REVIEW: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ is an absolute triumph 11 years in the making

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Promotional poster for "Avengers: Endgame." (Courtesy Photo by Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Pictures)

When I say I’m a Marvel fan, I mean it.

I’m not someone who only watches superhero movies to stay in the loop. I’m not here so I can fill my Tumblr blog with pictures of Chris Evans’ butt (no disrespect to those who do, though).

Marvel comics, games, movies and cartoons have been a huge part of my life since I was 3 years old, so I can confidently say “Avengers: Endgame,” together with its predecessor “Avengers: Infinity War,” forms a cinematic triumph that didn’t even seem possible 10 years ago.

When the mad titan Thanos snapped his fingers almost one year ago to the day in “Infinity War,” half of all the life in the universe vanished into dust. “Endgame” picks up where “Infinity War” left off in a shocking way, and I absolutely hated that some of my predictions were right.

The plot is full of surprises from beginning to end, so I’ll leave it up to you to learn how the Avengers can even hope to stop an impossible threat. This movie is three hours long, but it’s such a dense story that you hardly feel its length — unless you ordered a large drink like I did. Beware!

Superhero movies have always been about their characters more than anything else, especially in the Marvel Cinematic Universe which started with the film “Iron Man” in 2008. I’m happy to report that every character feels completely true to themselves in “Endgame.”

From familiar faces like Captain America to relative newcomers like Captain Marvel, each character is treated with an appropriate amount of screen time that lets their personalities shine through perfectly. If you haven’t seen every movie in the MCU, don’t worry about it; the secret to Marvel’s success is that their characters are so well defined you don’t have to know their entire backstories to understand who they are.

Still, knowing backstories certainly doesn’t hurt. This film is a crowd-pleaser made for the fans, so there are plenty of callbacks. “The Avengers,” the first “Iron Man” and even Marvel comic storylines get referenced in ways that feel unexpected, yet totally appropriate. This isn’t “Ready Player One” we’re talking about here — the nods to the past feel playful rather than out-of-place.

As a film, “Endgame” is full of beautiful imagery and camerawork that dazzle the eye. The visual storytelling in this movie is superb, especially for the genre, with my praise going to a jaw-dropping and profound action scene in Japan.

The sound design also stands out, with delightfully punchy sound effects, witty dialogue that’s always well paced and even a surprisingly evocative musical score. Much like “Infinity War” before it, though, the movie gets quiet when it needs to, so there’s never an emotional beat that feels less than stellar.

My only criticism of this film would be that its plot largely relies on a concept that, while a pop culture staple, is brand new to the MCU, and I don’t think it is particularly well explained or justified. No, I’m not going to tell you what that concept is.

The filmmakers ring as much fun and imagination out of it as they can, though, and it’s not like real world logic is required in a movie about people who can fly. I feel like this will only hurt the movie if you’re the kind of nerd who thinks every blockbuster is full of plot holes.

Honestly, watching this movie felt like closure. I can still remember the days when two superheroes fighting the same bad guy seemed like an impossible dream I would only ever see in the pages of a comic book.

Now, in 2019, the MCU has completed a massive story arc for dozens of characters like nothing the world of cinema has ever seen before.

After 22 films, some of our beloved heroes are finally at peace. I won’t say who or how, but I’d recommend bringing tissues if you’re as into these things as I am. This movie is strongly emotional, both in terms of highs and lows.

“Avengers: Endgame” is a tough movie to review because there has never been anything else like it, but I’ll try to sum it up. This movie is a masterpiece of pulpy action and a new gold standard for what the superhero genre can be. It’s absolutely worth a watch for any ticket price, and maybe even two or three watches if you can’t wait for the home release.

“Endgame” might seem like the end — and in many ways, it is — but I think it’s more accurate to call it a stop along the way. If you want to get off now, that’s fine. After a ride like that, I don’t blame you one bit.

But if you’re looking for more, I’m sure there’s more fun from Marvel just around the corner.

Final verdict: A

Kyle Hampel is the copy chief and deputy multimedia editor for the Collegian and a senior in English. The views and opinions expressed in this review are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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Kyle Hampel
Those words you just read were written by me, Kyle Hampel. I'm an English major who has very strong feelings about barbecue pizza and the Oxford comma. I like to write articles about my strong opinions, too! I also play lots of musical instruments and video games, but never at the same time. I'm the copy editor and a deputy multimedia editor this semester. Beloit, Kansas, is proud to call me their own, along with several other towns I've lived in that aren't as special to me.