After 11 years, 22 films, massive amounts of superhero character building, world and universe building, we are met with potentially the most epic superhero movie of all time. After watching 3 hours of an epic tale filled with humor, emotion, and nostalgia, I was in awe of the entire saga as the infinity story line and Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) came to a close. Avengers: Endgame was simply amazing!
This review will talk about major spoilers! So if you’re planning on seeing it next week, then please do not read any further. If you thought Avengers: Infinity War was a juggernaut, well then Avengers: Endgame is its god. This film has already made over $1.2 Billion worldwide during it’s first weekend, which makes it the highest box office opening weekend of all time. Avengers: Endgame is already the highest grossing film of 2019. Avengers: Infinity War comes in second, with a grossing of $640 million on the same weekend last year. Avengers: Endgame is on its way of becoming the highest grossing film of all-time. Will it surpass Avatar? Let’s fly into this review.
Avengers: Endgame begins by showing us how Thanos’ snap has affected the surviving members of the Avengers team. It’s been roughly a month after the events of Infinity War. To recall from Infinity War, the Mad Titan, Thanos accomplished his crusade of claiming all six infinity stones on the gauntlet and snapping his fingers to extinguish half of all life in the universe, which included half of all species, creatures, humans, aliens, etc. In doing so, characters who were targeted in the snap were whisked away into dust. We first see Clint Barton (aka Hawkeye) experience his family vanishing, then we see Tony Stark (Iron Man) and Nebula drifting into space with a spacecraft losing its oxygen after leaving a difficult defeat to Thanos behind his planet of Titan. We see Steve Rogers (Captain America), Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow), James Rhodes (War Machine), Thor Odinson, Rocket, and Bruce Banner at the Avengers headquarters trying to find a way to track Thanos as a way to avenge the fallen.
In deep space, after Tony Stark creates a bond with Nebula and records a seemingly final recording, they are saved by Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel), who retrieves their dying vessel and returns them safely to the rest of the team. In a post credit scene from the movie Captain Marvel, Ms. Danvers receives the stress call from Nick Fury during the snap right before he turns to ash. Captain Marvel shows up to the Avengers doorstep and I presume that Black Widow and Captain America then send her to retrieve Iron Man and Nebula.
Quickly the crew put their minds together and locate the planet that an injured Thanos is retiring at. We then see Thanos attending to crops on a fully vegetated farm, his armor hanging on a stick like a scarecrow. He quickly gets ambushed by the remaining Avengers. Thor cuts off Thanos’ hand which had the gauntlet revealing no stones. Half of Thanos’ body seems to already be in decay, he’s got one ear, and is covered in scars. Thanos tells the group that he delivered on his destiny and nearly died by using the stones on the infinity gauntlet to destroy the stones so no one else could undo what he’s done. Immediately after, Thor decapitates Thanos’ head with his Stormbreaker axe. “I went for the head,” Thor recalls a phrase that Thanos told him prior in Avengers: Infinity War when Thor stabbed Thanos through the chest, but failed to kill him, causing him to snap his finger with the gauntlet hand. This was such a shocking moment in the theater as I did not know they’d kill off Thanos so quickly. However, don’t be deceived. Way to subvert our expectations Russo Brothers.
Five years pass and Scott Lang (Ant-Man) miraculously comes out of the quantum realm (during the end of Ant-Man and the Wasp is when he enters the realm only to be trapped due to the snap killing Hope Van Dyne, Hank Pym, and Janet Van Dyne) wondering what happened and why his child daughter is now a teenager. Ant-Man makes it back to the Avengers where he tells them about the quantum realm and how after five years he only spent five hours alone. After some several convincing and quantum science from Smart Hulk, the team finds a way to create a time machine.
