The Marvel Cinematic Universe has loomed large over pop culture over the past decade with 22 movies that dominated the box office and were, by-and-large, about as high of quality films as you could hope for in the superhero, smash and boom genre.
But now it’s all come down to this, “Avengers: Endgame,” the 22nd Marvel movie and maybe the most ambitious, has arrived to put a bow on the proceedings and give a fitting sendoff for some of the characters we’ve come to know and love over the past 10 years or so.
What’s most impressive is “Endgame” manages to tie in characters and events from all 21 previous movies and make them pay off in some way, shape or form (great news for all of you who still remember what happened in “Thor: The Dark World!”).
Of course, what everyone wants to know the most is what happened after “Avengers: Infinity War,” when purple, intergalactic baddie Thanos (Josh Brolin) got a bunch of magic space rocks and snapped his fingers, disintegrating half of all living creatures in the universe.
The focus of “Endgame” smartly returns to our original Avengers, who just so happened to not be snapped out of existence with much of their superhero brethren. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) have been on this ride since almost the beginning and, while they get help from several other not-dead heroes, they all get their times to shine in “Endgame.”
Of course, giving your due to so many characters and so many movies takes time and clocking in at three hours, “Endgame” doesn’t skimp as it definitely gives you your money’s worth.
Directors Joe and Anthony Russo make room amongst all this sprawl for plenty of laughs and well-earned emotional beats. The characters, not the special effects, are the heart and soul of “Endgame,” which is what makes you care about the inevitable visual, digital onslaught that pummels your senses at the end of the film.
There is a nice sense of finality here even though Marvel will go on with heroes like Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) ready to handle the spotlight for the next decade.
But, the Avengers as we know them will never reassemble and, in their wake, superhero movies will never be the same again.
“Avengers: Endgame” is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action and some language.
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