A Spoiler-Free Review of 'Avengers: Endgame'

It’s a moment 11 years in the making—after taking on HYDRA, Chitauri and a dozen other foes, the Earth’s greatest heroes face off against the Mad Titan, Thanos. Ever since the debut of Iron Man in 2008, moviegoers have had the distinct pleasure of watching Tony Stark, Captain America and Thor Odinson join forces against enemies foreign and domestic. So, if Endgame is considered the wrap-up of a decade of superhero films, how does it stack up?

I won’t spoil anything—trust me, you won’t want me to—but I’ll be sure to cover all the hits and misses as best as I can.

The Good—Payoff

I watched every single Marvel Cinematic Universe film over the course of April in preparation for Endgame, and going into the movie with all of that background knowledge made Endgame all the more satisfying. Nearly every plot thread that is brought up in the previous films comes back in some way, and there are scenes that mimic ones from earlier installments of the franchise. Honestly, this is a movie you’ll have to see a few times just to catch all of the small bits.

The Bad—Pacing

Infinity War, for all the trauma it caused us, definitely has better pacing than Endgame. The biggest fault in Endgame is definitely the inordinate amounts screen time some characters received compared to others. There were plenty of scenes that I wished had gone on longer, as well as scenes (usually featuring some of the original six Avengers) that I feel could have been shortened. The first half of the film in particular drags on for longer than necessary. There are plenty of bathroom break opportunities during the first hour, which is not necessarily a good thing. And then, once the action of the second half hits, there’s barely room to breathe, as scenes jump from character to character without much warning. It’s easy to get whiplash from all the sudden changes.

The Good—Emotion

Endgame begins just after the events of the previous film, meaning that emotions are high and stakes even higher. There’s so much raw realism in the performances, and the survivors of the Snap handle trauma in ways that are equal parts healthy and unhealthy. The movie is post-apocalyptic in some parts, particularly early on, and emotions stay high as the film continues. The plot twists—and there are quite a few—are especially intense. I’m pretty sure I got an ulcer or two before the film’s climax.

The Bad—Humor

While Endgame picks up right where Infinity War left off, in the midst of the decimation of half of life on Earth, there is still plenty of humor to be had. Sometimes the humor comes from unlikely sources, other times from standard comic relief characters. The problem is, for every joke that gets the audience rolling, there’s another that falls flat. Some of the witty comments are definitely forced, probably in an attempt to keep the film from being too depressing. There are a few jokes that are definitely going to get the meme treatment—if you’ve seen the movie, you know what I’m talking about. And no, Ant-Man doesn’t crawl into Thanos’ butt, so don’t even ask.

The Result—Satisfying

All I can say about Endgame without spoiling it is that the movie is perhaps the most satisfying film I’ve seen in a long time. My friend, a Star Wars and Harry Potter fan, said that it achieved a perfect balance of tying up loose ends and leaving some things up to interpretation, which even his other favorite films from the other franchises weren’t able to accomplish completely. Every callback, every inside joke, every reference hits hard. The experience is a bittersweet one, but it’s clearly a labor of love, dedicated to the fans who helped build such a strong following around the franchise. If you love superheroes as much as the next guy, this is the perfect film for you. Get out and see it while the theatres are still crowded—it’ll make the experience even better!