Avengers: Endgame, rated PG-13
Avengers: Endgame, a highly anticipated film, brings to an end the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) storyline that began with 2008’s Iron Man, and has continued now through 22 films and all of those mid and post-credits scenes that we have sat and waited for. The three-hour film will satisfy MCU fans, as it looks back on the previous films and characters, but it does contain some content concerns that you will want to be aware of.
The film is directed by brothers and Emmy winners Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (Arrested Development) and written by Emmy winners Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (The Life and Death of Peter Sellers). While the film had an estimated budget of approximately $400 million, it made a record-setting $350 million in the U.S. opening weekend, and an incredible $1.2 billion worldwide.
2018’s Avengers: Infinity War ended somberly with the formidable villain Thanos, voiced by Oscar nominee Josh Brolin (Milk), finally possessing all of the six Infinity Stones that he had been seeking. Thanos, who says he is Inevitable, then used the power he gained from the stones to snap his fingers and wipe out half of all existence, including superheroes such as Black Panther, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and many more.
Avengers: Endgame opens with a family picnic scene in which the family of Clint Barton/Hawkeye, played by two-time Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner (The Town, The Hurt Locker), suddenly disappears due to the snap. The film then moves forward about three weeks after “the snap”.
Tony Stark/Iron Man, played by two-time Oscar nominee Robert Downey Jr (Tropic Thunder, Chaplin) is drifting in his spacecraft and about to run out of oxygen, when he is rescued by Captain Marvel, played by Oscar winner Brie Larson (Room). We then see the surviving heroes trying to deal with what has happened and how to move forward. Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, played by four-time Golden Globe nominee Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation, Match Point), is monitoring the activity of a few remaining heroes, and eating peanut butter sandwiches. Steve Rogers/Captain America, played by Chris Evans, tells her that everyone else has found a way to move on except the remaining Avengers. Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth, is found with long hair and a mangy beard, drinking a lot of beer, and has developed a huge beer belly. Bruce Banner/Hulk played by three-time Oscar nominee Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight, Foxcatcher, The Kids Are Alright), is embracing his celebrity, taking photos with fans.
The remaining superheroes need to find a way to reverse Thanos’ destruction. Scott Lang/Ant-Man, played by Paul Rudd, has an idea on how to do that. Tony Stark now lives in a cabin home on a lake with his wife Pepper Potts, played by Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow (Shakespeare in Love), and young daughter. When the others bring that idea to him, he’s initially not convinced it would work.
It’s now all up to the much smaller Avengers crew – Iron Man, Black Widow, Ant-Man, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye, Hulk, James Rhodes/War Machine, played by Oscar nominee Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda), Rocky, voiced by seven-time Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born, American Sniper, American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook), and Thanos’ daughter Nebula, played by Karen Gillan.
The film includes a number of cameos of characters from the previous 22 MCU films as it weaves in plotlines from those films. As a result, this is probably not a film to see if you are not at least somewhat familiar with the MCU superheroes and films. The musical score by two-time Oscar nominee Alan Silvestri (Forrest Gump, The Polar Express) is excellent.
Content concerns include the usual superhero violence/battle scenes, and some completely unnecessary adult language, including several abuses of God’s name and one abuse of Jesus’ name. Themes in the film include family, loss, and self-sacrifice.
Avengers: Endgame is a satisfying end to stories that have been building over 21 previous films. The film is emotional at times, both funny and sad, and is the best film I’ve seen this year. This is one film that lives up to the hype.
Note: unlike other MCU films, there is no mid or post credits scene.