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‘Avengers: Endgame’ Reviews: What the Critics Are Saying

It’s been a long year for Marvel fans since the release of “Avengers: Infinity War,” but the wait is nearly over. The finale to the Infinity Saga is here, and while most diehard fans will know to avoid them for fear of spoilers, early reviews are mostly positive.

Last year’s “Infinity War” took home an 85% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and grossed more than $2 billion at the worldwide, becoming 2018’s highest-grossing film and the fastest-ever to reach $1 billion and $1.5 billion. This year’s earlier MCU entry and the first with a female lead, “Captain Marvel,” received a 78% rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, but controversy erupted as some users purposely gave it poor reviews.

Variety’s Peter Debruge said, “If ‘Infinity War’ was billed as a must-see event for all moviegoers, whether or not they’d attended a single Marvel movie prior, then ‘Endgame’ is the ultimate fan-service follow-up, so densely packed with payoffs to relationships established in the previous films that it all but demands that audiences put in the homework of watching (or rewatching) a dozen earlier movies to appreciate the sense of closure it offers the series’ most popular characters.”

With the first batch of reviews rolling in, “Avengers: Endgame” stands at 98% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Here are what other critics are saying:

Los Angeles Times’ Justin Chang:

“The mass slaughter at the end of ‘Infinity War’ felt both colossal and weightless, insofar as you knew it was little more than an epic tease. But the deaths that transpire here are all the more poignant for feeling both carefully considered and genuinely irreversible. To these faintly moistened eyes, ‘Avengers: Endgame’ achieves and earns its climactic surge of feeling, even as it falls just short of real catharsis.”

Mashable’s Angie Han:

“Its magic does require some prior buy-in. This is a film designed for fans, stuffed as it is with callbacks, cameos, and Easter eggs. Certain arcs come full circle after years and years; others are revisited and refashioned into something different. Newcomers will likely find themselves totally lost in this tangle of characters and relationships and mythologies. Those who’ve been following along for a while now, though, will find much to cheer, cry, or swoon over. At both the screenings I attended, the audience reactions were so loud at certain points that entire lines of dialogue were swallowed up. Which is probably just fine with Marvel: all the more reason for fans to go back and see it a second time.”

The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw:

“‘Avengers: Endgame’ is of course entirely preposterous and, yes, the central plot device here does not, in itself, deliver the shock of the new. But the sheer enjoyment and fun that it delivers, the pure exotic spectacle, are irresistible, as is its insouciant way of combining the serious and the comic. Without the comedy, the drama would not be palatable. Yet without the earnest, almost childlike belief in the seriousness of what is at stake, the funny stuff would not work either. As an artificial creation, the Avengers have been triumphant, and as entertainment, they have been unconquerable.”

Entertainment Weekly’s Leah Greenblatt:

“With the stakes being no less than the fate of the world (or at least approximately 50% of it), there’s an expected urgency to it all, but an underlying melancholy, too — not just for everything that’s been lost, but for what won’t be coming back. After seven years, four films, and uncountable post-credit Easter eggs, the endgame of an era has finally come.”

The New York Times’ A.O Scott:

“Still, ‘Endgame’ is a monument to adequacy, a fitting capstone to an enterprise that figured out how to be good enough for enough people enough of the time. Not that it’s really over, of course: Disney and Marvel are still working out new wrinkles in the time-money continuum. But the Russos do provide the sense of an ending, a chance to appreciate what has been done before the timelines reset and we all get back to work. The story, which involves time travel, allows for some greatest-hits nostalgic flourishes, and the denouement is like the encore at the big concert when all the musicians come out and link arms and sing something like “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.” You didn’t think it would get to you, but it does.”

CNN’s Brian Lowry:

“Even with the interlocking nature of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, ‘Endgame’ feels like a triumph of narrative engineering — weaving in enough callbacks to earlier movies to delight even the nerdiest patrons. The tone also underscores the extent to which the studio has preserved the comics’ spirit, while translating them to the screen in a manner unimaginable when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created them.”

Polygon’s Susana Polo:

“‘Avengers: Endgame’ is a heist movie, and it’s written like one. We know in our comics-trained hearts that our heroes are going to win this one, but a surprisingly tight script does some frankly ingenious problem-solving to raise the stakes over and over again. That logic opens up emotional possibilities for our heroes like no other genre of story can, and while the thrust of the plot is about cosmic rocks, it is hung on a framework of character development and payoff. And there’s nothing Endgame sets up that it doesn’t pay off.”

Vox’s Alex Abad-Santos:

“So it’s special that Marvel manages to achieve the seemingly impossible in ‘Endgame’: creating a movie steeped in years of lore that still manages to recapture the excitement of watching your very first Marvel experience. ‘Endgame’ is a celebration of, and goodbye to, the superheroes that many of us have grown a decade older with. It’s an earnest reminder of these heroes’ ability to reflect our own feelings about what they stand for and the emotions we share with them.”

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