Simon Dillon reviews the latest Marvel blockbuster

Avengers Endgame

The Marvel cinematic universe is to this generation what the heyday of Lucas and Spielberg was to my generation. Consequently, Avengers Endgame is an event cinema milestone, and a hugely satisfying culmination of eleven years of blockbuster superhero filmmaking based on the late, great Stan Lee's most brilliant Marvel comic creations. For eleven years, we've had a consistently exciting, entertaining, and playful series of fantastical adventures, some of which have been genuinely outstanding entries in the genre. Avengers Endgame might not be quite at the top of the pile, but it is certainly near the top, and it will more than satisfy fans and more casual viewers. However, I should chuck in a warning that unlike some of the other Marvel films, you really can't come to this one cold. Prior knowledge is essential.

To avoid spoilers, I won't say anything about the actual plot, suffice to say it picks up where Infinity War left off, with an admirably downbeat opening act that builds into the Marvel equivalent of an Arthurian quest, and ends with all the huge scale, visual effects packed spectacle that is required and expected. With wit and thrills to spare, this has laughter, tears, and many delightful throwbacks and cameos I won't mention here. It is tempting to dismiss some of this as shameless fan service, but why quibble when it works so well?

The returning cast are all terrific. This one focuses in again on the original core Avengers, namely Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson) and Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). Everyone gets their moment to shine, but Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans both take joint first prize as far as I'm concerned. Their characters have come a long way over several films, and here they are each given a really resonant arc that essentially concludes their respective stories.

Directors Anthony and Joe Russo, who have helmed some of the strongest entries in this series, again do sterling work. Needless to say, the visual effects are amazing, but none of the action sequences would mean anything if it weren't for the solid character groundwork that is meticulously laid in the build up to them. In particular, themes of parenthood, coming to terms with the loss of fathers and mothers, and Christ-like sacrifice are all poignantly explored.

Even though at three hours Avengers Endgame is long, certainly on a first viewing it flies by. It also had far less of the jarring shifts in tone I found problematic in Infinity War. I'm sure it has flaws, but I didn't really notice them. Perhaps I'll catch them next time, as I'm definitely going to see it again. You'll want to as well. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.