Eleven years in the making, Avengers: Endgame is the finale to Marvel’s epic cinematic universe, one which has consistently broken box office records and won vast critical praise, combining its blockbuster might with the delicate storytelling and sociocultural consciousness of auteur-led cinema. It is unequivocally the series’ crowning achievement.
It’s been 21 days since Thanos snapped his infinity gauntlet-clad fingers, evaporating half of all living beings to ash. Such massive existential trauma lays the groundwork for an initially sombre tone, the Avengers wallowing in despair. But once the tragic effects of Avengers: Infinity War have been explored, Endgame establishes its own story, one appropriately saturated with action set pieces while never ignoring vital and deep character development.
Unlike other ensemble pieces within the genre, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely’s screenplay is precisely paced. Each character – and there are a lot of them – is given the perfect amount of screen time. Markus and McFeely know exactly where to subvert natural expectations; thus, while plot twists consistently surprise, they never feel shoehorned. And despite the largely existential themes explored – death, sacrifice, individual meaning – they find balance for the trademark quips and signature humour which have come to define the series.
The MVP of the ensemble is Robert Downey Jr., who puts in the best performance of his career as Tony Stark, aided by a gorgeous script which gives his stony-faced character an edge of sensitivity, upholding an already cathartic climax. And let’s be clear here: Avengers: Endgame is saturated with catharsis. You’ll come away weeping.
Style and content almost perfectly coalesce in Endgame, combining a well-structured narrative and rich characterisation with grand set pieces. This epic close to the biggest cultural phenomenon of our time is a resounding triumph for Kevin Feige, the Russo brothers, and Marvel Studios.
CAST: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Brie Larson, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Josh Brolin
DIRECTORS: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
WRITERS: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
SYNOPSIS: After the devastating events of Infinity War, the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to undo Thanos’ actions and restore order to the universe.