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Endgame completes series with star-studded cast

Avengers: Endgame marks the 11 year anniversary since Iron Man hit theaters back in 2008. The 22nd film concludes phase three in MCU.

Avengers: Endgame is the 22nd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and is directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, the brothers behind films Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War.

With 11 years of characters to pull from, Endgame stars an immense amount of actors, such as Chris Evans returning as Steve Rogers/Captain America, Scarlett Johansson returning as Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff, and Robert Downey Jr., the longest running member of the MCU returning as Iron Man/Tony Stark.

Fans of the MCU were left speechless after last year’s Avengers: Infinity War, as Thanos accomplished his goal of collecting all six of the infinity stones. With the snap of a finger, Thanos, portrayed once again by the menacing Josh Brolin, erased half of humanity from Earth including some fan-favorite characters such as Spiderman (Tom Holland), Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman).

After Infinity War ended, fans were eager to know exactly how the beloved Avengers was going to bring everyone back. This takes us to Avengers: Endgame, a long-anticipated movie that will finally wrap up 11 years of MCU movies.

Much like the title suggests, this film truly feels like the end, effortlessly tying in and concluding storylines from previous films. And adding so many fun call-backs to just about every MCU film thus far, rewarding long time fans of the universe. As fun as the film is for the majority of the run time, it has no shortage of emotional gut punches, causing me (a long time MCU fan) to tear up seven times on first viewing.

Endgame is guaranteed to connect with long time fans on some emotional level, while still being engaging and entertaining for those who are less familiar with the universe. While I personally found myself dreading the end of the film, for some people the length could be a downside for the film. At 181 minutes, Endgame is the longest film in the MCU, beating out the previous title holder, Avengers: Infinity War at 149 minutes.

At this point we are going to start discussing Avengers: Endgame in detail. This is a spoiler warning for those who have not seen Endgame.

The movie begins right after the events of Infinity War with half of the universe erased from existence. The first scene in the film gives the audience a very clear idea of how the rest of the film will go as we see Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) teaching his daughter to shoot a bow and arrow during a family picnic. After turning his back for mere seconds, he turns back to find his entire family vanished, leaving Clint as the only remaining member of the Barton family.

After this horrifying scene, we are able to see what happened to Tony Stark and Thanos’ bionic daughter Nebula (Karen Gillan), aboard a stranded spaceship as the two remaining members of their team after being defeated by Thanos in the previous movie. A nearly dead Tony records a goodbye message for his fiancé, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) as he falls asleep, seemingly dying. His eyes slowly open to see an angel outside his ship.

The angel turns out to be none other than Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) She returns the two to the Avengers facility, reuniting Tony with his superhero colleagues as well as a relieved Pepper.

A sickly Tony Stark records a message on the remaining parts of his Iron-man for his future wife Pepper, before fading off to sleep. Moments later, Captain Marvel arrives to save the day.

After medicating the extremely sick Tony, the team discusses the plan to attack the mad Titan on his home planet of Titan 2. After Steve asks Tony what he knows about Thanos from their interaction on Titan, Tony stands up in rage to express his anger towards Steve for not working as a team to defeat Thanos. Using up all his energy, Tony collapses.

The team travels to Titan 2 with Rocket Racoon’s (Bradley Cooper) spaceship and the help of the powerful Captain Marvel. With a surprise attack on Thanos, they were able to bring him down. However, Thanos explains to the remaining Avengers that the infamous snap can in fact not be undone due to the fact that he used the stones to destroy the stones. As he continues on he is immediately interrupted by Thor (Chris Hemsworth) decapitating the Thanos. As a call-back to his failure to do so during the battle of Wakanda in Infinity War.

This is one of many surprises during Endgame, with many unexpected moments to keep fans on the edge of their seat, building tension effortlessly. Audiences are left wondering where the three hour film will end when confronted at the sight of the big villain dying within the first 25 minutes of the film.

Five years pass after this encounter with Thanos, as we see the long term effects of Thanos wiping out half of the universe. Cities sit empty, unable to continue on without any kind of leadership or government. The remaining Avengers do what they can to rebuild a fallen world, but without an enemy to fight they struggle to find a purpose.

One of the best moments in the first act of the film is Steve Rogers leading a support group for those left behind, still doing his part to help even when it feels useless. Much like this moment, many of the Avengers have their moment to be a hero.

