It’s been a long time coming but the final part of the Avengers franchise has arrived and it is the pinnacle of the superhero movie.
The big finale had everything we could have possibly asked for: epic battle sequences; heroic sacrifices and a couple of surprise heartfelt moments along the way. The biggest surprise of them all though was perhaps how small a role Captain Marvel played in the Endgame events. She had some pretty huge moments but for the majority of the feature, Iron Man and Thor were the points of focus.
Let’s first talk about Thor’s character arc because it was crafted so wonderfully. Following the snap, Thor took the team’s failure the hardest. He angrily decapitated Thanos before retreating into his home in New Azgard. Here, Thor ceases to take care of himself and spends his days drinking himself into oblivion, leaving the house only to pick up more beer. What we see is a fallen superhero, a character trope often used in DC but rarely in Marvel. The God of Thunder is the hero that seemed least likely to crumble but the expectation for him to be great is what ultimately caused him to surrender. We watch him gain weight, cry in his mother’s arms and experience a panic attack. All of a sudden, we can intimately relate to the immortal god and when he reclaims his hammer and steps up in battle, his triumph is made all the more meaningful.
Other triumphant moments included Captain America saving Thor with his own hammer, proving himself worthy of the weapon. Captain America passes his shield onto Falcon and Agent Carter finally gets the dance she was promised. Most importantly, the arrival of Wakanda’s army, the guardians of the galaxy and every other Marvel superhero was every bit as epic as we hoped. We couldn’t help but sit there grinning as over a decade of Marvel cinema came together for one final showdown.
And then, of course, came Iron Man’s final sacrifice. We may have sensed it coming but it was still emotional nonetheless. Earlier in the film, when Tony goes back in time and meets his father, the OG Stark tells him he hopes his son will be a better man than he is. When Tony asks why his father responds: “Let’s just say I never put the greater good before my own selfish needs.” We know that selfishness is something Tony struggles to keep in check too. For instance, when Ant-Man approaches him at the start with the time travel plan, Tony is reluctant to join because it could mean losing the almost-perfect life he has with his family. Ultimately then, his final sacrifice is a triumph for the greater good and an honorable way for the longest-running MCU superhero to go.
When the end credits flash on the screen, it is hard to believe that three hours had passed. Almost every scene is gripping, exciting or heartfelt, and Marvel hold nothing back when delivering the biggest budget Marvel feature to date.
The film is by no means flawless and with such high expectations, there is always room for disappointment. Regardless of what we felt was missing though, it is hard to deny that Avengers: Endgame is the pinnacle of the epic superhero showdown. And we’ve been craving it since 2009.