Most people who are going to see Endgame have already seen it. Even more importantly, Directors Anthony and Joe Russo have lifted their ban on spoilers . This leaves me very comfortable spoiling the crap out of this movie to you all. If you are one of those who have not actually seen Endgame, it’s fine. There’s still time. Go out, watch it today, and then come back here to read this review.
This line is the last one before the break. It’s a last chance for you to see the film before everything is spoiled. Nothing clicked, no ignorance lost.
Hello there! Thanks for the click!
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve seen dozens of reviews of Endgame. Most have been quite positive, some have been somewhat negative, some have been about favorite moments about the movie. It seemed like everyone who is anyone has already given a review of it. And why shouldn’t they? Why wouldn’t the biggest movie of the year, the second-biggest movie ever, the movie-that-should-not-have-been… why shouldn’t this beast be reviewed by all who have seen it? At heart, Kevin Feige, Executive Producer of all the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies, is like many of us: a fan. He loves the comics, he loves the characters, and he loves us fans. Sure, the movies of the MCU are a businessperson’s dream, but the reason for this success is the care and love that Feige has put into these movies. Feige and team MCU are the creators who put their content out there, and once its out there, sit back and let the Internet do its thing: review, comment, deconstruct, rage-quit, and argue, argue, argue. (Hopefully nobody is rage-quitting the MCU now that Phase 3 is over).
Where, then, did this leave my review? I already did the spoiler-free one. Where could I possibly take this spoiler-ridden one? After some deliberation, I decided on something that I hadn’t seen much of, if at all (if you happen to know of any reviews that do this, please share in the comments below), which is to look at Endgame as a continuation of the third Avengers movie: Infinity War. Considering that the Russo Brothers made both movies Lord of the Rings style, where all principal filming happened concurrently, it stands to reason that these are both parts of a single narrative. The pair have elaborated on how, tonally, the two are very different stand-alone movies, each with its own beginning, middle, and end, but ultimately, they are very much a singular entity.
So how does it all stack up?
I’m not even going to go into how stunning these two movies are for the eyes. The colors and use of color palettes is amazing. The special effects bring Hulk to life beautifully. Captain Marvel positively glows. Thanos is beautiful, fully-realized, and nuanced. The suits and the Quantum Realm practically sing. The battles, too, are virtually flawless. I can’t even begin to imagine just how much work went into making all the CGI in these movies, and I am happy to be spending what money I can on these movies, because they truly are masterpieces.
The music also served the action incredibly well, but not as one might expect. These characters and their conflicts are larger than life, so for the most part, composer Alan Silvestri lets his music ride the emotion. His direction adds a little extra weight to each scene without being directly obtusive. Few moments in the movies really strike me, save for short leitmotif callbacks to specific heroes, or those 2 moments where the Russos essentially went to composer Alan Silvestri and said, “Avengers Theme. Make it bigger than all the action and the people on the screen.” One, leitmotif, however, was introduced to me that really stuck: the Vormir one. Both visits to this cosmic soul trap were defined by extremely heightened emotion, and the results were heart-breaking, and the score used for this is awesome. (There are few moments in movie score history that make me tear up. This is right up there with Vince DiCola’s song for Optimus Prime’s death.)
What are Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame? They are two movies that follow the mad Titan, Thanos, on his quest to destroy half the life in the whole universe. To do so, he finds 6 cosmic ingots, the Infinity Gems, to master Time, Space, Reality, Power, Time, Soul, and Mind. When wielded together, they allow the user to manipulate the whole bloody universe. In Infintiy War, he fulfills his mission despite the efforts of all the various heroes of the MCU. In Endgame, they avenge the deaths of half the universe.
The story is pretty simple, really, and the two parts share many common elements: find the stones, wield the stones, deal with the immediate repercussions.
With such a simple story, it does make one wonder what could possibly make these movies so compelling to have made well upwards of 5 billion dollars. Investment, for one. Strong characters and strong character arcs for two. The aforementioned pomp and circumstance (music and visuals). No story is anything without good writers at the helm, and writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely are quite adept. The pair gave us all 3 Captain America movies, Thor: Dark World (which is why Thor had to do as much summary of it as he did in Endgame), and this pair of films. To say that directors Russo and Russo bring out the best in McFeely and Markus’ scripts is a bit of an understatement. One way that I think the quartet shine is in their investment in character moments.