In the five years passed, Bruce Banner managed to find a way to conjoin his conscious brain with Hulk’s brawn creating a highly intelligent and green monster hybrid. Think of Beast from the X-Men, but without the British accent. Smart Hulk and Rocket go and find Thor in the new home of Asgard somewhere in Scotland where Thor has gained a substantial amount of weight drinking himself away while eating pizza and playing the popular online video game, Fortnite with Korg and Miek (Introduced in Thor: Ragnorak). It is revealed that also Valkyrie has survived the snap and seems frustrated with the fact that Thor has become a drunken fool. Captain America seems to be running a peer support group for veterans or men with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He’s beginning to move on. Black Widow has a mission of her own to find her old pal, Hawkeye. For the passed five years, Hawkeye, now with the alias Ronin, has become a vigilante by fighting crime in the dirty streets of Tokyo. Black Widow finds Ronin just murdering a thug and recruits him for this mission. Captain Marvel got a new haircut as she is far away in another part of the galaxy, Okoye is looking over the remains of Wakanda, and Rocket and Nebula have been going on separate missions themselves. They nearly all come back to the Avengers headquarters for a reunion to go back into different time zones using the quantum realm to steal the six infinity stones before Thanos could get his hands on any of them. Then once they have the stones in possession, in their time, they will undo the snap and bring the other half of life in the universe back to existence. Rhodes and Lang try to compare their time heist mission to Back to the Future Part II, Quantum Leap, Timecop, The Terminator, and Hot Tub Time Machine. Banner dismisses that films always misinterpret time travel. So after some character building and laughs, this time heist/revenge tale takes off.
Hulk, Iron Man, Ant-Man, and Captain America go back to New York City during the first Avengers battle against Loki and the Chitauri army in 2012 to try and retrieve the Space Stone from the Tesseract, the Time Stone from Dr. Strange (Stephen Strange), and the Mind Stone from Tony Stark. Thor and Rocket visit Asgard before the raid by the Dark Elves in 2013 to retrieve the Reality Stone from Jane Foster, Thor’s former girlfriend. Meanwhile, Black Widow, Hawkeye/Ronin, Nebula, and War Machine travel to the year 2014 to retrieve the Soul and Power Stones. War Machine and Nebula stay on the planet Morag to retrieve the Power Stone before Peter Quill (Star-Lord) could loot the artifact. Black Widow and Hawkeye head to the planet Vormir to grab the Soul Stone.
Unfortunately, not everything goes as planned. Iron Man loses the Tesseract during a scuffle between members of Hydra (formerly known as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents) in which Loki winds up taking it and transports himself to an unknown location. Captain America had to beat up his younger self to get the Mind Stone, and the Hulk encounters the Ancient One at the rooftop of the Sanctum Sanctorum who tells him that she won’t meet Dr. Strange for another five years. The Ancient One warns Banner about the perils that could come with tampering with different time alternative realities. After some convincing, the Ancient One hands over the Time Stone once the Hulk reveals that this was all a plan from Dr. Strange himself. Also, they lose Pym Particles that would enable them to travel back to their time through the quantum wormhole. While on an elevator with S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and Crossbones, Captain America makes an Easter egg joke to retrieve the Mind Stone when he whispers in their ear, “Hail Hydra”. In a recent comic issue, it is thought that Captain America becomes a super villain donning the new name and suit of Captain Hydra as he says, “Hail Hydra”. Even though it is discovered in a later issue that he was going undercover as a Hydra operative to infiltrate the villains.
Knowing that his mother it set to die soon in this moment of time, Thor has a heart to heart conversation with his mother (Frigga) who suspects that he’s from the future. Meanwhile, Rocket retrieves the reality stone from Thor’s ex-lover through his stunning ways (stun device). Thor calls back his old hammer, Mjolnir. He is still worthy.
War Machine and Nebula successfully knock out Star-Lord to retrieve the Power Stone, but in doing so Nebula gets entangled with her former self, Gamora, and Thanos as the younger versions begin to discover the plans of these Avengers from the future. Nebula fails to crossover back in her time and is held prisoner by her younger self, Gamora, and Thanos. When Black Widow and Hawkeye enter Vormir, they encounter a ghoulish looking Red Skull who tells them that one of them has to make a sacrifice of jumping off the cliff in order to retrieve the Soul Stone. There is a fight between which of the two would take the fall for the lives of zillions. This is where we get our first Avengers death of this movie: Black Widow.
