To infinity … and beyond

An excellent conclusion to one saga in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Starring Robert Downey Jr., Josh Brolin, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans and Brie Larson. Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo. Rated PG-13.
Rated 4.0

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) gets its most grandiose chapter with the 22nd film of the series, Avengers: Endgame. It’s a fitting successor to last year’s Avengers: Infinity War and a gift to those of us who like our movies with super-heroes in them.

When last we saw Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), he had just survived the dreaded finger snap of cosmic supervillain Thanos (Josh Brolin), a universe-altering occurrence that took out half its living creatures and provided for the tear-jerking moment when Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and many others turned to dust.

Endgame picks up where that film left off, with Stark floating in space and recording a video journal of his seemingly inevitable demise. Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Rocket the raccoon (voice of Bradley Cooper) are among the superhero survivors who are having to deal with the repercussions of so much death on Earth.

There are tons of questions this movie needed to answer: Is everybody really dead? Where’s Thanos? Where’s Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner)? Is Tony Stark doomed in space? What’s been going on with Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) during all of this? Does Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) still have his Walkman in the great beyond? And, how can I really talk about anything specific in this film without becoming the Spoiler King?

I can say that the movie answers many of the questions everyone’s been asking, and more, thanks to another well-balanced screenplay and a crack directorial job from the team of Anthony and Joe Russo. When you leave Endgame, your belly will be full of cinematic satisfaction.

I can also tell you that the movie borrows a lot from Back to the Future Part II, and that the Hulk undergoes a fantastic wardrobe change.

Despite a three-hour running time, all of this zips by in spectacularly entertaining fashion and very rarely misses the mark. There are a few moments when it’s evident that all of the stars on screen weren’t filmed at the same time in the same place. This is a forgivable offense. No chance you are going to get this many characters into one room together without the help of CGI.

In the midst of all the action, Downey Jr. delivers another soulful, endearing performance, well beyond anything you would’ve expected from a Marvel movie before he started showing up in them. Evans continues to rock, and Hemsworth and Ruffalo explore even more humorous variations of their characters.

Are the Marvel movies anywhere near over with Endgame? Don’t be silly. This is just the end of “The Infinity Saga” portion of the MCU. James Gunn just got his job back as the director/commander of the Guardians of the Galaxy series, Captain Marvel is just getting started, and Spider-Man: Far From Home will be in theaters in just a couple of months (July 2). That’s not even counting the other Marvel Studios ventures, such as the non-MCU X-Men franchise, which has two new features scheduled to come out before year’s end—Dark Phoenix (June 2) and The New Mutants (Aug. 2).

Have some of the more popular story arcs within the Universe reached their conclusions? Maybe. I’m not telling. Set aside an eighth of one of your days and sit yourself down at the theater and get some answers.