REVIEW: “Endgame” the perfect conclusion to the MCU as we know it

After over a decade of watching the 21 films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, building relationships with its characters, and looking forward to the next movie, fans flocked to the multiplex so that Marvel could tip up the series with Avengers: Endgame, and after a screen time of just over three hours, audiences everywhere will be leaving the theaters with a heavy heart and a bittersweet feeling.

Waiting a year to see the aftermath from Thanos’ snap was well worth the wait. The remaining Avengers begin their difficult journey of recovering what was lost and almost lose themselves in the process.

In the five years that have passed since Thanos’ universe-ending snap, the characters that brought audiences back to the theaters last weekend have certainly gone through some changes, and some perhaps not for the better. Black Widow leads a ragtag collection of remaining Avengers, her driving force being the resurrection of all those millions that have been lost. Thor, meanwhile, has sunken into an almost comedic depression, bemoaning his inability to “go for the head” last time. Tony Stark has moved on from the event and began a life of his own while Captain America reaches out to others for support, not ready to let go of his past.

Thanos’ snap has left many fans mourning the loss of heroes, such as Spiderman, Black Panther, Dr. Strange, and more. Infinity War left viewers feeling hopeless and confused over the devastating cliffhanger, but more importantly, excited to see what comes next from the Russo Brothers.

From the eleven years of entertainment that Marvel films have provided fans through their interconnected plots and never-ending challenges, Endgame is able to bring fans closure, and the film gives just about every character the appropriate amount of screen time to do so.

What was a victory on behalf of MCU was allowing the focus of the plot to fall onto the remaining Avengers, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, Widow, and Hawkeye. The film brought back nostalgia from the first Avengers in 2012, and this was a good attempt to pay homage to the characters that many know and love.

What was a let down in this film was Thor’s portrayal. Instead of closing the Avengers series with the Thor fans remember, writers depicted Thor as a washed up version of the hero he once was. It is obvious that Thor has lost hope and fallen into abasement; however, it was a disappointment to see him in this state during the final film, where the heroes are supposed to be illustrated in their absolute element.

This backwards development of Thor does beg the question is his appearance in Marvel films is over, and after failing to see him progress after Infinity War, it is possible that there is more in store for Thor in the near future.

Unlike past Marvel films, Endgame wasn’t filled from start to finish with action-packed sequences and flashy special effects. While of course there were enough battle scenes to make it an Avengers film, it instead centered around the journey that the surviving individuals take to recover what was lost and their developments along the way. This change allowed the film to fully get to know each character before saying goodbye (which of course makes it so much harder to do.)

With that being said, the few battle scenes were some of the most impactful and powerful scenes of the movie, and it was nothing short of climactic. The Russo brothers never fail to create action sequences that almost make it feel as if the audience is there fighting alongside the Avengers. Stunning effects, camera angles, and rousing dialogue plus the symbolic Avengers theme song creates an energized atmosphere in theatres and overall contributes to the movie’s significance as a close to the series.

Cinematographer Trent Opaloch has worked with previous Marvel films in the past such as, Captain America: Civil War (2014), Captain America: Winter Soldier (2016), and Avengers: Infinity War (2018). His stamp is recognizable on screens while viewing Endgame, as dark hues are contrasted with vivid, brilliant colors from outer space, explosions, and the heroes themselves. His cinematography adds to the ambiance of the ultimate intergalactic battle that is unavoidable.

Fans of the previous Marvel films will appreciate the perfect blend of humor and action throughout the film. The movie’s plot — without going into great detail — may take characters in directions that weren’t entirely expected, but these developments don’t detract from the ultimate purpose of the film, which is all about allowing the audience to say goodbye.

There are moments where viewers will laugh, will cry, and will cheer, but there is absolutely no doubt that this final film takes the cake as one of the strongest MCU films so far. Marvel was able to perfectly incorporate humor scenes where seemingly all hope is lost and give audiences fight sequences that they’ll likely never forget, all while tying up the 10 year series into one perfect and utterly unforgettable ending.

Hollywood and Marvel have already begun reporting what lies in wait for the MCU next — details that would spoil Endgame if provided here — but even the next chapter of the MCU has fans wondering what they will do without being able to see this particular roster of heroes together ever again.

Kate Peplowski is a pop culture critic for Oswego East’s online news magazine the Howl

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