surpasses all expectations. It's everything I wished for and so much more. I could easily spend a whole day at the movie theater and watch three sessions in a row. It's that good. One of the best comic-book films of all-time, without a single doubt. Thank you to Kevin Feige and everyone who worked hard to bring the MCU to where it stands now. I can't even think of how are they going to produce something at the level of Infinity Saga. Maybe they never will. Maybe we'll have to wait another decade or two for something like this. Until then, see you at the next Endgame screening! Enjoy! Oh and #DontSpoilTheEndgame!
PS: it's not a perfect movie, I know. It doesn't exist one. Yes, Endgame has some issues regarding its pacing and tone, but I would be lying to myself if this isn't everything I dreamed of. I felt the same way with Civil War, regarding the rating to give, and I ended up giving it an A after a first viewing. As soon as I watched the second time, I changed it to an A+. I don’t need to wait for that second viewing with Endgame … And thank you to my audience for being incredibly respectful. No yelling, no crazy laughs, no stupid people doing stupid stuff. Thank you so much for not ruining one of the best cinematic experiences of my life!