Let’s talk about Avengers: Endgame. Minor spoilers ahead.

In the film world, is there really anything that compares to the build up to Avengers: Endgame. This movie has been 11 years in the making with 21 films all building to this one. You could argue that Harry Potter and the Deathy Hallows Part 2 was the same and I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with you, it was a massive franchise which built over 10 years for a massive finale. But the difference there was that there were less films overall and that we knew the ending because it had been a wildly popular book series beforehand. In fact, I think the only thing that compares are several book series which can take similar times or even longer to build. So yeah, the Russos have a lot of pressure on them.

And no, I’m not going to bother with a plot summary for this movie. Firstly, I will get some screaming that it has too many spoilers even if I went by things in the trailer and the fact I put a spoiler warning at the top. Also, you probably already know the story. Heck, most of you have probably already seen it.

One thing I was happy to see survive the snap was the humour. Because of the events of Infinity War, the tone of the trailers or even the first 10–20 minutes of the movie which are the darkest Marvel has ever done. Luckily once the movie has got past that, it does get funny. While this is the least quippy Marvel movie yet, understandable considering the content, there are still plenty of great lines which will be repeated once we are allowed to spoiler. Many of them come from the interactions between Tony Stark and Rocket Raccoon because of course they do, that was always going to be a gold mine of amazing interactions. But everyone else gets their chance to get funny lines with particular highlights coming from the new situations that Bruce Banner and Thor find themselves in. If this movie had took the humour out, something which I think could have been justified during pre-production, not only would it have taken the heart out of these movies but made the three hours a proper slog to get through so I’m glad it survived.

What I’m really impressed with is how the Russos kept a tight control of their action scenes. Firstly they give us a variety of action to make sure we don’t get too tired with what we are seeing. Again, this is a three hour movie and you need to do this to make sure the audience do not get fidgety in their seats. So yes, you do get an epic battle scene like you’d expect (If this is more than a minor spoiler I’ll be doing the screaming), but you get a lot of other cool stuff as well. And I really enjoyed the creativity that they showed in these scenes too. The actual plot is a bit different from what you might expect and the Russos take full advantage of it to bring things you didn’t know you wanted but when you see them, yes you definitely did want them.

There are a few knocks I have against the movie, though they are small and packed with spoilers so I can not talk about them too much. Certain characters did not appear as much as I would have liked, and one in particularl we were led to believe would be a big part and then did bugger all like a super powered Gonzalo Higuain, and there is a minor case of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King where there are a lot of endings, though it is not as bad. One ending also felt like it was a bit tacked on as well, even though emotionally it was a very good one. Also might as well say it here, I imagine if you haven’t seen any of the others you will be completely lost as there is no time for a customary catch you up.

Now I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say that this is a culmination and definitely feels like an ending of sorts. After all, that’s all everyone has been saying in the build up! And while it is that, and we’ll talk a bit more about that later, it’s also an ode to the Avengers. This movie pays tribute to the previous 11 years of this franchise, making sure that everyone and every movie that built to this moment gets some sort of thank you for leading to this. Well apart from Thor: The Dark World, which gets (deservedly) gets a bit of a battering. Everyone has a different favourite from the franchise and it’s wonderful to see so many of them get represented, lovably mocked or referenced in some way in this movie. It doesn’t matter which series made you come to the Avengers, you will find a reference to go crazy over.

What this movie does best over anything else is reward the viewer for their patience and love for the franchise. This feels more like I’m reviewing a series finale than a movie because of the way it has been built up and we all know how many series have disappointed us in the end and as daft as it sounds, it hurts. When you put so many hours of your life into a franchise, start to care about these characters as much as if they are real human beings, when the creators bollocks up the end it feels like an insult to your entire being because it essentially says ‘Those hours you spent caring were a waste of time’. It’s why despite being so popular at the time, Lost and How I Met Your Mother are remembered with absolute venom. They had terrible endings which insulted the viewer for caring so much. This is the opposite. This rewards you for all the love you’ve put in. The more you loved the previous films, the more you’ll love this because of all the references, because everything is paid off. There’s so many touches which wrap things up beautifully for the characters whose stories end up, but also great moments to set up the future. This is how you end things.

Avengers: Endgame could not have been better. This was an impossible task, to end an 11 year build up with a movie that makes sure about a gazillion characters have their time to shine and have their arcs wrapped up or even extended to whatever Phase 4 brings us. And yet some how, they managed it. They managed to pull off the impossible and bring us something that satisfies everyone. Whether you were there from Iron Man and stayed until the end to find that amazing Easter Egg or you joined on the way when one particular hero appealed to you, this is your movie and one that I doubt will be repeated for generations to come.

Former Head of Movies for Screen Critics. Film Reviews now hosted on Medium.