Avengers: Endgame is a staggering, sweeping epic that touches every corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The densely plotted, three hour runtime has emotional highs that will hit fandom like a freight train. The details do get hazy. There are points where the film feels like an avalanche of exposition. Thankfully the labyrinth becomes clear for an ass-kicking finale. This review is spoiler free.
The world is devastated by the horrific aftermath of the Infinity War. Half the planet's life has vanished. Sorrow and failure have overtaken the survivors. The remaining Avengers, especially Thor (Chris Hemsworth), are consumed with guilt. As Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) search for some kind of response. They are joined by a powerful new ally, Carol "Captain Marvel" Danvers (Brie Larson), whose abilities to travel through space are critical.
Meanwhile in San Francisco, a stroke of random luck brings Scott "Ant-Man" Lang (Paul Rudd) back into the picture. His return opens an entirely new possibility to our beleaguered heroes. Space and time can be manipulated in the quantum realm. The laws of physics may be broken. If they can somehow recreate Scott's escape, then there is a chance to undo the damage done by Thanos (Josh Brolin).
Avengers: Endgame has a spectacularly intricate plot. Key events from the previous MCU films are seen from an entirely different perspective. Screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely come out of the gate at full throttle. They expect the audience to know what has transpired previously. If you don't, or haven't seen the entire catalog, then the first hour of Avengers: Endgame will be a blur. This is not the film for a casual fan of the genre. It is red meat, sinews, and tendons for the diehards. That said, the logic behind the story is also a bit tenuous. The narrative will certainly spur debates.
The film does a good job of alleviating the doom and gloom with pockets of well-timed humor. A few characters have not adapted to the changes and are comically struggling. Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and Thor are an absolute laugh riot. They provide the lion's share of comic relief. Others that weren't involved with infinity War also make their presence felt. You'll get several chuckles from a few surprise places.
Avengers: Endgame delivers the action goods from the heavy hitters we expect. Captain America will have you cheering in your seat. His story arc is brilliant. The character embodies the values of team spirit. He has several rallying speeches that will pull your heartstrings tight. Even Rocket and Nebula (Karen Gillan), who disdain authority, are mightily impressed by Cap's command. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) is a beast and a half here. His murderous skill set is finally unleashed in all of its glory.
Avengers: Endgame is a lot to digest in one sitting. You could watch the film a dozen times and discover something new. At first blush, it's tremendously entertaining. Do not take a bathroom break. You'll definitely miss something important. The MCU goes big and bold in its bookend chapter. I can't even imagine the scope of Marvel Studios next phase.