As Captain America steals a set of Pym Particles from an old S.H.I.E.L.D. base from 1970 to return home, Tony Stark snatches the Tesseract and reignites with his father, Howard Stark, who is alive and much younger. The two have an interesting conversation. This is where we also get our final cameo from the incredible and late Stan Lee. Rest in peace.
The two Avenger leaders are successful and return to the Avengers headquarters along with Hawkeye, War Machine, Nebula, Thor, Rocket, Ant-Man, and the Hulk. Hawkeye tells them the horrible news of Romanoff’s death. Tony Stark creates a mock Infinity Gauntlet to place the stones. Bruce Banner decides to do the snap since he is the strongest Avenger and the power emanating from the stones are gamma like him. Everyone shields themselves from the blast. Hulk performs the snap and nearly kills himself while doing so.
They all begin to notice signs of the other lifeforms returning. Hawkeye receives a call from his formerly disintegrated wife. All seems fair and dandy until, Nebula (who is actually the younger evil version, sets a beckon for Thanos, his spacecraft and his army to invade Earth). Thanos arrives and annihilates the Avengers safe house. Through desperation, Hawkeye hands off the Infinity Gauntlet to Nebula not knowing she’s an evil version. Luckily, Gamora and the good Nebula arrive to stop the bad Nebula. Ant-Man, the Hulk, and War Machine are trapped under the rubble and debris.
Meanwhile, Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor have an amazing showdown with Thanos among the recent destruction. From Thanos seeing the future recording of his inevitable death, he recalls the condescending tone about bringing balance to the universe. He quickly denounces this former claim and decides that he’d rather destroy Earth and recreate a race of species who will bow down to him after he gets a hold of the gauntlet. This is when he learn that Thanos must go. It’s either the Avengers kill him or die trying. And try they do.
We learn quickly that Thanos is super powerful even without the gauntlet and that Captain America is worthy to wield Thor’s hammers! We see Captain America going at it against Thanos with Mjolnir and his shield, Thor with Stormbreaker, and Iron Man with his plasma beams. The three still seem no match against the Mad Titan. We have a super epic fight with amazing special effects. After the fight ends on a draw, Thanos calls upon his army, the Children of Thanos along with the Black Order who consist of Ebony Maw (Squidward), Proxima Midnight, Corvus Glaive, and Black Dwarf.
All hope seems lost as the few remaining Avengers stand ready to die against Thanos and his horde when all of a sudden an army of Avengers come passing through a countless number of orange glowing portals set by Dr. Strange and Wong. We have the most unbelievable setup to a battle, Ant-Man becoming giant size growing nearly 100 feet in the air, Hulk and War Machine crawling out of the wreckage along with Nebula, Gamora, and Hawkeye, the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy arriving (Star-Lord, Drax, Groot, and Mantis), Black Panther (King T’Challa), Okoye, and Shuri arriving on the battlefield and bringing along with them the Wakandan army, Spider-Man, Dr. Strange and Wong, Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff), Valkyrie, Pepper Potts in an Iron suit, Falcon (Sam Wilson), Winter Soldier (Bucky Barnes), Wasp (Hope Van Dyne), and Captain Marvel. Star-Lord reunites with Gamora at a very awkward time before this version of Gamora met and fell in love with Star-Lord. She kicks him in the balls instead, ouch.
In what can be described as the most awe-inspiring and satisfying experience I’ve ever had watching a film on the big screen, we see the greatest battle of good vs. evil. I won’t go into the specifics, but it’s extremely epic. Through characters reuniting and trying to keep the infinity gauntlet away from Thanos, Thanos still acquires the gauntlet. He attempts to snap his fingers this time, but fails due to Iron Man collecting the stones and placing them on a mock gauntlet Stark made for his Mark 85 suit. Iron Man looks at Dr. Strange to get reassurance if his next decision will be the one and only way they will defeat Thanos. Dr. Strange puts up one finger. In Avengers: Infinity War, Dr. Strange uses the Time Stone to determine 14,000,605 different outcomes of their attempts to stop Thanos. Dr. Strange mentions where there is only one outcome in which they win. Back in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Scarlet Witch shows Tony Stark of a possible, but grim future outcome for the Avengers. Had Dr. Strange not warned Stark about the complexities of these alternative futures and its one victory, it is likely that their future would have ended in the demise of all the Avengers and the continued terrors of Thanos’ blitzkrieg cosmic reign. With that, Iron Man snaps his fingers with the new gauntlet. Thanos’ army turns to dust, then lastly, we see Thanos crumbling away to ash. The power of the snap is so strong that it weakens Iron Man in the process. Tony Stark then dies from his wounds as he bids a farewell. Yes, Tony Stark, the one who began the MCU has now died. His comrades and family mourn his death during his funeral. We even see that Nick Fury and Maria Hill from S.H.I.E.L.D. are back. Tony Stark aka Iron Man has gone full circle and completed his story arc as making the ultimate hero sacrifice to save the universe.
