The year is 2008. One of the biggest gambles in cinematic history is playing in theaters right now, in the form of “Iron Man.” A film many were certain wouldn’t work. Yet, miraculously, it did. Not only did it work, it exploded, and kicked off one of the most interesting and important moments in the long history of movies: the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here we are in 2019, years later, concluding a story 11 years in the making. 11 years, 22 movies, and countless heroes have all lead up to this point, and boy, oh boy, does it pay off.
“Avengers: Endgame” picks up soon after the events of “Avengers: Infinity War,” with our remaining Avengers still reeling from their defeat at the hands of Thanos. Stunned at their loss, the Avengers must work together to attempt to undo the ramifications of Thanos’ victory. While that plot summary is brief, it is genuinely all I can put here without any spoilers. This film goes in wild directions that are not necessarily covered or even hinted at in the trailers. While I cannot go into detail, rest assured it is a nostalgia-filled, highly emotional romp, that revels in its own history, while still providing a competent and enjoyable story.
“Avengers: Endgame” takes it sweet time as it slowly wades through the waters of it’s rich ensemble of characters. Whereas previous Marvel films are fast paced adventures more comparable to a run, “Endgame” is a slow, slow walk. One that forces you to look at these characters who, without you realizing it, may have become mainstays of your cinematic experience. While it may be sad knowing this is probably the last film that will see all these characters together, it’s an incredibly satisfying conclusion, one that wraps each story with a neat little bow.
However, “Endgame’s” slow, nostalgic pace, may also be its biggest flaw. This is a three hour movie (3:02 to be exact), and if you are not ready for the first two of those hours to be slow, then “Endgame” isn’t for you. But despite its slow pacing, “Endgame” always does manage to be engaging, at least enough to get you to the last hour.
And what a last hour it is. As the last hour was projected onto the screen, I found it near impossible to tear my eyes away from the screen, an experience that I have learned was shared by many. If you have even an inkling of an idea about the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this 3rd act is absolutely golden. Every second is an explosion of raw, blockbuster energy, that simply does not stop. Genuinely, it could be one of the most incredible things ever put to screen, especially when put in context with the deep vault of previous Marvel movies. It is a triumph of a blockbuster ending. A conclusion so satisfying, it almost makes one wish that the Marvel Cinematic Universe would end here.
While these movies show no sign of stopping, “Endgame” feels like a fitting farewell to 11 years of history. In only two months or so, we’ll see the next “Spider-Man” movie, so one shouldn’t have to wait too long to see the next Marvel movie. But at the end of the day, this story ends here, and it’s a good ending to boot. While parts may feel slow, it is a slowness the film has earned over its 11 years of setup. As a moment in the history of cinema, a moment in the history of superheroes, and as a moment in its own little superhero universe, “Avengers: Endgame” is the goodbye this narrative deserved.