Saturday, May 11, 2019

Avengers: Endgame

★★★★★ - A Review by Cameron Kanachki

11 years. 21 films. That's the existence length & film count of the Marvel Cinematic Universe up through April 25. In those 11 years, we have been introduced to so many characters, some of us practically growing up with them, through their rises & falls, through the good films & the bad films. But, as the old adage goes, "all good things must come to an end."

But what an end Avengers: Endgame is. It is the perfect conclusion to The Infinity Saga. The film follows The Avengers: Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.); Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America (Chris Evans); Bruce Banner, AKA Hulk (Mark Ruffalo); Thor Odinson, AKA Thor (Chris Hemsworth); Natasha Romanoff, AKA Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson); & Clint Barton, AKA Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). The Avengers are reeling from their loss to intergalactic despot Thanos (Josh Brolin), which took from them many people closest to them: Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), T'Challa, AKA Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman); Peter Parker, AKA Spider-Man (Tom Holland); Gamora (Zoe Saldana); Hope van Dyne, AKA Wasp (Evangeline Lilly); Wanda Maximoff, AKA Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen); Sam Wilson, AKA Falcon (Anthony Mackie); James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes, AKA Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan); Loki (Tom Hiddleston); Mantis (Pom Klementieff); Drax (Dave Bautista); Shuri (Letitia Wright); Hank Pym (Michael Douglas); Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer); Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders); Groot (Vin Diesel); Peter Quill, AKA Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), & Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), along with half of the living creatures in the universe.

Amidst their grief, The Avengers, along with James "Rhodey" Rhodes, AKA War Machine (Don Cheadle); Scott Lang, AKA Ant-Man (Paul Rudd); Carol Danvers, AKA Captain Marvel (Brie Larson); Nebula (Karen Gillan); Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper); Okoye (Danai Gurira); Wong (Benedict Wong); Harold "Happy" Hogan (Jon Favreau); & Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), try to come up with a plan to defeat Thanos & bring back everyone that disappeared in The Snap. They will do whatever it takes to see this succeed.

The cast is phenomenal. Robert Downey Jr. gives the best performance of the MCU & of his career with an emotionally staggering performance. Chris Evans also gives a superb performance. And Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Paul Rudd & Josh Brolin give great supporting performances.

The direction by Joe & Anthony Russo is terrific. The Russo brothers perfectly balance (pun intended) comedic & dramatic tones, & also terrifically visualize the action sequences, especially the main battle, which is the best battle sequence depicted on screen since the Battle of Helm's Deep in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

The screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely is amazing. The narrative is very emotionally powered, the characters are well-developed, & the dialogue is very well-written.

Trent Opaloch's cinematography is astounding. The color palette is greatly varying, & the shot composition is very well-composed.

The editing by Jeffrey Ford & Matthew Schmidt is excellent. Not only is the film cut very well, but it makes the film's immense 3-hour runtime feel brisk.

Charles Wood's production design is superb. The set design of the various locales on Earth & on other planets is completely immersive.

The makeup & hairstyling is fantastic. The makeup truly transforms the actors into truly unrecognizable characters.

The sound design is impeccable. The sounds of the action are well-created & perfectly mixed to create a loud, immersive experience.

The visual effects are incredible. The CGI is absolutely flawless, & the practical effects have also been realized to their full potential.

And Alan Silvestri's score is a masterwork. Buoyed by an orchestra, the score is able to provoke so many emotions, & is easily Silvestri's best work yet.

This is the best film of the MCU, & the best superhero film ever made. It is an emotional send-off to one of the greatest sagas in all of film history.

Avengers: Endgame was seen by me at the AMC Forum 30 in Sterling Heights, MI on Friday, April 26, 2019. It is currently in theaters everywhere. Its runtime is 181 minutes, & it is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence & action, & some language.

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