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Review: Avengers: Endgame is a fitting send off

Avengers: Endgame inevitably earns a big Thanos thumbs up.
Illustration: Alex Gomez · The Sentry

Marvel’s grand finale, Avengers: Endgame, is an ode to triumph, in finishing the 11-year story that started in 2008 with the original Iron Man.

How does one cope with extreme loss and guilt? Avengers: Endgame dives deep into telling the story of how the remaining Avengers deal with the devastating aftermath of defeat in last year’s Avengers: Infinity War, their first loss in 10 years.

Consisting of the original Avengers—Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), with earthbound and cosmic allies, such as Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) alongside them, the team must put their miseries aside and come together as a unified force to take down the Mad Titan, Thanos, and undo The Decimation (Thanos’ genocide of half the universe to create balance).

Shattering the box office, Endgame is the first movie to generate over $1 billion in just its opening weekend. With a worldwide income of $2.2 billion, Endgame currently rests as the second highest grossing movie of all time, beating out 1997’s Titanic.

Unlike Marvel films of the past, Endgame offers a depressing, action-less tone to begin with. Considering Infinity War concluded on a melancholy note, it was only right for Endgame to pick up and reverse the somber mood. A good portion of the movie shows the remaining heroes as more complex human rather than superior beings and living with the inevitable future they were unable to stop.

Endgame is more subtle and nuanced than any previous film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel has a quiet entrance that mirrors the steady, slow, and sorrowful process of each Avenger coping with their inability to stop Thanos.

Endgame also showcases the concept of family; what it means to be one and what it takes to restore one that is broken. The family that was formed in 2012’s The Avengers expanded over the years but took a heavy toll last year, losing many that they loved. This installment focuses on a sort of “dysfunctional family,” with the original six as the leaders.

In the past, the Avengers family has always been held together by either Iron Man or Captain America. However, in Endgame, another face takes on the role of trying to keep the family together: Black Widow. Normally playing the sidekick, Johansson gives a powerful performance as someone who is more human than any of the other superheroes as a leader of the Avengers. In most films since her debut in Iron Man 2, Johansson’s character is normally only seen in action. Endgame shows a different side of the former spy, with emotional and powerful scenes of her dealing with trauma rather than fighting—hardly any action scenes involve her.

Within Endgame, there are many references to past films such as Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and the original Iron Man. Audiences are also rewarded with a final heartwarming and simple cameo by the late Stan Lee.

Concluding what has now been called “The Infinity Saga,” directors Anthony and Joe Russo have created a story that is anything but expected. A farewell to those that started the cinematic universe and an open path for those who are ready to take up the mantle as the next generation of Marvel heroes, Avengers: Endgame is a masterpiece filled with a rollercoaster of emotions.

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