'Avengers: Endgame' will completely blindside fans who think they know anything about the 3-hour franchise-ender

Disney/MarvelTony Stark and Steve Rogers put aside their differences to save the world in ‘Avengers: Endgame.’

  • Warning: There are the mildest of spoilers below for “Avengers: Endgame” that have been seen in trailers.
  • “Avengers: Endgame” is in theatres Friday and it’s the culmination of 22 movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • If you’ve been a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you’re going to want to see this one right away to avoid getting spoiled.

Bust out the tissues, Marvel fans. “Avengers: Endgame” is going to make you laugh, cheer aloud, tear up multiple times, and cry. By the film’s end, there were audible sniffles throughout INSIDER’s 10 a.m. press screening Tuesday morning.

“Endgame” is an emotional punch straight to the gut and an experience that demands to be seen on the largest screen possible – not only for the scope of the movie but for its final 30 to 40 minutes.

If you think you know where this movie is going based off of the over-abundance of teasers and trailers, I assure you, you don’t. And that’s a good thing. It’s going to be tough to top this one at the box office this summer.

What you need to know: This movie is three hours long, it was filmed completely in IMAX, and it’s a culmination of the 21 movies before it.

Iron man avengers endgameMarvel StudiosGet ready to strap in for a very long theatrical experience with ‘Avengers: Endgame.’

“Endgame” brings every Marvel Cinematic Universe since 2008’s “Iron Man” to one grand conclusion, regardless of whether or not phase three of the MCU ends with “Spider-Man: Far From Home” in July.

Picking up right where “Avengers: Infinity War” left, “Endgame” shows our remaining Avengers – Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, War Machine, Hulk, Rocket Raccoon, and more – in the aftermath of Thanos’ life-altering snap which decimated half of the universe. After noticing the Infinity Stones (more on them here) have been used again, our heroes go to pay Thanos a visit to undo the events of “Infinity War.” Unfortunately, they get some terrible news and it’s not going to be that easy.

If you think I’m giving a lot away, you’re wrong. That’s only about the first 20 minutes of the film. Brothers Anthony and Joe Russo are back in the director chair for “Endgame” and all of your favourites return. Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Danai Gurira, Don Cheadle, Karen Gillan, Paul Rudd, and Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon are just a few of the names in this very large cast.

I recommend seeing it on the largest screen possible if you want to get your money’s worth. The movie was filmed completely using IMAX cameras. If you see it any other way, you’ll still enjoy the movie, but you’ll be seeing it in a wide screen format as opposed to the more square IMAX format.

Avengers endgame imaxMarvelHere’s how a scene in ‘Avengers: Endgame’ looks on IMAX screens versus a standard screen. It’s the second movie ever to be filmed entirely in IMAX.

Will I be confused if I don’t rewatch every Marvel movie before this to understand “Endgame”? No.

You don’t need to watch every Marvel movie again before seeing “Endgame.” However, I highly recommend watching “Avengers: Infinity War.” “Endgame” wastes absolutely no time picking up where the 2018 movie left off. If you haven’t seen that film, you may be confused about what’s going on at the start. You may be wondering who Thanos is and why the Avengers are so upset with him.

If you do spend the time watching movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe again, you’ll be rewarded with a number of countless small winks and nods to dialogue and moments in previous movies. The most unexpected movie you should take a moment to revisit is arguably the MCU’s worst: “Thor: The Dark World.” Seriously.

You can read our list of six movies you should watch before seeing “Endgame” here. After seeing “Endgame,” I would revise that list and make “Guardians of the Galaxy” a must-watch.

What’s hot: Tony Stark and Captain America’s arcs, the return of Hawkeye, Stan Lee’s cameo, and the last 45 minutes of the movie.

Iron man tony starkMarvelTony Stark and Hawkeye have two of the most important arcs in ‘Endgame.’

“Endgame” is a large, sweeping narrative that would be an impossible challenge if it didn’t have a decade of films before it. It’s probably why some other films that have tried to deliver a similar spectacle (yes, “Justice League”) have paled in comparison. Because you know the core original Avengers who make up this film, “Endgame” doesn’t need to waste any time introducing or reintroducing them to audiences.

At its best, “Endgame” is fun and playful. The exchanges and pairings of a few characters in this film are laugh-out-loud funny. If you’ve been craving more of Thor and Rocket Raccoon on screen together since “Infinity War,” you’re in luck. But when you’re done laughing, the film knows just the right moment to pull the rug out from under you and leave you with your heart in your chest worried about your favourite characters. This happens several times over throughout “Endgame.”

It’s been several movies since we’ve seen Clint Barton/Hawkeye in “Captain America: Civil War.” If you’ve been hankering for some quality screen time with him, you’re going to get it here. “Endgame” feels as much his movie as anyone’s. He has a huge role to play in this film. He may very well come out as one of your favourite characters by the movie’s end if he hasn’t been on your radar.

Avengers endgame hawkeye roninDisney/MarvelHawkeye goes through a lot emotionally in ‘Avengers: Endgame.’

