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Avengers: Endgame is the final film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU’s) twenty-two movie story arc. It’s the conclusion to last year’s Avengers: Infinity War.
Neutral – Same Great Taste: Avengers: Endgame is the culmination of twenty-one previous films. It has Easter eggs, plot points, characters, and references that demand you’ve seen at least six or seven of the previous films, and reward those who have seen all twenty-one. That works great, because the film tends to be a lot like CrossFit; people are either all in or they’re all out. Nobody does CrossFit just one day a week. For those in the former camp, all that rich history and backstory allows Avengers: Endgame to push forward at a quick pace and not get mired in rehashing. This movie is a ten out of ten for that crowd. For the latter, if you’ve never seen a Marvel movie, you’re probably not starting now. And to be clear, there is nothing in this movie to draw someone in who hasn’t been pulled in in the past.
Pro – Landing the Plane: Great storytelling over an extended period in T.V. and film is rare. Great storytelling that delivers a conclusion that lives up to such a story is “bigfoot” rare. The burden on this film was immense. Not only did it have to wrap up twenty-one other (mostly) fantastic movies, including last year’s masterpiece, Avengers: Infinity War, it had to deal with a slew of actors/characters as well as the march of time (George W. Bush was president when the first film released!) The Russo brothers have managed to pull off an ending worthy of all that build-up. There are some minor cheats I won’t spoil, but given the herculean task at hand, they are easily grantable. Further, Avengers: Endgame manages to subvert expectation in various parts in smart and thoughtful ways while still staying true to its core story and DNA. Additionally, for a three hour plus film, it’s remarkable how briskly it moves and how engaging it stays.
Pro – The Spectacle: Avengers: Endgame is really what fun at the theater is all about. It’s big, it’s loud, and it’s flashy. It creates a sense of adventure and escape that rarely rises to such high heights. Rest assured, it also uses the weight of the movies before it and the audience’s investment in the characters to bring all the emotions to bear. People audibly laughed, cheered, gasped, and cried throughout the film. The visuals are amazing. When the final climactic battle scene arrives, it looks like the center splash page of a comic book has been given life up on the screen. There are scenes in this film that could be watched five to six times with new discoveries made each time.
Avengers: Endgame turned out better than anyone could have expected the conclusion to this story to be. It’s not without its warts and quibbles but complaining about those feels like pointing out a speck of dirt on the floor in front of the Mona Lisa. If you have any investment in the MCU at all, this film is likely to be the best experience you have at the theater this year, and perhaps in a long time. You must drive, fly, or navigate the quantum realm down to the Fridley Palms Theatre and check this one out.

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