“This is going to work, Steve.”

“I know it will. Because I don’t know what I’m going to do if it doesn’t.”

So spoke Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) to Captain America (Chris Evans) in the opening act of Avengers: Endgame. Quite poetically, leading into this crossover event, the above interaction no doubt reflects the minds of all Marvel fans flooding to see Endgame in the coming weeks. Naturally, fans are longing to watch their favourite characters together on screen for one last blast, but also desperate that the conclusion to this incredible 11-year journey lives up to expectations.

Endgame’s prologue sees our heroes defeated; Thanos’ (Josh Brolin) infamous finger-snap at the end of Avengers: Infinity War – coined officially as ‘The Decimation’ – has wiped out half of all living creatures in the universe. Now, the Avengers must unite one more time to reverse this grave catastrophe, “whatever it takes.”

So, has Marvel managed to make this overwhelmingly ambitious project work? The short answer: yes. Infinite times over, yes. Avengers: Endgame is not only a truly engrossing culmination to the ‘Infinity Saga’, it is also nothing short of a cinematic masterpiece.

The journey that began with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) in Iron Man back in 2008 is very intelligently tied up in Endgame. As the film unfolds, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely’s meticulous story planning becomes evident and gradually proves to be the most satisfying payoff any Marvel fan could have hoped for. Marvel President Kevin Feige, alongside directors Anthony and Joe Russo, have completed an impossible feat; Endgame is humorous, heart-breaking and perpetually captivating. It more than exceeds any presupposition laid before it with a swagger more equanimous than Stark’s ego, whilst also moulding an open route forward for the inevitable continuation of this formidable franchise. It’s one-of-a-kind experience; the perfect milestone to end this gigantic adventure, yet a glorious beginning for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Endgame’s greatest filmic achievement though, lies in its steady pace and indulgent narrative; taking things slow but never wasting time, yet speeding along whilst never rushing, everything fits perfectly into place in this three-hour work of genius that has a sophistication indicative of a Francis Ford Coppola paragon. Sure, it’s a high-budget superhero blockbuster featuring spectacular special effects, but as Marvel has proven before, that doesn’t mean a superhero film cannot tackle tones and styles not necessarily affiliated with the genre. In the realisation of its ambition, Endgame catapults the superhero genre to an unprecedented spectrum of film accomplishment; it is a piece of cinematic art, encapsulating yet conquering all that has come before it with majesty and self-assuredness.

But, as noted by Stark, “part of the journey is the end” and now the curtain draws on this dazzling superhero adventure. Though the encore of ‘Phase Three’ is yet to be seen in Spider-Man: Far From Home (in cinemas this July), Avengers: Endgame is a magnificent finale which allows The Avengers we so know and love the opportunity to sign off in remarkable fashion, leaving behind a Hulk-sized stamp on Hollywood history which will remain for ‘infinity’.

Avengers… Assemble. And take a bow.

5 stars

Image credit: MovieDB

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