Endgame is largely a character study, where each broken individual has to figure out how to make it in a world that is only half of what it used to be. Sure, there is action, but most is left for the finale. The bulk is a group of desperate warriors who have lost in a way that I think many would be very hard pressed to actually posit. Each individual deals with this defeat in their own way.
Tony Stark / Iron Man
Robert Downey Jr.
Right from the get-go in Infinity War, Stark introduces audiences to his hopes for the future: children. In Spider-Man: Homecoming, and even in Peter Parker’s introduction in Captain America: Civil War, Stark is a kind of mentor / father figure to the orphaned Parker. Perhaps Stark is a little corrupted by this advisory role, but in Infinity War, the concept comes full-force. Considering Stark is one of the few in the MCU with any kind of stable relationship, it makes sense (thematically) to take his motivations one step further. Why does he care so much about protecting Earth? What would he lay down on the line for? For a while, it is Parker. The interplay between Stark and Parker is one that shows Stark’s annoyance at the fact that Parker stowed away on a ship for the planet Titan. Not because he doesn’t appreciate him, but rather, because he actually cares about the kid. Once Peter Parker is turned to dust, Stark’s thoughts turn to the one beacon of hope his has: his fiancee, Pepper Potts, and the hopes that he can right the wrong that crumbled to dust in his arms: his surrogate son. In many ways, it seems that he knew his biological clock was ticking, and he was feeling the need to give it free rein. Or else maybe, in an effort by writers Markus and McFeeley, it was a means to bring back both fathers and mothers into this story. They used Stark as the means to connect to the past – his father – and used his own experiences with his daughter, Morgan, as the means to forge a connection with someone that Stark felt that he never really had any real connection with. All I know is that it worked. It grounded Stark in a way that made every single action in this movie worthwhile. He didn’t snap his fingers because Dear Mr. Fantasy requested he make a song “snappy.” He did it because he could not let Thanos kill his kid. What greater motivation is there than this?
Dr. Stephen Strange
What a turnaround this guy had in Infinity War. From “I’m going to protect this Time Stone no matter what,” to “Tony, [giving Thanos the Time Stone] was the only way,” Is a massive upheaval. To go from point A to point B, Strange probably had the littlest amount of screen time, but I have no doubts that the 14 million futures he saw took no short amount of time. Perhaps, it also taught him a little more about the dangers of knowledge. But what a gamble! His decision to give up the Time Stone resulted in his own death. Sure, he got better, and Stark ended up… well, you know… but I have 0 doubt that mixed in that possible victory were also about a million failures, as well. If the rat hadn’t crossed over the dash of the X-Con van, if Tony hadn’t named his daughter Morgan, if Hulk hadn’t knocked into Stark, if the Ancient One hadn’t been open to Bruce’s reveal, if… if… I could possibly say that 14 million times. No doubt, in each one, there is a new world to the multiverse. Best of all, Strange’s role as the “one-who-knows”, helps the writers to break the meta and circumnavigate any potential fan’s inquiry of “But, why didn’t so-and-so do such-and-such…?” Because, silly, Dr. Strange knew it wouldn’t work.
Bruce Banner / Hulk
I would have loved to see the actual development of Professor Hulk, but I’m nonetheless thrilled to see the end result. Banner is a “puny” man, overly-mild-mannered, and the Hulk is a massive green rage monster. They are polar opposites, and they’re trapped in the same body. Makes life tough, and Hulk’s story has always been a little limited by the chaotic and uncontrollable Jekyll / Hyde quality of his nature. Infinity War OPENS with Hulk getting his face smashed in by Thanos. Story-wise, this serves a dual purpose: it gives audiences a very clear understanding of just who the Titan is, and what he could do. It also set up a major problem that Banner had to figure out. Following his defeat by Thanos, Hulk retreated into Banner, an act that forced Banner to come up with new solutions to let his heroic tendencies out. For the rest of Infinity War, it is not Hulk fighting, but BANNER. By the end of the film, Banner (in the Hulkbuster armor) lost to Thanos, but he did it as himself. Perhaps, in realizing, that he didn’t have to depend on Hulk to be the hero he is, something clicked, because the next time we see either character after Thanos’s initial death in Endgame, there is no Banner, nor Hulk. There is a peaceful amalgamation of the two identities. Hulk is Banner and Banner is Hulk, and he is the best of both worlds.
