Updated: Sep 6, 2019
Well, everyone...this is it.
The culmination of not one, not two, not seven, but a whopping twenty-one movies that, at some point or another, played a role in shaping up an entire universe and the events as they would've followed in this film.
Behold, Avengers: Endgame.
Picking up where Infinity War left off, the remaining superheroes still surviving on Earth after what I would call "the snap heard around the world" went into effect, were left to contemplate over this unspeakable tragedy, mourning the loss of their loved ones and unsure of whether or not they can undo the damage Thanos' snap left behind. Five years later, a man named Scott Lang, or, as he may be more well-known, Ant-Man, was released after being stuck in the Quantum Realm – it's a long story – and after reuniting with the remaining Avengers (Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Rocket, Nebula, and War Machine), they get together to use the Quantum Machine that Scott was stuck in to travel back too certain sections in time. The plan was to spread out and search for the Infinity Stones before they ended up in Thanos' hands. This resulted in them going back to certain sections of the past as they would've played out in the past Marvel movies: New York City in 2012 (during the first Avengers), Morag and Vormir in 2014 (during the first Guardians of the Galaxy), and Asgard in 2013 (during Thor: The Dark World).
All of the Avengers' adventures in these moments in time led to some pretty humorous moments, such as Captain America confronting himself, some touching moments, including one where Thor relished in his old home of Asgard and even managed to speak with his then-deceased mother, and even some heartbreaking moments (I'll get to that later).
And let's not forget some suspenseful moments; when Nebula was came close to finding one of the Infinity Stones she sought after, her cyborg systems started to act up and synchronize with the cyborg system of the Nebula from 2014, resulting in holograms from the present Nebula's memory being projected through the 2014 Nebula in front of the Thanos from the past. From that realization on, 2014 Thanos became more and more aware of the Avengers' pursuits for the Infinity Stones, and it started to set the stage – unintentionally so – for the avengers' next confrontation with Thanos, which would this time have decided the ultimate fate of the universe itself.
The first thing I will say is that unlike Infinity War, where it spent of lot of time fleshing out Thanos, in this this film, he seemed a little sidelined, which I kept thinking may have hurt him a little. But, the more I thought about it, I felt like him having a slightly lesser role in this movie not only didn't hurt him at all, since we got to know him pretty well in the last movie, anyway, but it was necessary for the spotlight to be shown on the Avengers where it should be, especially since they were still reeling in from Thanos' infamous snap. Not only that, but in the scenes where Thanos was at his most prominent, he also showcased just how intimidating and threatening he could become, even compared to Infinity War, adding to the suspense and grandeur of the heroes' showdown with him.
I personally found it so interesting to see how the remaining Avengers were going to get along after dealing with such a traumatic experience as well as during the mission. Tony Stark, for instance, not only married Pepper potters, but they even had a daughter named Morgan. And because of the guilt he felt over losing his student, Peter Parker, from the snap, as well his initial reluctance to prove the logicality of time travel, he was understandably hesitant to partake in the mission to collect the Infinity Stones.
One of the more poignant post-snap overviews, however, was on Clint, AKA Hawkeye. He was just enjoying casual activities with his family, and the next thing he knew, they disintegrated, leaving him all alone. In the five years that followed, he became a rogue assassin named Ronin, who roamed the Earth leaving criminals dead behind him. It wasn't until Natasha, AKA Black Widow, spotted him in Tokyo, as she talked him out of his vigilante actions and convinced him to rejoin her and the Avengers for the mission.
I was also amazed by what happened to Nebula. She grew stronger and stronger as a character as she went through with the mission, and her unintentional run-in with her past self led to some very powerful and human moments. If you've seen Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, you remember how Gamora tried to help Nebula with her problems and became the sister Nebula always wanted? This time, the tables have turned; it was Nebula's turn to be the sister that Gamora always wanted. What made this more potent was that the Gamora that Nebula spoke with was pre-Guardians of the galaxy, at a time when Gamora was still, just like Ronin, a rogue assassin. And after seeing the other Guardians of the Galaxy movies, toy would've noticed that Nebula was trying to pull Gamora out of the darkness with what the reformed Gamora used to pull Nebula out. Talk about coming full circle!