Natasha seeks her longtime friend Clint Barton, now a violent vigilante that goes on killing spree to execute all criminals left after the snap. Natasha is able to persuade Barton to return to the only family he has left in order to help restore life as it was.

Ant Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) returns from the quantum realm after being trapped when his team is unable to bring him back during the events of Avengers: Infinity War. Confused, disoriented and unable to understand what happened to his planet, he returns to home to find his 10 year old daughter is now 15 and nearly unrecognizable, leading to one of the first emotional moments in the film as we see a horrified yet relieved Scott try to understand what has happened in his absence.

Scott heads to the Avengers facility to meet up with the remaining Avengers. He explains that the long five years they experienced on Earth was only 5 hours for him, explaining that time travel is a possibility to bring back the snap victims. Steve, Scott and Natasha head to Tony Stark’s home to ask for his assistance in the time travel experiment.

Tony turns them away explaining that he is finally happy and he isn’t willing to lose what he has to bring back those who have already died. In the 5 years after the snap, Tony settles to down with longtime girlfriend and now wife, Pepper Potts, and having a daughter, feeling the weight of the world off his shoulders.

Tony, being curious as to if time travel is  indeed possible, he tests a formula he created, leading to the key to traveling through time. After talking to his wife about creating time travel, she explains that he unlocked time travel because he was meant to use it to bring back the fallen heroes.

Stark returns to the Avengers facility to build the time machine that they’ll use to collect the infinity stones to undo the snap. With the help of Bruce Banner, now Professor Hulk, a combination of both Hulk, the giant, green monster and Bruce Banner, the genius scientist, portrayed perfectly by Mark Ruffalo, the Avengers team creates an operational time machine.

Before the team collects the stones they send Banner and Rocket to bring the now reluctant, overweight Thor to help collect the stones. Thor’s drastic physical and emotional change bring some of the most comedic moments to the film, continuing his story arc that began in Thor: Ragnarok.

Introducing time travel to the MCU made for some very entertaining moments. Traveling into the past to collect all the infinity stones, the team separates, traveling to many key moments in the MCU making for a fun and adventurous second act, one of my personal favorites being Captain America bumping into his past self during the final battle in 2012’s Avengers.

Time travel has just as many pit-falls in Endgame as any other time traveling movies. While a few members of the Avengers team, one being Nebula, travel back to 2014 to collect two of the infinity stones, Nebula’s 2014 self picks up a frequency from future Nebula’s memories. Thanos is able to capture future Nebula, interrogating her and figuring out the Avengers plan to bring the victims of the snap back in the year 2023.

As the Avengers travel back to their current day of 2023 after collecting all the stones, they assemble a gauntlet that can yield the stones out of Stark’s nano-technology.

Endgame is full of so many fan service moments, some of the best being Captain America finally yielding Thor’s hammer in the final battle of the film, as hinted at in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Tony Stark saying his famous closing line from the very first MCU film, Iron Man.

Clint Barton and Natasha Romanoff prepare for their mission to Vormir to retrieve the soul stone. The two share a moment of joy, bonding over good memories.

One of the film’s few flaws is that even with as many emotionally heavy moments there are in the film, sometimes serious moments are undercut by humor, mostly by Thor’s character. Another minor flaw is that the film is very long and sometimes hard to follow. For longtime fans this isn’t a problem because they can understand where each character is and what they are doing even when the plot gets a little convoluted with information.

As full of information and characters as this film is, the writers as well as directors do a wonderful job of keeping the film feel cohesive and organic. The outlandish situations never feel forced or beyond comprehension. The performances across the board are authentic and each character moment is earned and raw. 

The standouts in my opinion, are Evans as Captain America, giving his best performance during his run in the MCU, Downey Jr. as Iron Man also giving his best performance in the MCU, and Paul Rudd as the hilarious Ant Man giving emotional moments that were never seen from his character previous to Endgame.

The film wraps up in such a satisfying way, feeling like a true ending to this wave of films in the MCU. Being a fan since I was eight years old, I felt every emotion I could even imagine feeling during this awe-inspiring experience. With a surprisingly small amount of errors in such a large-scale film, Avengers: Endgame is rewarding and a fitting conclusion to the Infinity saga.

Ethan Hamm can be reached through email.

For another movie review, check out Glass provides unique perspective on the superhero genre. For more articles, read Editorial: Year-end choices still effect college future and Ronnie Peterson shares high hopes for last baseball season.

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