I love this. I utterly love this. Instead of throwing a random variable into the mix, it adds a single (double, considering Stark’s family) shining green beacon of stability in a world that is really messed up. Not only did it brought Hulk into the story as more of a character, but it gave us a whole lot more of Mark Ruffalo’s portrayal of the jolly green. What works best about this arc for me is how peaceful Prof. Hulk is. While Valkyrie would prefer either Banner or Hulk to Prof Hulk, I kind of like the fact that the most mild-mannered character in this universe is wrapped up in such a fierce green exterior. There is a whole lot of kindness, gentleness, even, in him. When Scott Lang’s taco gets blown away, Hulk gladly shares his two with him. It is sweet, kind, and shows that a monster doesn’t have to be cruel. In fact, there is so much peace within the character, that I’m almost sorry that we never – in BOTH movies – see him successfully go all out. The closest we get are in Infinity War, when he gets beat down by Thanos, and then in Endgame, when he doesn’t get killed by the Iron Gauntlet. Sure, props to the guy for handling that, but as the “strongest Avenger,” it would have been nice to have seen him unleash his inner hulk and smash.
Natasha Romanov / Black Widow
When we first see her in Infinity War, she is on the run with Captain America’s Secret Avengers. We see her working with her family of heroes, and it is satisfying to see the sister/brother relationship with Cap so thoroughly explored in this. The pair are tight, and (with Falcon’s aid) they are a fluid unit who support each other in many ways. After the Infinity snap, however, with the loss of half of her Avengers family, she steps in for everyone: Fury, Sam, Hill, T’Challa, the Jugglers, SHIELD. She has taken up the yoke of communication to keep everyone together despite the odds. This is a fantastic role for her, the loner, the assassin who has been given a second chance. For a while in the comics, she was team leader, and it was satisfying to see her in Endgame as the glue who refused to give up on anyone who is left. But at what cost? “Everything has led me to this moment,” she tells her ronin of a brother, Clint Barton, on the ledge of Vormir. But at what cost? Maybe she took the dive because she was just exhausted at keeping everything together. Maybe she did it because she took “whatever it takes” to heart. Maybe she just wanted to do what the best mothers out there would do for their kids: take one for the team. Her death has broken my heart 3 times already, but I can’t help but feel awe at it. This is who Black Widow is, ladies and gentlemen. She is the one that will think up a way to win come hell, high water, or an exchange for the Soul Gem.
Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch & Vision
Elizabeth Olsen & Paul Bettany
If only we just had a little more time with them… If only they had a little more time… Two new lovers were out exploring each other, body and soul. To the world, both were monsters, but to one another, they were beautiful. Each was innocent and fragile, yet each possessed powers beyond even most people’s ken. They were discovering the world together, and in doing so, were able to share their wonder with a kindred spirit. But because Vision had the Mind Stone in his head, his days were numbered. That made every moment with Wanda all the more important. While I hate to think of how horrible it would be to have to destroy the one I love, as Wanda had to do, her return in Endgame showed me exactly what was going on inside of her. Of all the Avengers who go toe-to-toe with Thanos, two actually concern him, and of those two, only Wanda outright scares him. Considering she managed to destroy the Mind Stone, it’s understandable. Now if only we could get more of her and Vision.
Steve Rogers / Captain America
His entrance in Infinity War makes my freaking heart sing. I love that entrance with Silvestri’s build-up. It is so badass! I don’t want to imply that McFeely and Markus are Captain America fans, but how can I not get that impression considering they were responsible for all 3 Cap movies? Not only that, but they were able to make Cap relatable in ways that I had never even imagined he could be. From day 1, where he first gets tossed into a wall outside a picture theater (waaay back in Captain America: The First Avenger), I’ve been rooting for this guy. He may not have the flashiest tech, or the coolest powers, but he is my man. I’d follow him anywhere. And all of this before he outruns all (save the incredible Black Panther) in the Wakanda battle of Infinity War. He is so amazing that he actually prevents Thanos from closing his hand and using the Gauntlet in Infinity War. That takes chops. So when he actually wields Mjolnir… Fanwank clean-up over here, thanks.
