WESTSHORE - After 10 years and 22 movies, the Marvel Cinematic Universe comes to an amazing, bombastic climax with a three-hour masterpiece directed by local-boys-made-good, Joseph and Anthony Russo.
How good is “Avengers: Endgame?” It’s so good I’m afraid to say too much to take away from the perfection of the film. Three hours fly by, keeping moviegoers on the edge of their seats and reducing grown men to tears. And this was at a critic’s showing.
The Russo brothers were not kidding when they said the Marvel movie universe would be forever changed. Some of the changes are exhilarating, others are heartstopping and a few are heartbreaking.
Just to recap, as if anyone really needs it, at the end of “Avengers: Infinity War” galactic villain Thanos (Josh Brolin) used the six Infinity Stones, (which we have seen scattered in almost every Marvel movie) to wipe out half of all life in the universe. They turned to dust and blew away.
That included many of our favorite characters Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, Winter Soldier, Star-Lord, Black Panther and tons more. Then Thanos left.
Five years later, the dead are still dead. An intrepid Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) keeps tabs on the remaining Avengers, but they have long given up hope of setting things right.
I will not spoil the surprises, but suffice it to say the unexpected appearances of Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) inspire hope and get a reclusive, happily-married Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and a transformed Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) thinking about a new plan to restore the universe. And anyone who thought Ruffalo was cheated out of screen time in the last Avengers movie will be thrilled with his performance here.
I have been reading comics for years and I was pleasantly surprised at the plan the remaining Avengers came up with. Anyone who believes that all it will take to make things right is another snap of the finger with the Infinity Gauntlet will be surprised.
There is a giant battle with Thanos, replete with the now expected amazing special effects, realistic CGI effects. (Warner Bros. take note) This combined with ridiculously complicated direction makes this one of the most satisfying battles in cinematic history.
The Russos and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely reach back into many previous Marvel films and make them part of “Endgame,” allowing fans to relive those heady moments of movies past.
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is a changed man and along with Ant-Man provided some light-hearted moments to a pretty grim film.
There is a scene in Endgame with Captain America (Chris Evans) that will make audiences stand up and cheer. Some fans will recognize that the scene harkens back to the first Avengers film and 50 years of Thor history.
Everyone gets their moment in the sun, even the weaker characters like Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Black Widow are the best they have ever been.
And yes, this sets up the future of the Marvel movieverse, which may or may not include The Avengers.
This is the big one that will break box office records around the world.
Michael Sangiacomo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.