The culmination of the Marvel cinematic universe is, surprisingly, a thoughtful, poignant adventure that allows for its popular characters to feel and experience the human condition. It’s unexpectedly emotional and character-driven rather than action-driven. It’s the first Marvel movie of its kind.
“Avengers: Endgame” clocks in at a daunting three hours. Although, astonishingly, it makes a great case for its runtime during the first hour of the movie. Here is a movie that you expect to hit the ground running, that you expect CGI-fueled action scenes as soon as it starts. That’s not the case.
The first act of “Endgame” is patient. It allows its characters to do something other than fight and quip. We finally get to see these superheroes as real people with genuine grief. There’s a real sense of loss and depression as those who survived The Snap try to make sense of their new world.
Directors Anthony and Joe Russo provide time for characters like Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) to lament over the loss of Peter Parker; Thor (Chris Hemsworth) to become despondent after failing to kill Thanos when he had the chance; and Natasha Romanov (Black Widow) to reluctantly assume command of the Avengers even when all seems lost. We’ve never seen these characters like this. This respite from non-stop action gives these characters a depth that’s been missing until now.
As the plot gets going, it feels new and unexpected. There’s an inevitability when dealing with franchises that won’t necessarily ever end. Given Marvel’s already announced sequels of characters that were dusted by Thanos, we can safely assume that they’ll be “saved” at some point. But the way the script goes about it is genuinely exciting — to the point where you might find yourself lost in the story playing out before you.
One thing we must address is that Chris Hemsworth is honestly hilarious. His new take on Thor is wondrous to behold. Thor has secluded himself out of shame; become a drunkard without a purpose. The way Hemsworth plays this makes you wish that Marvel would immediately announce a dozen more depressed Thor movies.
“Endgame” feels like three separate movies compressed into one emotionally visual spectacle that works so well because it’s intimately acquainted with its characters. It’s a wondrous ride that feels completely different from the dozens of other movies that came before it.
But, those who are hungering for more superhero action won’t be disappointed. The third act of “Endgame” kicks into high fan-pleasing gear as the climax feels like it goes on for an hour. It’s a site to behold even if the CGI-laden battle doesn’t hold a candle to the intimacy of the first hour.
There’s something here for everyone. Because of its attention to detail and its acceptance that these characters have real feelings, “Endgame” becomes a multi-layered tale that will please and surprise all at the same time.