'Avengers: Endgame' is the follow-up to 2018's 'Infinity War' and is the 22nd film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which began 11 years ago with 'Iron Man.' The film returns its ensemble cast as the titular team, with Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner, alongside about a […]

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'Avengers: Endgame' is the follow-up to 2018's 'InfinityWar' and is the 22nd film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, whichbegan 11 years ago with 'Iron Man.' The film returns its ensemble cast as thetitular team, with Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, ChrisHemsworth, Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner, alongside about a dozen otheractors. Anthony and Joe Russo return to direct.

To say this film is one of, if not the, most anticipatedcinematic events of all-time is an understatement. It literally broke theinternet when tickets went on sale and Disney is giving it a $200 millionmarketing campaign, which is more than most movies even cost to make. Ipersonally was enthralled with the film seeing as I am a semi-Avengers fanboy(half of the MCU is fantastic, half is 'meh, fun, fine') and 'Infinity War,' amovie I have seen ten times and only gets better with each viewing, was my topfilm of 2018. So it actually crushes me that 'Avengers: Endgame' is just…meh, fun, fine.

We will start with the positives of the film, because thereare plenty. The fan service in here is incredible, and for the most part itdoes not come at the expense of drama or pacing. I really can't get into muchof the *why* (in fact most of this review will be vague redactions) but howthey address certain past films of the MCU or give characters little moments iseither touching or entertaining, and feels earned not forced.

The plot itself is kind of clever, albeit predicted by anyfan who has read a comic or can piece two-and-two of how the MCU has played outover the last 10+ years. They really don't give much of it away in thetrailers, save for one shot that if you know what you're looking for willconfirm your theory, so casual filmgoers (if there are any of those left stillgoing to Marvel movies) will enjoy the route they take.

It is well-documented that Chris Evans and Robert DowneyJr.'s contracts expire after this film and it could be their final go-around, atleast as leading roles. Captain America didn't make Evans a star but it is hardto picture anyone else throwing the red, white and blue shield after all theseyears, while Downey literally had his career saved by 'Iron Man' after plentyof arrests, and it is impossible to imagine where this universe would bewithout him. Both men turn in great performances and the film honors the journeystheir characters have taken.

I can't really say what I didn't like about the film becauseof 'spoilers' (as far as wanting to go in blind), but I will just say there aretwo people that I really do not like what they did with the characters. One isaltered simply to become a joke and I hoped it would just be a one-scene ordealbut it drags on, and the other becomes a distracting cartoon character. Neitherreally fit the doom-and-gloom tone the film seems to (at least is pretending towant to) be going for.

A complaint a lot of people have about the Marvel movies isthey insert jokes at the expense of drama, and I think that is only sometimestrue. 'Thor: Ragnarok' is a literal comedy but it certainly tosses out improvehumor in moments that should be life-and-death, but in films like 'InfinityWar' no one is cracking one-liners as Thanos approaches them with the InfinityStones. Here, the writers are more than willing to try quips at the expense ofa should-be dramatic moment, and just like 'Us' a few weeks back or 'CaptainAmerica: Civil War' I think the stakes are too high and it just seemsunorganic. Quips worked in the first two 'Avengers' movie because Joss Whedonis clever; this script isn't always.

The climax is emotional and fun, albeit in a 'dump out yourtoy box and throw them at each other' kind of way, but it made the 12-year-oldkid in me giddy with joy and it certainly came close to putting a lump in mythroat having seen so many of these stories over the past 11 years. The final30 minutes of this film certainly rank among the MCU's best.

'Avengers: Endgame' actually has some guts and conviction, something a few Marvel movies lack, but it is also overstuffed and sometimes doesn't know when to get out of its own way. It treats half of its characters with respect but then will turn around and alter others, and it just rubbed me the wrong way. I got my fan service, even if I was able to predict 95% of what was going to happen, and to some that may be enough. Following up 'Infinity War,' one of the best superhero films of all-time, I expected more, but I can't say I was fully let down.

Critic's Rating: 7/10