“I am Iron Man.” These four words defined Tony Stark at the end of 2008s Iron Man, a film that not only began the MCU but also started Tony Stark on the pathway to redemption. Redemption necessitated by years of building arms and apathy over where those arms ended up. At the end of Iron Man Tony Stark had begun his path from billionaire playboy to hero. Over the course of eleven years and 22 movies that evolution culminated in Avengers: Endgame with that simple declaration of “I am Iron Man” and Tony’s path to Hero was finally solidified for all of eternity, and it left this reviewer an emotional mess.
Avengers: Endgame is finally here. After months (if not years) of anticipation the world finally is able to witness the masterpiece that is the culmination of the last eleven years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and in a word the movie is brilliant! The Russo Brothers have turned in another gem of the MCU and somehow in the day and age of the internet and rampant speculation on social media to surprise the majority of the audience and deliver a completely satisfying conclusion to this era of the MCU. Although not a perfect film, the flaws are minor in my opinion other than the continued white washing of the Ancient One, which I still find to be in incredibly poor taste. I can dismiss the fact this movie doesn’t happen unless a rat accidentally saves Scott Lang or that I still don’t know what Thanos’ double bladed sword is made of as it can destroy Vibramium without sustaining any damage. I can’t even begin on the time paradoxes created within Endgame… but thankfully I don’t have to care since it’s not pertinent to enjoying this film, which everyone hopefully will.
Avengers: Endgame is a movie without equal in the superhero genre. Avengers: Endgame is several styles of movies rolled into one. It is of course an action/adventure film but it is also a heist movie, and is capped off by nothing less than a war film yet also includes a perfect level of comedy and it is dripping in love of family and friends. The movie opens with the soul crushing moment of the Snap from Avengers: Infinity War, but rather then relive the actual snap the audience sees the ramifications through the eyes of Clint Barton, Hawkeye, whose family disappears in a manner that he has no idea what has happened to them and it sets him on a path of anger, very dark and violent anger. The story then jumps to Tony and Nebula, who hotwired the Guardian’s ship on Titan for one desperate attempt to get back to earth but failed, just like they did in stopping Thanos. Luckily in the end credit scene from March’s Captain Marvel Carol Danvers has returned to Earth and luckily for Tony and Nebula she knows where to look for them and a last minute rescue can be made just before an even quicker trip to ‘The Garden’ for a confrontation with Thanos. This conformation escalates quickly before it ends with Thor finally aiming for the head. Yet even though it may have been a cathartic act, it does nothing to remedy the dilemma facing the Avengers, that half of life in the universe has been wiped from existence. A dilemma that they will have to live with for five years.
Anyone expecting for Avengers: Endgame to fix the universe quickly in the wake of Avengers: Infinity War were is for a rude surprise as there will be no quick fix here. As the Five Years Later appeared on the screen I felt my heart begin to race. From the global garbage pile the world had become to the support groups of people who are struggling to move on. It was a sad state of affairs, but luckily not everything for the Disappeared was destroyed and thank goodness that not every rat was destroyed, since Avengers: Endgame doesn’t happen if that damn rat doesn’t happen to kick on the Quantum Tunnel located in Scott Lang’s van and releases him from the Quantum Realm five years after being trapped in it after the events of Ant Man & the Wasp, but to Scott it has only been five hours. This leads to the second act of the film, the perfectly named Time Heist.
The second act is a march down memory lane as the recombined Avengers must travel back through their own time lines to retrieve the Infinity Stones to create their own Infinity Gauntlet and undo the Snap. In classic comics fashion the teams break into smaller units and go after their designated stone located in the timelines of the Avengers, Thor: the Dark World, and the Guardians of the Galaxy. Some of the Time Heist is hysterical while others are tragic, including the gut-wrenching moment to gain the Soul Stone by Hawkeye and Black Widow, which definitely ends Black Widow’s Red in her Ledger. Tony and Steve’s side jump to the ‘70s was fun and fitting for where these two iconic characters began and now end. The Time Heist also clears up, for me anyway, why Nebula was kept around after the Snap from Avengers: Infinity War. Unfortunately this part of the movie returns the white washed Ancient One, an MCU character I could have done without seeing again. Other than that the Time Heist does give the movie some of its best one liners and comedic moments as well as sets up a brutal third act and a battle of epic proportions.
The final hour of Avengers: Endgame destroyed me emotionally. It had everything I ever wanted in a super hero film, from great action sequences to impressive fights, and the return of so many incredibly iconic heroes who all finally appear on the screen together. Somehow the Russos make sure every MCU hero gets a moment to shine and not one of the moments feels forced. It’s full of incredibly heartwarming reunions but the march to the end is doused in sadness as we reach that fateful Snap and an ending eleven years in the making. I’ve seen the movie three times at this point and knowing the outcome does nothing to lessen the impact. The Coda of the film puts a wonderful bow on the entire MCU to this point but leaves many a door open that I cannot wait to see what comes next and even though I am sad that this Saga has ended I cannot wait to see what Marvel Studios has for us next!