It’s a bit intimidating to post a review of a movie like this that is so anticipated and with so many expectations attached to it. Especially to do it in such a way not to give away any spoilers. But I liked the movie enough to where I just gotta do it.

To start with, this movie is a nearly 3-hour film so you may want to hit the bathroom right beforehand and take it easy on the drinks during the movie. The first third of the movie is mostly focused on the various surviving characters and how they are coping with life after the disappearances. Most of it is pretty somber as one would expect, though the (slightly shocking?) portrayal of a changed Thor injects some humor in an otherwise grim time (I felt it provided a nice contrast to the otherwise somber tone, and at least it’s a far more interesting Thor than in the first movie). The second third of the movie slowly builds the action up with the heroes’ plan to bring back the vanished half of the population, and the last third is where most of the major action resides. There is a bit of an extended epilogue to the film after the main action of the story is over. Not as drawn out as Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, but still notable (and essential, as I will mention later).

I have no complaints with the acting, and while the movie focused heavily on Robert Downey Jr’s and Chris Evans’ characters (and neither of them disappoint) the movie did it’s best to give every surviving character a decent amount of exposure. The special effects and action scenes were top notch, so action junkies will likely gladly endure the slow build-up to get to the ultimate climax. But what I think this film did best was how well it drew together the storylines of the various Marvel Cinematic Universe movies and wrapped them up in a meaningful way. I’ve always felt the lack of consistent vision and planned story arc has often been the biggest weakness of most TV series and movie franchises. For example, how much better would the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series have been if Joss Whedon had the full creative control to pursue dedicated story arcs beyond one or two seasons? With Avengers: Endgame, however, I believe this happens to be its biggest strength as a movie. As a standalone movie it is very good, but the way it ties together all the other Marvel movies and character story-lines into one finale was its biggest achievement, in my opinion. The epilogue I mentioned earlier was part of that, and while some may not like that in a movie I felt it was essential in giving a meaningful treatment to many of the primary characters.

The joy of the movie was not really in any surprise endings since most people can guess the general way the movie will conclude, but rather it was in seeing the various paths the filmmakers have chosen to make that expected ending happen. Perhaps the movie is not on the same level of film art like the Godfather or Casablanca, but it was immensely enjoyable on all levels and THAT is what my rating system is ultimately based upon. So with that said, I give “Avengers: Endgame” my rarely given rating of…