22 films in and the Marvel Cinematic Universe has arguably come up with its most emotionally impactful and cathartic film yet.
After the events of Avengers: Infinity War, the surviving heroes have to cope with the consequences of their devastating defeat, and try to restore some hope in undoing the actions of the Mad Titan, Thanos.
What becomes immediately apparent from just the opening minute of the film is the sombre mood that is created. The effects of Infinity War are respected, and dealt with the appropriate tone in the opening act.
It importantly gives the characters time to breathe and sets in motion specific developments that gain impetus later down the line.
There is such a sense of finality to the whole affair, which allows many opportunities for great character moments. This is combined well with points of fan-service which benefit the film instead of dragging it down.
Solid direction from the Russo Brothers
Whilst the Russo Brothers have sometimes been criticised for their lack of directorial flair, they helm the project with great finesse. The way in which they handle large groups of characters, as well as fluid action sequences, demonstrates their prowess.
Trent Opaloch’s cinematography is also frequently gorgeous, with some great use of contrast and lighting. This is particularly prevalent in the final 40 minutes.
Mention must also be made to Alan Silvestri’s brilliant score which captures the enormity of the narrative extremely well. Several leitmotifs from previous MCU films, such as Captain America: The First Avenger, are subtly weaved in. This music then evolves into several powerful new melodies.
The actors also give their all. In particular Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans provide the emotional core of the story. However, the performances from Jeremy Renner and Karen Gillan must also be noted. Hawkeye and Nebula have never been more interesting as characters thanks to their work here.
After all these positives, the film reaches its cathartic climax with the final battle. A spectacle of such enormity, both in terms of visuals and character, may never be put to screen this effectively again. It’s a thank you to all those who stuck with the franchise for the past 11 years, and it rewards those viewers brilliantly. It creates some genuine movie magic that you need to see in a cinema.
Some minor issues
With a narrative this thrilling, unfortunately some issue are going to arise. There are rather a lot of consistency issues and plotholes which may affect your enjoyment if you notice them. The second act also doesn’t hold up nearly as well as the first and third.
However, these are only small issues in what was a satisfying finale to the MCU as we currently know it. Critically, only Black Panther has received better scores. It has also already managed to gross an incredible $1.3 billion worldwide in just five days.
Undoubtedly, Avengers: Endgame will prove to be a cultural landmark in western cinema and will be discussed for many years to come.