NO SPOILERS-ASSUMING YOU'VE SEEN INFINITY WAR
After 22 films starting with "Ironman", this cycle of the Marvel film universe comes to a spectacular, perfect close with AVENGERS ENDGAME.
The world is in chaos after the events of last year's 'Avengers Infinity War", with half the world's population and half of our superhero stable faded into dust with a snap of Thanos' fingers.
Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) is stuck in space, Captain America (Chris Evans) is feeling defeated, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) are lost on their path and Thor (a terrific Chris Hemsworth, stealing the movie throughout) sits in a corner, silent.
What I loved about the film is that I walked in with a theory on how they were going to fix the Thanos snap. I was sure I had it in hand.
But directors Anthony and Joe Russo and their writers not only took my theory off the table in the first 30 minutes, they smashed it to pieces.
I loved it. I had no idea where this action packed, multi-universe adventure was going but I didn't expect it to be so packed with laugh out loud moments and emotional wallops.
These are filmmakers at the absolute peak of their game and everyone is all in.
It's nice to see Jeremy Renner finally get his due as Hawkeye. His dark side is a very dangerous place to be.
Having fun with time travel, the story basically serves up the ultimate Back to the Future homage with a hell of a lot more at stake.
James Brolin is terrific as Thanos too, making the most of his screen time. Paul Rudd gets to show his dramatic skills with a more serious turn from Ant Man than we've seen in the past. Bradley Cooper nails every punch line as Rocket.
What so many of the Marvel movies have got right is creating impossible superhero moments, rooted in real emotions, real people and real consequences.
That continues in ENDGAME with the stakes higher than ever and the suspense building over a solid, fast-moving three hours. I'm so sick of everyone online bitching that the movie is 181 minutes long. When it moves this quickly, who cares? Just enjoy it!
There are genuine moments of triumph that got the entire audience cheering and clapping as one. How often does THAT happen anymore at the movies?
The last hour of the movie is flawless, topping Infinity War in scale and emotional payoff. It leaves you exhausted, happy and devastated at the same time.
The filmmakers must have seen Star Trek VI too, because they copy that film's terrific final credits by allowing each member of the Avengers team to appear on screen as their signatures scroll out. It's the perfect moment to recognize each and their contribution to the incredibly successful franchise.
Alan Silvestri's music score is omnipresent in all the right ways, with some HUGE payoff moments for fans.
ENDGAME is the ultimate sendoff. Emotional, powerfully sad, hilarious, stuffed with fan references to the other 22 films, it's the biggest box office hit of all time with $350 million USA and $1.2 BILLION its first three days.
It deserves every dollar. My expectations were very high and it exceeded every one.
Thanks for the best film series of the past decade, Marvel. Keep 'em coming.
ENDGAME blazes its way to an A+.