But does his arc actually work? In Infinity War, his arc was pretty straightforward: assemble the troops, lead the battle. Then everyone dies. He can’t move on. The man lost in time can’t move on. So what does he do at the end of it all, when the universe is saved and he is given a chance to fix everything that has gone before? He goes back in time to be with the woman that he lost. Does this work? Yes. Yes, it does. Moreover, I’m thrilled. Like Sam Wilson, I’m heartbroken to think of a world without Captain America, but if I could wish anything for him, it is this. The man deserves a happy ending.
People have their opinions on Thor: Ragnarok, with some saying that they can’t stand it, at least in part, because of the humor. I, on the other hand, think it works well to bring Thor to a place he had never been before: maturity. He was not mature in Thor. He was competent and capable in Thor: The Dark World, but he was still not mature. He was getting there, but he still felt like a teenager playing at the role of an adult. It isn’t until he is stuck out on his own, finding his own way in the universe in Ragnarok that he really begins to come into his own. What I like best about this Thor is his resourcefulness. This is the Thor that finally has learned not to trust Loki, the one who can start seeing the greater connections between himself and the universe. This is the one who decides that the only way to save his people is to unleash Ragnarok and destroy his homeland. This is Thor coming into his own, and this is the Thor who is defeated by Thanos at the start of Infinity War.
After being rescued by the Guardians of the Galaxy, he is driven to one single task: to defeat Thanos. This is what maturity looks like, or so it looks on the surface. Thor has had no time to process all the tragedy in his life, and it probably isn’t until Rocket asks him how he is that he begins to realize just how much he has lost. Hemsworth does an incredible job touting a grand boast of how he will defeat Thanos, all while recounting the slaughter of everyone he knows. The tears play so powerfully against the boast, that we viewers start to see how fragile the God of Thunder has become. This is a brilliant take on the god, and one that makes him so much more human than we have any right to see. Oh, he is mature, but it’s the kind of maturity that people with Depression learn: that of Loki’s gift: borne of deception. See, with depression, nobody wants to know that you have it; ain’t nobody got time with that. So what does Thor do? He displays just how well he has learned from his brother, and covers it up with “the mission.” Get a weapon! Avenge his brother! Avenge his best friend! Don’t think about your dead father! Don’t think about your murdered mother! Don’t think about the tyrant of a sister who killed the Warriors Three! Forget the destruction of Asgard! Make that weapon even if he dies! Use the weapon! Kill Thanos! Be the hero everyone thinks you are! All well and good, but I think Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell would all say that such drive only lasts so long. In Thor’s case, it lasted exactly until he killed Thanos. After that, nothing really mattered. Schlubby Thor is a direct result of the destruction of the illusion that he had maintained until he could finish his job. This was the result of his surrender to a serious mental/emotional trauma. Chris Hemsworth utterly nails this with manic humor, deep emotional range, and his ability to throw himself into the duality of his role. A god should not illicit sympathy in his people, but all I want to do is give the man a hug, make him a damn fine salad, and let him know that I’m here for him.
Clint Barton / Ronin / Hawkeye
Before I start delving into his role, let me ask you: “What could Barton possibly have added to Infinity War that we didn’t already have?” I ask that because I think it was the right creative choice. For most of these characters, these movies really got into the nitty gritty of their motivations. By putting Barton out of the first, it gives audiences a real look at what he has been doing since Captain America: Civil War, spending his time under house arrest, looking after his family. Endgame opens with Arcadia. Barton is sharing his greatest skill with his daughter while his wife and boys enjoy a picnic nearby. It is utterly beautiful. Then, with the stroke of cosmic thunder, his family – all of them – dust away. Could this movie have begun with any harder a hit to the heart?
Barton’s family is the kind of motivation that gives the madness of the superhero world real meaning. Orphaned characters – like Cap and Wanda – are all good, but sometimes, we need more. A wife and 3 children are a massive motivation. So to have all four disappear in the Infinity Snap, I can’t help but feel for poor Clint. I think I’d snap, too. Hell, I might even lose myself in tattoos like he did. No. I doubt it. I could never look at myself again if I did. His arc is possibly the most compelling of all because Barton is the audience! If the snap happened in the real world, there would be some of us out there that would be left with nobody. Fighting off the overarching despair of that might be enough to utterly ruin even the best of us. Is it really surprising that Barton, being a trained assassin, would seek out to balance the world, to keep the innocent alive at the expense of those survivors who are criminals?
