Runner Review: ‘Endgame’ is a love story to fans

By Jorge Avila, Opinion Writer

Jorge's Rating

“Avengers Endgame,” directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, is the ultimate culmination of 11 years and 22 films all coming to a head in this epic 3-hour finale to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). “Endgame” doesn’t really function as a regular film, but rather a greatest hits reel spanning the entire franchise, delivering satisfying fanservice at every turn.

This could prove alienating to anyone who isn’t really a major fan of the MCU, but the truth is “Endgame” is a film made specifically for its fans; it is a love letter for everyone who has followed these characters and their stories for the last decade.

It’s hard to imagine I was only 10 years old when “Iron Man,” the movie that kickstarted the MCU, first hit theaters. Even harder to imagine is the idea that people weren’t really excited about the movie. At the time, the character of Iron Man was relatively unknown to general audiences.

Add to that the controversial casting of Robert Downey Jr., an actor recovering from a shaky past and damaged public persona, and you’ve got an almost guaranteed box office flop. Despite all this, “Iron Man” exceeded all expectations, wowing critics and audiences alike. The success of “Iron Man” proved that superheroes could hold a place in cinema, and thus the MCU was born.

One of the fondest theater experiences I can remember is my first time watching “The Avengers” back in 2012. The idea of all these superheroes coming together and interacting in the same film was unprecedented at the time.

I remember the droves of fans waiting in line outside the theater (some even brought tents), all eager to rush their way in as soon as the doors opened. The film scored a total $1.5 billion gross worldwide, according to website Box Office Mojo, further solidifying the franchise’s place as king of the box office.

The MCU had become so successful that just about any release from the studio was a guaranteed success, which they proved with the release of films based on even more obscure comic book titles such as Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy.

With each new film, the MCU expanded its catalogue of heroes, adding to its overall story and growing increasingly complex. In a way, keeping up with the MCU became homework for moviegoers, but it was an assignment fans were happy to complete as the narrative edged closer and closer to its conclusion: “Avengers Endgame.”

All that homework paid off for moviegoers with “Endgame” proving to be an emotionally gut-punching and action-packed roller coaster of a movie.

Following the Avengers’ journey to undo the events of the previous film and defeat Thanos once and for all, “Endgame” takes several narrative twists and turns paying tribute to the entire MCU along the way.

It’s a rewarding watch for anyone even remotely invested in the franchise, which is why this review isn’t really meant to speak to the quality of the film, but instead describe what it feels like to witness an entire decade of storytelling compacted into a single package.

Being a fan of the MCU myself, I can’t help but feel biased towards “Endgame” and everything it represents. I know it’s not a film for everyone, but it speaks volumes that a franchise that started out with such minimal expectations, resting its entire existence on the shoulders of an obscure hero and underdog actor, has managed to resonate with so many people around the world.

After just two weeks in theaters, “Avengers Endgame” has crossed the $2 billion mark globally according to writer Sonaiya Kelley of the Los Angeles Times, and is purported to dethrone “Avatar” as the highest grossing film of all time. Whether it does or not, the film has already made box office history, and will be remembered by fans years down the line as a truly once in a lifetime cinematic event.