My mom often tells me of how much she remembers seeing Return of the Jedi in the movie theater when it first came out, and how nearly everyone in the packed auditorium was cheering and clapping with excitement throughout the film. It seemed unlikely that any movie would illicit quite that level of audience response in my lifetime, until last night, when I got to watch this one. It was unlike any experience I’ve ever had in a cinema, and I highly recommend you see it in a packed house filled with excited fans.
The movie itself picks up right where we left off after last year’s Avengers: Infinity War, with Thanos having just wiped out half of all life in the universe with the snap of his fingers. The survivors are left to deal with their grief and feelings of guilt while still trying to hold out hope that they can find a way to reverse what has been done. Suffice it to say that ultimately a plan is formed, and that’s all I’ll say about the plot to avoid giving anything away. The movie does have several more somber moments than the typical MCU fare, other than perhaps the ending of the aforementioned Infinity War, but they are all well-earned after 11 years and 21 movies, and executed with surprising grace. This isn’t to say that this is a dour affair, this is a Marvel movie after all, so quirk bursts of action and plenty of quippy humor is laced throughout, but the beginning of this film is probably a lot talkier than fans are used to. And it works. By focusing on a far narrower group of heroes than the last Avengers outing, it gives each of their story arcs more time to develop, and helps to keep the reasons we fell in love with them in the first place fresh in our memories. At just over 3 hours in duration, this is far and away the longest movie in the franchise, and even though the action doesn’t truly kick in until the last hour, the time flies by. And when things finally do shift into high gear, it is a spectacle unlike anything I’ve ever seen on screen, that is staged flawlessly. Despite the epic scale and chaotic nature of the battle, I could always easily tell what was going on and the status of all of the important characters. I honestly can’t think of any way that this movie could have been better, and based on all the applause, cheers, and tears in the audience, I don’t think anyone else watching could either. This is the perfect conclusion to all that came before it and I loved it three thousand. ★★★★★ – Sean Farrell
★★★★★ = Excellent | ★★★★ = Very Good | ★★★ = Good | ★★ = Fair | ★ = Poor