The heart of this movie lies, unsurprisingly, with the Avengers’ leaders, Captain America (Evans) and Iron Man (Downey Jr.). “Endgame” could just as easily be sequels to either of their respective franchises, providing satisfying and emotional conclusions to their stories to propel the MCU forward for the next several years. Any scene with Cap or Iron Man feels extra special since one of the biggest questions going into the film is whether or not both of them will make it out alive. After their fallout in “Civil War” (it’s a long story), it’s a joy to see them share so much screentime together in “Endgame.”

One of the biggest delights of this film is seeing how the end of “Infinity War” affects our main Avengers heroes. It has some unexpected consequences that should bring a smile to your face.

We’ve been waiting to see Stan Lee’s final cameo in the MCU, and while it wasn’t what I expected, it was a quick sweet moment fans will enjoy. Keep your eyes peeled for a bunch of unexpected cameos, including another from “Endgame” co-director Joe Russo who loves popping up in his “Avengers” movies.

There’s one distinct scene I won’t spoil that brought tears to my eyes that will have women in the audience cheering. The only thing I can compare it to is the first time in “Wonder Woman” when you see Diana Prince walking across No Man’s Land in her iconic costume. It’s that powerful of a moment.

Otherwise, there’s one sequence in “Endgame” I can’t wait to watch over and over again when this film becomes available on Blu-ray. Similar to “Infinity War,” the final 45 minutes or so of the fourth Avengers outing is one big action-packed I won’t say much else, but it’s on par with the aeroplane fight scene in “Civil War.”

What’s not: “Endgame” may be weighed down by its three-hour runtime and there’s at least one plot hole that sits with me long after the film is over.

Avengers endgameDisney/MarvelI’m not convinced we needed three hours to tell this story in, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

There’s so much of “Endgame” to enjoy, but I honestly don’t think this movie needed to be a complete three hours. Yes, there are a lot of narrative arcs that need to be accounted for in this film, but I think it’s important to remember this isn’t the first superhero movie to attempt to tell the sweeping story that “Endgame” accomplishes.

Without heavy spoilers, there’s only one other superhero movie I can think of that has ever attempted to do anything close to the scale of “Endgame” successfully and that’s Fox’s underrated 2014 hit “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” That movie, which sits at an impressive 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, was just over 2 hours and combined the cast of young and old heroes to undo the events of a harrowing future. I think that’s important to note at a time where Disney is absorbing Fox and the X-Men.

The best movies are ones that can be watched and enjoyed on their own without needing other ones to explain anything that came before it. As someone who just watched “Days of Future Past” again, that’s very true of the Fox movie. That’s not “Endgame.” I think you’ll be a little lost if you don’t know who some of these characters are or if you haven’t watched “Infinity War” at the least. This is a movie for fans who have given the past decade of their lives to these films. They will appreciate it the most.

The three-hour runtime didn’t bother me too much, but I could imagine some smaller fans getting a little restless throughout.

You’re going to be too emotionally distraught by the film’s ending to really nitpick at anything in “Endgame.” After the dust settles, and you start to think about it more, you’ll probably begin to have a few quibbles. The movie skips over a few things I would have loved to see on screen, including one giant lingering question about a “Guardians of the Galaxy” member. I hope at least one of those questions will be explored at another time in the future third “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie. We can discuss that more after the film’s out though.

How does this stack up against other Marvel movies? It’s not the MCU’s best, but it’s certainly up there.

Avengers endgameDisney/MarvelEarth’s mightiest heroes will leave you in stitches once again.

People are going to want to know whether or not “Endgame” is better than “Infinity War.” I’m going to need another watch to definitively make that decision. There are moments in “Endgame” that are better than “Infinity War’s” slowest moments, like when Thor is on a side quest to build Stormbreaker. On the flip side, there are moments early in “Endgame” I already know I will want to fast-forward through on a rewatch.

“Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Black Panther,” “Iron Man,” and “Infinity War” are still four of the MCU’s best films. I’d rank “Endgame” somewhere in the top five or six. That’s not a knock at “Endgame.” Those other films are just truly special and most of them aren’t trying to juggle half as many character arcs while also moving their stories forward. It’s impossible to truly appreciate “Endgame” unless you’ve watched some of those other movies and know their characters.

Overall: See this as soon as you can and bring tissues.

Telling you to bring tissues isn’t a spoiler. I was tearing up in the first 15 minutes of this movie and numerous times throughout. If you’ve been on this journey with Marvel for over the last decade, and have recently re-watched a bunch of the MCU movies, you’re going to get nostalgic. Outside of a few curse words and heavy fight sequences, you shouldn’t have any big concerns bringing little ones along with you. They may get a little fidgety with the three-hour runtime.

Past that, “Endgame” is not a movie you want to have spoiled for you. At all. There are so many surprises, cameos, and unexpected moments and interactions that you’re going to want to experience them for yourself instead of seeing them potentially spoiled on social media or in transit. That’s most likely one reason why AMC theatres have been adding more showings opening weekend. Past my few quibbles, “Endgame” is a very satisfying conclusion to this adventure that started back in 2008 with Tony Stark.

Grade: A-

“Avengers: Endgame” is in theatres Friday, with early showings Thursday night. You can watch a trailer for the movie below and follow along with our “Endgame” coverage here.

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