Nebula / Rocket Raccoon / Jim Rhodes / Scott Lang
Karen Gillen, Bradley Cooper, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd
Family. These people remained for various plot and story roles, but each one was motivated by their connection to their larger families. One of the most touching moments in Endgame was when Nebula and Stark return to Earth. Rocket quietly goes up to Nebula, sits beside her, and takes her hand. No words are necessary. These are two loners who have been robbed of everything that have made them better: their cosmic family. Unlike Barton, they have each other, though, and thanks to this, they are able to weather the 5 years following the Infinity Snap. Rhodey’s role is too damn small in this, but I can see why he survived: he is the military branch that survived. After the Snap, his survival represents a certain peace in the realm. If the War Machine is out there, things can’t quite as bad as they might seem, can they. I think the other reason he survived was to have him around in case Stark needed him. Sadly, he just felt under-utilized.
Ant-Man, on the other hand, is the key to the ultimate victory. Like Barton, he is completely left out of Infinity War, because his story has him off doing other stuff, like learning about the Quantum Realm with his significant other, Hope, and her family, the Pyms. Lang’s return from the Quantum Realm in Endgame gives the others a means by which to put a new rescue plan in motion. While Lang does have the motivation to try to get Hope and the rest of the Pyms back, we see him act because he knows it’s right. One of the best things about Scott Lang in these movies is that he has an incredible moral compass. His heart is always in the right place. If he has to bend the rules a little to make things better, then so be it. I would argue that he is essential to the story not just as a means of introducing the means by which to travel through time, but also because he is really the only one who can see that the only way to win is by ignoring the standard sets of laws that govern the whole universe. Plus, his character is so damn fun, striking an everyman level of brilliant comedy with deep-seated emotion.
There are so many characters in these two movies that I don’t even want to delve too much into it all. Suffice it to say that this was a massive undertaking by all involved. These movies SHOULD NOT have been made. To get 22 movies together in a single decade and to bring them all together with these two shows what a massive labor of love this was for all involved. I can’t even get my head around how incredible they are. I feel so blessed to live in a world where such remarkable pieces of art that I’m willing to overlook the contrasting problems of time travel, of how Cap got his shield back, of which Peggy it was that Cap wound up with, of what will happen now that Thanos isn’t in one aspect of the Multiverse. The list goes on, but that isn’t what this is about. This is about how astonishing it was to be able to watch these movies.
Three final thoughts:
- Thor’s PTSD/Survivor’s Guilt. I have seen criticism of Rocket’s treatment of Thor’s difficulty to deal with almost anything relating to life’s responsibilities following his murder of Thanos. Rocket’s method is the traditional one: “Man up!” with a slap to the face. Focusing on that action is wrong. It was the action of a character who the movies have built up as being so afraid to let anyone close that he pushes them away (Guardians 2). He is one whose first response to anything is a snide remark, which often comes off as impulsive, and with an admitted lack of foresight. This was even set up in Endgame. When he quips about Captain Marvel’s new hairdo, she points out that Earth is far better off than a whole lot of other planets out there. The good news is that he has come far enough along as a character to which he almost apologizes for the pettiness of his comment.
Rocket’s attempt to solve Thor’s PTSD is exactly the action of a short-sighted individual who is ill-equipped to deal with emotions or the subtlety in which emotions work. Nor is he the only one. Some are enablers (Korg and Miek) but the others simply accept what Thor has become because “there is a plan” to worry about. As a result, none really are able to take the time to help him out. They see his smile, they see his indifference to their humorous barbs, but he shrugs it off with that charming smile of his and all think he’s fine. Or fine enough to get the job done.
Luckily there is one in this film that can see through his façade: the witch queen of Asgard, Freya (played by the amazing Rene Russo – no relation to the directors). Not only is she able to spend time with her son, but she is able to cut right to the quick. She crushes his self-assessment, and gives him words that start him on his path towards redemption. This is immediately reinforced by Mjolnir’s return to his hand. “Whomsoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of THOR.” Freya tells him he is worthy, and the proof is in the hammer’s return to his hand. This is huge. Rocket’s reaction was just Rocket being Rocket. He is who he is, and he has the emotional range of a… raccoon? Rabbit? Trash panda? He failed to help Thor, but Freya did not. That is huge. To look at Thor’s situation without looking at the whole arc is a disservice to the writers and directors because Rocket is the failure. Freya is the success story.
- How could I do a review and not speak on my favorite moments in this film?
