“Avengers: Endgame” succeeds as a “Marvel movie” more than as a “movie” in the general sense. I don’t mean to say by this that I thought it was poorly made.

But that’s not why I saw “Endgame,” and if you’ve already watched it yourself, that’s not why you saw “Endgame,” either. 21 films into the greatest motion picture franchise in history (with the singular exception of “Star Wars”), we should probably have faith that Marvel Studios knows what they’re doing. With “Endgame,” we have to assume that they’re not pouring $356 million down the drain; everyone involved wanted to make a quality motion picture just as much as us lowly fans wanted to be entertained by it.

The reason I went out with my friends to see “Endgame” is I wanted to know what happened next. I’m a pretty serious fan of the comics, sure, but the plot of the on-screen “Infinity War” is entirely different (and, in my opinion, leagues better) than the one on panels. There’s this incredible kind of charisma to Marvel films, and “Endgame capitalizes on it more than any prior Marvel movie has, or could. Sitting in the theater, I suddenly found myself deeply invested in characters whose comics I don’t read, some of whose non-crossover movies I haven’t seen, because (thanks to the acting and some profoundly good writing) the emotional weight of dozens of character arcs and subplots coming to a head at the same time was overwhelming.

It’s very difficult to write a spoiler-free review of “Endgame” because the part everybody cares about is the story. I won’t mess you up here if you somehow care about spoilers but haven’t seen the film yet, but if you’ll permit me I need to talk about the ending of “Infinity War” for a bit. So spoilers for that.

Thanos is by far the most effective Marvel villain, and the boldest choice the writers ever made with his character was letting him win. “Endgame” is about how Earth’s Mightiest Heroes deal with the aftermath of his victory. The writers could have dodged this in any number of kitschy ways, but instead we got a thoughtful, creative piece of storytelling that resolves the “Avengers” plotline in a more satisfying way than I had thought possible.

The Marvel Studios writers’ room (credit must go to screenwriters Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus) outdo themselves here.Unorthodox character choices, genuine humor that matches the best of the MCU, and enough loose ends and tiny apparent plot holes to make sure we’ll be talking about it in cars, house parties, and hangouts for years to come.



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