After the jaw-dropping ending to Infinity War last April, we have all spent the last twelve months speculating and theorising on how the Avengers can bounce back from the wrath and destruction of the mighty Thanos (Josh Brolin). Excitement was already extraordinary for Infinity War, so once the film exceeded expectations, it meant that Endgame came with unprecedented levels of anticipation. This was the conclusion to an eleven year saga and is hands down the biggest cinema release of the century.

Endgame is a stunning cinematic experience. This is audacious and riveting viewing from beginning to end, never going the way you think it will. Within the first twenty minutes, everything you’re expecting from the movie will have evaporated, and the twists and turns do not stop there. It’s not perfect, as at times it can get a bit convoluted, but the action is as impressive and destructive as you hope and they put a strong focus on the characters and the mission, which really helps elevate the film.

I’m so glad Marvel altered the original title of ‘Infinity War Part 2’ as this certainly creates its own story as a new Avengers movie. The majority of the film centres on our original six heroes from 2012’s Avengers Assemble and is all the better for it. This is the culmination to their remarkable journey.

It’s difficult to even remotely talk about the plot without entering spoilers, and its best enjoyed knowing as little as possible going in. All I’d say is that the film takes up a three part structure of sorts. Part one is slow but important, sure to not please every viewer with its pacing but I found it handled the grief our heroes are suffering from very well. Part two is where the story finally kicks in and is a ton of fun, whilst the third act is the finale we all craved and desired. These final two hours are where the film picks up significantly, taking the franchise to all new heights with some of the most pleasurable and epic sequences you’re ever likely to see on the big screen.

However, it is not better than Infinity War. I thought Infinity was a better made movie and the ending was so unexpected and shocking that it will stay with me forever. Endgame is still a fantastic film, but it isn’t as tightly wielded as its predecessor. I also thought Infinity was one of Marvel’s funniest movies to date, whilst here the joke rate is far less successful. There are still plenty of hilarious moments (Rocket, Hulk and Ant-Man especially) but sometimes it feels miscalculated, particularly how they handle Thor.

Everyone has their moments in the spotlight, with Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye and Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man used especially well, but the film belongs to Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man and Chris Evans’ Captain America. They’ve always been the big stars, stealing each film they’re in with charm and likeability, and here they are at their strongest yet. The emotion these two go through and the determination to put things right is moving and potent.

Above all else, this is a highly satisfying conclusion. This is for all the fans that have been there from the beginning, with an abundance of fan-service moments throughout which will have you throwing a fist in the air. Big credit must go to directors Anthony & Joe Russo and screenwriters Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, who as a four have now given us Endgame, Infinity War, Civil War and The Winter Soldier, by far my top four favourite movies within the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. They have delivered exhilarating action, characters we’re emotionally invested in and the climax to cinema’s greatest crossover event.

With the constant throwbacks and references to previous films, this is crowd-pleasing entertainment at its finest and a fitting tribute to the MCU as a whole. Newcomers may struggle, but then again who by now is new to this unbelievable and unforgettable franchise?

Verdict: Although easy to nit-pick, this is one of the most brave, ambitious and thrilling superhero movies you’re ever likely to see. Endgame is a lot to process, but it’s the near-perfect finale to this Infinity Stones Saga.
Best Moment: Captain America uses a weapon which isn’t his shield
Rating: 8.5/10