Ant-Man and Hulk send Captain America through the quantum realm so he could safely put back all infinity stones from their places of origin. He comes back as an older man, preferably in his 80’s sitting by the water. During Steve Roger’s time in the past he decided to spend years with his former and only lover Agent Peggy Carter. His returning means he is done with being Captain America and passes on the mantle to Sam Wilson (now formerly Falcon). Thor goes back to Scotland and hands over his title as ruler of Asgard over to Valkyrie. Thor then decides to jump ship with the Guardians of the Galaxy. We see everyone, but Gamora. They’re searching for her as Thor and Peter Quill have their alpha male bickering session. Will we see Thor in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3? I hope so. Seems like a match made in heaven. I know that Spider-Man: Far From Home is coming out this July, we will get a Black Panther 2, a Dr. Strange 2, and possibly a Black Widow origin film. I’d love to see another Hulk movie, maybe with Ant-Man and the Wasp. Karen Gillan, who plays Nebula has stated several times that she wants to direct an all female Marvel movie. With Captain Marvel rumored to be at the helm of the MCU going forward with Phase 4 and one scene at the end battle which showcased the women of power in the Avengers, we may see an all girl Marvel movie.
As a child of the 90’s where the only action movies consisted of grown men with massive muscles spewing out one liners and viciously murdering their enemies, it is finally satisfying to see all of my favorite superheroes fighting together and alongside each other on the big screen. Never would I have imagined that this feet could be possible 20 years ago, but now I can say that that dream has finally arrived.
Avengers: Endgame has shown the ultimate scope of what the superhero sub-genre has become in today’s highly technological society. I never thought that I’d get so attached to these characters that I’ve committed myself to experience for over a decade. I knew that the Marvel Cinematic Universe was doing something special back in 2008 when the first Iron Man was released. To see where Tony Stark has gone since then and see his end was like the circle of life, from being a selfish playboy to the savior of existence.
The Russo Brothers deserve a medal for making some of the best films in the MCU between Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and now Avengers: Endgame. The film stars an ensemble cast of: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Karen Gillan, Paul Rudd, Don Cheadle, Brie Larson, Jeremy Renner, Benedict Cumberbatch, Zoe Saldana, Dania Gurira, Josh Brolin as Thanos, Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Evangeline Lilly, Tessa Thompson, Rene Russo, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jon Favreau, Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Wong, Chris Pratt, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Letitia Wright, John Slattery, Tilda Swinton, Hayley Atwell, Natalie Portman, Marisa Tomei, Taika Waititi as Korg, Angela Bassett, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, William Hurt, Cobie Smulders, Sean Gunn, Winston Duke, Linda Cardellini, Vin Diesel as Groot, Robert Redford, and Ross Marquand. There is no end credit scene, but an end credit sound of someone brandishing or sharpening an axe or sword. It could be Thor just making sure Stormbreaker is sharp enough or could be a hint of something else to come as we enter Phase 4 of the MCU. This epic saga of a film deserves a whopping 6 Infinity Stones out of 6 Infinity Stones. I’m sure if I attempted to nitpick things from this film I’d find some fault with it. But right now I’m riding high on the bandwagon. Avengers Assemble!
If you enjoyed this and would like to read more from Anthony, check out his novel ‘Stay Awhile’ on Amazon amazon.com/Stay-Awhile.