WARNING: This review includes spoilers. If you accidentally clicked on this, you may read our no-spoilers review here instead.
To the few brave souls who are reading this without having first watched the movie, let me be clear on this: Avengers: Endgame is not fantastic because of plot twists and unexpected conclusions. It is not a movie where all the twists and turns are shocking. It is great because it handles its plot points, predictable or not, with enough finesse to bring justice to a decade-long legacy.
Which is not to say it doesn’t have its own fair share of gasp-inducing reveals. There are quite a number of them. But they aren’t the main attraction in this film.
Avengers: Endgame is a movie literally a decade in the making. It’s not an experience you can isolate from the world that’s been built. Each event is a culmination of the choices, mistakes, celebrations, and tragedies of 22 movies. Each move brings with it the baggage of 10 years.
When you see Tony lashing out at Steve over their loss, it’s not just the pain of one battle. It’s hurt over a broken team, a damaged friendship, and the inability to truly ‘lose together’. When Clint and Natasha are forced to make an impossible choice in Vormir, their heartache is not rooted in the camaraderie formed in one movie but rather the ties made over missions, rescues, and the gratitude they feel towards one another.
Likewise, the ‘happy’ points inherently become more meaningful. Tony settling down with Pepper and having a child together is made that much more beautiful when you realize his relationship with Peter was what convinced him was ready for this. Steve going back in time (and staying for Peggy) only makes sense with the somber understanding that this is a love he’s never been able to bid goodbye to.
Basically, Endgame is the conclusion to the MCU’s last ten years dressed up in nostalgia and sentimentality. It is an epic made up of huge emotional pay-off’s. It is the perfect way to say thank you, and goodbye.
The construction of the narrative only further proves this. It is done in such a way that allows the characters and audience space to revisit the past and reflect on the present. The time heist gives us the bittersweet image of Asgard in its prime, the nostalgic sequence of Peter Quill dancing on Morag. But none are as impactful as the return to the Battle of New York.
The team manages to transport exactly at moment the Avengers assemble for the first time. You know the shot, it circles around them as they form up to take on the Chitauri and their theme plays in the background. This, more than anything, captures just how much has changed — and how much has stayed the same. Parallel this with the final standoff against Thanos and the contrast is poetic.
Most importantly, it brings back and binds the message of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Through tens of stories and hundreds of characters, there is one thing that each and every one of them celebrates: humanity in its purest form.
That often-endearing but sometimes-frustrating quality of never taking a defeat. The ability to hope despite the odds being stacked against you. Things like love and passion fueling every move. These are what makes us human. These are what pushes us to be heroes.
You will see the Avengers fail in Endgame. They will fail again and again, with the outcome worsening each time. They will be told there is nothing left to do but move on. They will be faced with the crossroads of pursuing a pipe dream and dying. But these heroes choose to try each time.
They choose to hope because they have nothing left. They choose to fight because it is the only thing they know how to do. They continue because they are human.
Avengers: Endgame beautifully brings home the point it’s set out to prove since the beginning: Our humanity does not make us weaker — it’s the only thing that keeps us strong.
Have you seen Endgame? Love it or hate it, share your thoughts with us in the comments!