– Captain America wielding Mjolnir. I saw this movie in the theaters 3 times. In all three, fans cheered. How many movie moments can really get large portions of the theater going like that? I could watch that all day.
– Iron Man / Rescue back to back. This is the new definition of “power couple.” And it is beautiful.
– Iron Man’s armor. Of all the armors that we’ve seen in these movies, this was closest to his 70’s outfit, and it is by far my favorite. I’m thrilled that the designers were able to give us something this brilliantly retro for this last hurrah.
– “Avengers… assemble.” BEST. DELIVERY. EVER. If it was used before this, it would have cheapened it. But this… gods… so well-deserved.
– Wanda Maximoff. She had about 2 minutes of screentime in Endgame, but in the first minute, she was raw power personified. It was her assault (just her. No one else) that forced Thanos to rain fire on the battle, striking friend and foe alike. This is an action reeking of desperation. The best part about this is that she disappeared after the Infinity snap. That means that she did not suffer through 5 years of limbo – she had maybe 15-20 minutes between films. When she is dusted in Infinity War, she seems almost relieved that she doesn’t have to think about having to murder her lover, or sit by and watch as he is destroyed again by Thanos. So her return? “You took everything from me,” she says, her voice trembling in rage. “Hell hath no fury like a Scarlet Witch scorned.”
I won’t lie. Some of these moments are here because it was Captain America that first really got me into comics in the first place, and that the Scarlet Witch / Vision relationship was always one of my favorites. But the way that the Russo brothers build to these moments and then pull them off with such precision, I can’t help but feel that I’m not the only ones with this much love for these characters.
- Or wishes? I’m not sure. Doors have been opened, and I want to see the following characters step through:
- Kang – time-hopping major villain of the Avengers history. There is a lot that Feige and his team could do well with him.
- The Captian Britain Corps – Alan Davis’ Excalibur run is one of the greatest comic runs that I have ever read. In it, the Multiverse is converging, and a villain named Necron seeks to absorb the residual energy to make himself a god. Excalibur: Captain Britain, Megan, Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, and Phoenix (with an assorted group of help) have to prevent this from happening. Why? Because the Captian Briatin Corps are the protectors of the original Earth, Otherworld. Any problems that arise to destabilize the Multiverse fall to them to handle. I would LOVE to see this story adapted, even in part, in the MCU. Plus, it could be a cool way to bring in random cameos of people who have left the franchise. Which leads to:
- Necron – He has the potential to rank in the top tiers of MCU villians, right up there with Thanos, Loki, Hydra, Vulture, and Killmonger. Ok, maybe not Killmonger, as he has a villainous quotient that puts him high above everyone else, but still… Necron has the potential to be a fantastic addition.
- Namor the Submariner. A tectonic shifting near the African plate is mentioned, and in Avengers VS X-Men, there was some bad blood between Wakanda and Namor’s kingdom of Atlantis. Could that possibly be a nod to the Submariner? If so, there is only ONE person in the world who could do Namor the justice he deserves:
Infinity War brought in $2 billion. Endgame is sitting pretty on $2.6 billion. Those are a whole lot of tickets. Opening weekend alone for Endgame, found here, estimates at $1.2 billion. 1 point 209, actually. But who is splitting quantum atoms at this point. Simply put, this is about as Giant (-man) as a movie could possibly be.
Unlike Scott Lang’s alter-ego, these disgustingly massive numbers are not the result of a miracle formula. Actually, they probably are, but not economic rather than chemical. Unless you consider the chemical reactions in a brain, or the pheromones released that make us happy. So much for my argument… The point is that these movies are labors of love that give audiences with characters whose trials pull us in. Unlike some other Disney properties, this was built from love, with love. The goal with each of these movies is to challenge the characters, and not the audience. Within each movie, we can trace our heroes’ growth, and there is a whole lot (usually. There are some exemptions, which will remain nameless). These problems create compelling stories that carry us along and do not feel forced. As each new character is brought in, a new story is told where that character is right in the center of the maelstrom, and the next built on that, so that at last, when Endgame finally coalesced into a singular Thanos-battling entity, all of those small growths paid off. This is the result of the investment that I mentioned waaay back at the beginning of this review. The creative team are invested in telling good stories. With Endgame, they knocked it out of the park in a way that should never have even been possible. Make mine Marvel, indeed.
The Queen has spoken.