Avengers: Endgame and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker were arguably 2019’s most anticipated movies. While we have a long wait left for the Skywalker saga to wrap up, the sequel to last year’s Infinity War is here now, and breaking box office records left and right. Does it live up to last year’s excellent first part of the story?
The short answer is a resounding yes – Endgame is just as thrilling, emotional and funny as Infinity War was. Directorial duo Anthony and Joe Russo take their time though, as Endgame starts off relatively slow-paced. It sets a somber and post-apocalyptic mood, picking up where the last movie left off. Amidst feelings of sadness and defeat, revenge seems like the only option for the remaining Avengers – and they take it out on Thanos after finding him rather quickly.
The plot then fast forwards five years, but revenge has done little to mend a broken world. Queue the biggest driving force behind Endgame’s narrative: time travel. Combining Scott Lang (Ant-Man)’s insights with those of Tony Stark, the technology is developed and serves as a vehicle that turns the movie into a bit of an anthology of everything Avengers. It allows the team to re-visit scenes from previous movies and relive them from a different perspective. It also allows for the return of characters who we previously lost, including those who vanished at the end of Infinity War but also a few we haven’t seen since about “half a dozen Marvel movies ago”. In other words, tons of fan service – although that also means that you might feel a little lost if you’ve been a bit more selective about your superhero movies.
But as the Avengers attempt to go back and stop Thanos’ master plan before it happens, the version of Thanos from the past also stumbles upon this new reality and potential threat – and re-introduces himself to the plot, ultimately culminating in an epic confrontation between his own forces and just about an entire Marvel universe worth of superheroes combined.
There is plenty of drama to experience on the ride to get there though – as the movie starts off with hopeless and misguided Avengers who slowly regain hope, only to be faced with tough moral choices that even include self-sacrifice. While the movie starts off very dark, there’s also plenty of light-hearted humor here – ultimately creating a tone not too unlike that of the first movie.
Ultimately though, Avengers: Endgame is also a bit of a sendoff for some of the series’ most iconic characters. If you’ve managed to avoid spoilers thus far then I won’t ruin anything for you here, but three characters in specific stand out and they are receive different endings to their story arcs – ranging from sad to heartwarming. Partly because of this, Endgame succeeds where Infinity War did too – in blending adrenaline-filled action with dramatic and personal storytelling. It might have a three hour runtime, but I can’t wait to watch both movies back to back once Endgame releases on BluRay in a few months.