We’ve seen The Snap, we’ve watched the dust fade, and now there’s nothing left but to stake out our place in line at the theater. Avengers: Endgame arrives to fulfill the MCU’s Infinity War-shaped destiny this week, and early reviews are almost universal in their praise for how Endgame ties together the emotional threads left dangling not only by Infinity War, but by an entire decade’s worth of Marvel movies.
Marvel’s secrecy surrounding Endgame’s story has effectively heightened anticipation for what already was likely to be the biggest movie of 2019 (although The Rise of Skywalker may have something to say about that come December). That added dose of mystery appears to have paid off big with reviewers, most of whom say Endgame isn’t just everything an Infinity War fan could possibly have hoped for — it’s also much, much more than that.
**SPOILER WARNING: Some of these reviews may contain spoilers for Avengers: Endgame. You’ve waited this long, so if you want to go into the movie with fresh eyes, turn back now!**
Here, without further ado, is just a sampling of some of the laurels critics are throwing at Endgame’s feet:
Avengers: Endgame is easily the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most ambitious, emotional, and affecting film to date, somehow managing to tie up more than a decade of storytelling in a confident (and mostly coherent) climax — a hurdle that many other blockbuster franchises have stumbled over in their final runs.
It will inevitably provoke years of spirited debate among fans, and an overreliance on messy CGI action blunts some of its impact, but in terms of pure heart, Endgame holds nothing back.
Ultimately, Endgame understands a simple human response: how nice it is, how reassuring, to see and feel something complete. To have all the pieces finally arrayed together, set before us like totems of some vague accomplishment we managed just by sitting there for all those hours. The trick is how well the Russos juggle the convergence, giving pretty much everyone their due while also taking surprising and heartening pauses to focus on more sidelined characters who, it turns out, have something interesting to say or do. A disarming affection runs through Endgame like a slowly crescendoing chord, a sweet and harmonious blend of notes that turns into a rousing chorus of voices by picture’s end.
Yes, there's a big climactic battle and the decisive death of a major character (for all the conflict depicted, the mortality rate is very low, for the sake of films to come, no doubt), but no action on the level of Game of Thrones or Marvel's own Black Panther. No, what comes across most strongly here, oddly enough for an effects-driven comic-book-derived film, is the character acting, especially from Downey, Ruffalo, Evans, Hemsworth, Brolin and Paul Rudd as Ant-Man.
Time and again, Endgame makes the point that family matters, whether that means biological ties — as Iron Man, Hawkeye, Ant Man, and Thor have experienced — or those bound by duty. The final takeaway from this decade-long journey is that heroism isn’t defined by bravery or super-abilities, but by what one gives up for the greater good. Among the many frustrations of the Snap was that it robbed so many great characters — and gazillions of anonymous creatures throughout the galaxy — of proactively making that choice. Endgame isn’t exactly a do-over, but it builds to an infinitely more satisfying conclusion.
[I]f you enjoyed Infinity War because you are invested enough in these characters — and to their credit, these really are characters and not just pieces on a gameboard — to have enjoyed the interplay between people we never thought we’d see together, you’ll find that same delight here in reunions and partings, betrayals and sacrifices. There’s more than a whiff of World War II cinema here, with brave soldiers (of both genders) giving of themselves for the greater good alongside the sweethearts who will mourn them.
Endgame is tragic and uplifting, rousing and grounding, while leaving minds racing and making everybody cry (even the toughest guys). Marvel movies have managed to find endearing, crowd-pleasing magic amid these fun and flawed comic-book characters in the past decade, and Endgame pays off all that goodwill by letting them do what they do best on the biggest stage yet.
The biggest question the film leaves open is whether the Avengers — as a name brand in the Marvel Universe — should continue after this barnstorming ending. The Marvel experiment continues apace, with many (mostly untitled) new editions on the docket, and Endgame will make more than enough money to justify them. But it’s hard to know if the series will ever be able to replicate the peculiar magic of this movie’s finale, which had me realizing with a jolt, over and over again, how much I cared about the lives of these loud, wisecracking, CGI-bedazzled champions ... All I know is that Thanos’ demand for a dramatic ending in Infinity War pays off here in all the right ways. The Avengers, as a concept, probably won’t be going anywhere, but Endgame still feels like a proper goodbye.
Avengers: Endgame is everything you’ve ever dreamed a Marvel movie could be. It’s a three-hour adrenaline shot to the heart featuring mysteries solved, consequences suffered, shock, awe, and delight. Some scenes have a scope so huge, the mind reels to comprehend what you’re watching. Others are so poignant and small, you’ll hear the sniffles echoing in the theater. The film’s unrelenting bombardment of story and visual effects are sometimes so dense they edge toward baffling, but they also help gloss over a smattering of problems, which were inevitable with such grandiose goals. Endgame was never going to be perfect. But it comes damn close and, at times, rises to a state of near transcendence.
Ultimately, Avengers: Endgame is a whole lotta movie, but the filmmakers put every single second of its three-hour runtime to good use ... While there are bound to be aspects of Avengers: Endgame that don't work for all viewers, for the most part the movie actually, truly offers a satisfying ending to the Infinity Saga. As a result, Avengers: Endgame is a must-see for Marvel fans, even those who have only a casual interest in the MCU. Because of the spectacle, it's worth seeing Avengers: Endgame in IMAX, though it isn't necessary to enjoy the movie. Marvel Studios' latest faces the highest expectations of any Marvel Studios movie thus far and manages to exceed them, which is nothing short of extraordinary. Simply speaking, Avengers: Endgame is one of the best Marvel movies ever.
Reviewers are usually a finicky and hard-to-please bunch, especially when it comes to superhero movies where purple Titans and CGI effects are part of the appeal. But as you can see, even the critics are dumbstruck by whatever goodness Endgame must be packing. We should have known something was up after Endgame’s April 22 early premiere, when media members started blasting out giddily enthusiastic reactions across social media.
Only a day after reviews for Endgame began hitting the web, it had already soared to the top of Rotten Tomatoes’ list of best-reviewed Marvel movies — as well as taken its place among the site’s all-time list of best-reviewed movies, period.
Two days before Endgame opened in wide release, the successor to Infinity War had racked up a near-perfect Tomatometer rating of 97 percent, settling in alongside Black Panther, at least in the early going, at the top of the aggregator’s “certified fresh” list of Marvel movies.
While that enviable number could shift up or down slightly, Endgame’s overall esteem in critics’ eyes isn’t likely to shift much. Across the internet, reviewers raced to get their impressions online the second the studio’s embargo lifted, and Endgame’s April 24 Tomatometer score was based on more than 170 pro reviews.
It only whets our appetite even more to see how the Russo brothers, along with this ensemble cast of heroes we’ve grown so invested in, figure out a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of Thanos’ Infinity War victory. The wait’s almost over: We’ll do whatever it takes to be first in line when Avengers: Endgame finally arrives in theaters on April 26.