Frankly, Ant-Man had a much larger contribution to the team that I thought he would have. It helped that he still had the Quantum machine to travel back too certain points in time its, and it really helped shape up the rest of the movie. Not only that, but Paul Rudd's acting here is just terrific. After seeing an all-comedic actor playing an all-comedic character, it's impressive when you see him get into serious moods, because I found them quite convincing and solid.
In fact, you remember the list of required movies movies to watch before watching Infinity War from my review on it? While the list still stands, Ant-man's role in the movie convinced me to add both his movies to the list. In short...
The first three Avengers movies
The first two Guardians of the Galaxy movies
Captain America: Civil War
The first two Ant-Man movies
...are the movies to watch before launching into Endgame.
Also, I was a skosh disappointed we didn't get to see enough of Captain Marvel in Endgame. Don't get me wrong, every time she did something in the movie, it was really a sight to behold, but with all the power she had with her, you would think that she would've been the most formidable opponent for Thanos to deal with. Plus, her having her origin movie being released before Endgame was quite a lot of buildup for her role in this movie.
It was nice to see Tony Stark and Steve Rogers try to help each other through after the heated confrontations against each other they had to deal with back in Captain America: Civil War. It sure showed that in spite of their disagreements, they would still have looked each other in the eye to take care of whatever crisis they were confronted with. The five-year gap may also have had something to do with it; after all, as they say, time can heal wounds.
The other Avengers as they were were pretty cool, too. Rocket managed to stand on his own two feet when the other Guardians weren't around, Bruce Banner retaining both his intelligence as well as both the form and brawn of the Hulk was weird yet pretty awesome, and seeing Thor suddenly resemble the Big Lebowski in demeanor as well as appearance got a few chuckles out of me.
Oh, and this reminds me. Avengers: Endgame, for all its action-packed glory and epic scenarios, also came with some gut-wrenching moments, to the point where I even cried a couple of times throughout the movie. Part of the reason may be that because the stakes were raised so high here, some of the superheroes did actually die in their struggles to save the universe. I won't dare give away who dies here, but I might suggest that you get some tissues ready.
On the other hand, what I also won't dare reveal is what happened during the Avengers' confrontation with Thanos in the climax. All I can say is that it truly embraced the epic scope of both the movie and the entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and once you see it, you'll be left feeling like you've witnessed a miracle. The climax was that worthy of such a large-scale franchise as the MCU.
I personally should have to applaud Endgame for doing everything i could have to bring proper closure to what the first Iron Man started eleven years ago. It brought closure to the stories of many of the movies as well as to many of the characters, while still leaving others with enough open-endedness to assure us that while this may be the end of an era, a new one is still just around the corner. Because of this, I am super stoked to see what the future of the MCU might bring, and until I get there starting with Spider-Man: Far from Home, I am glad to see Avengers: Endgame take every possible advantage to become the climactic finale movie that the MCU fans deserved. As Erik Davis nicely put it:
If Infinity War is the brawn, Endgame is the brains.
What else can I say? Avengers: Endgame was MARVELous in every meaning of the word.
Infinity War: A strong B+
Endgame: A strong A-
Before I saw the movie, I was obviously excited to see it, but I also wanted to make sure that I wasn't spoiled about it, as even the promos for Endgame strongly encouraged. In doing so, however, I noticed one or two trolls using the spoiler-free sections of the message boards to post spoilers for the movie, which I myself was subject to, even if it was just for a fraction of a second. I mean, wow, guys! Is keeping everything about the movie to yourself until you let them see it for themselves really so hard to do now?
Because I was so blown away by the movie the first time I saw it, to the point where even the spoilers I saw didn't seem to ruin that much for me, thank God, I felt tempted to give the movie another viewing. I did just that, and not only was the movie just as amazing as the last time I saw it, but I found it interesting exactly how I've watched Endgame so far, as of this writing. The first viewing was in 3D at the local large theaters, and the second time was in the classic way: at the local drive-in theater. What an experience that was!