MOVIE REVIEW | “Avengers: Endgame”

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It’s been twenty-two films over more than a decade in the making, but we’ve finally reached the culmination of the first phase of the Marvel Comics Cinematic Universe.

This is the fourth film directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, and their experience in the MCU goes a long way toward making the script (by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely) work.

You don’t have to have watched the other films to enjoy this balance of human interest and eye-popping action, and its sweeping sense of the epic, often within the same scene.

Endgame gives the most attention to the heroes that built the franchise: Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and the recently returned Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), who all get plenty of moments to shine.

Untitled2It picks up shortly after the end of “Infinity War,” with the survivors picking up the pieces after Thanos (Josh Brolin) has wiped out half of the universe.

Some characters have moved on, ready to put their days of being superheroes behind, while others are still trying to find a way to reverse the damage done by Thanos’ Snap (a quantum time-warp barrier … yes, think Back to the Future).

The opportunity to perhaps avenge the fallen arrives in the form of Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), sending our heroes on a quest to right the wrongs of the past. These warriors and friends are battling for all of humanity, after all.

The sometimes grave and serious tone is deftly balanced with ample moments of comedic relief. Some laughs are “inside jokes” you won’t be able to get without having been a loyal and observant fan over the years, but it’s not distracting.

The entire audience should bring their tissues for the more poignant, reflective moments between the tenacious crew on how they made it to this point (and the paths they’re compelled to forge now).

Rare for a superhero movie: For once it feels like a conclusion instead of a continuation! Not everyone can survive, there’s just too many characters; yet I don’t feel disappointed in any aspect of enjoying this epic saga.

Avengers: Endgame” is rated PG-13 and runs 182 minutes.


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