Avengers: Endgame review

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The budget for the film “Avengers: Endgame” was $356 million. Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

There’s a reason why “Avengers: Endgame” has broken every box office record possible.

Some movies are just that: movies. Some are good, some are freaking great and some are pretty terrible. Rarely in a culture as divided as ours can a singular work of art rise above the chaos and become a rallying event rather than just another movie.

This is the type of rule-breaking, awe-filled, emotionally-fulfilling, funny and masterfully-crafted cultural event that is “Avengers: Endgame.”

It is very difficult to pick and choose aspects of this film to discuss within the bounds of a newspaper article.

The 22 films that have been leading up to this film for over a decade are all entertaining and masterful in their own ways. More than that, all of these films feature characters who have been inspiring people all around the world to be heroes for over half a century, some for millennia.

The least one can say about such a film is that those who made it clearly went about doing so with the immense gravity of the story they were trying to tell in mind.

Visionary directors Joe and Anthony Russo have proven themselves to, beyond any shadow of a doubt, have the interests of fans at the forefront of their creative process as they, once again, masterfully juggle the 146 cast appearances in this film with talent only ever seen within the pages of Marvel’s greatest six-issue releases such as the 1990s “Infinity Gauntlet.”

Everyone, even characters never before seen in their current positions, has a moment to shine and does so in a film that possesses the most fluid pacing ever in a three-hour film.

Though the first act certainly is slower than the film’s rapidly-paced second and third acts, many gaps and questions are introduced and the set-up is hardly noticeable as such.

As opposed to the first installment in the “Infinity War” saga, fans who walk into theaters know all about Thanos, his quest, his crew and the new members of the Avengers. There was much more mystery going into “Infinity War,” and this represents the single largest difference in the experience of both of these epic films.

There is a different, though not bad, feeling in experiencing the two films. Like the Avengers in “Infinity War,” the character of Thanos was much more elusive and mysterious to us. Now that we know who he is and what he did, we enter “Endgame” on a mission to avenge the universe.

Criticizing the length of the film is quite a stupid idea. Some films are barely 80 minutes, and some are seven hours long. If you’re going to criticize one epic, and long, film, then you must critique them all. If you like short movies, you like short movies. We critique the content of a work of art, not its frame.

If you have an open mind, the runtime shouldn’t worry you. What should worry you is whether or not the film’s story deserves the runtime it possesses, and “Endgame” certainly does.

Perhaps the only valid critique along this line of thought is that there is no time set aside for a bathroom break.

Due to its dense plot details, scene transitions at times do not feel as organic as they should. Several storylines occur at the same time, and the directors and editors had to choose what characters we should follow, and for how long before switching.

An audience member might forget about one storyline and become engrossed in another, only to be momentarily confused when a rather inorganic transition occurs, taking us back to the other group of characters. Transitions such as these were handled masterfully in “Infinity War,” and although these inorganic transitions are rare in “Endgame,” they do occur.

It feels almost unnecessary to mention that the entire cast for this film does a terrific job. Throughout the course of 22 outstanding films featuring all of the ensemble cast for “Endgame,” we, as audiences, have been spoiled by the consistent level of terrific work done by these actors and the rich chemistry and layering that is woven between them all.

The standout performances must be considered to be from Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, Chris Evans as Steve Rogers, Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner and Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton.

Scarlett Johansson’s character in Natasha Romanoff is given significantly more room to act in this film’s script than in previous Avengers films, and she does a fantastic job by showing us a side of her character only ever glimpsed before.

It feels equally pointless to point out how breathtakingly fantastic the effects work in this film is. When typical filmmaking practices were not enough, Marvel’s VFX crews have consistently created innovative new processes in order to tell us the story the way it ought to be told.

They dreamt big and then worked to realize those dreams.

The sense of finality that “Avengers: Endgame” provides is perhaps the most meritorious part of the film. Marvel set out to do something, and they did it as well as they possibly could. True fans and casual viewers alike will be able to respect the saga ending where it does in this final Avengers film.

I ended my first review of the “Infinity War” saga with some all-encapsulating remark about the nature of film and society, but for this review, I think I’ll just end by saying:

Go see “Avengers: Endgame,” and then come find me, or someone else who loves great stories made to be loved, so that we all can talk about the stories we love together.

It’s been a long, long time since our world has seen a story this great told so well. Just enjoy it.

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