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MONSTERS AT THE MOVIES

Avengers: Endgame reviewed by Nick Spake • grade: A+

By all accounts, the MCU is an endeavor that shouldn’t have worked. Prior to the original Iron Man, Marvel movies didn’t have the best reputation, churning out duds like Hulk, Daredevil, and Fantastic Four. Even the Spider-Man and X-Men movies went off the rails by the time they got to movie number three. What made Marvel Studios so confident that they could build an entire cinematic universe around these comic book icons? Thanks to the leadership of Kevin Feige, a diverse array of artists, and a perfectly insync ensemble, however, the MCU has proven to be an unprecedented triumph. Avengers: Endgame is the ultimate testament to this franchise’s success, serving as the culmination of 11 years and 22 movies. It’s also the most satisfying cinematic event since The Lord of the Rings: The Return of King. Avengers: Infinity War left us on a cliffhanger that made The Empire Strikes Back look like a feel-good movie. To even touch upon what happens next would unleash a tidal wave of spoilers. Let’s just say that our remaining heroes are left with one last option following Thanos’ devastating snap, sending them on a potential suicide mission. Whatever your fan theories are, all you need to know is that Avengers: Endgame is the ideal balance of everything we’ve come to expect from the MCU: ingenious character interactions, colorful action, and an ambitious story that somehow doesn’t collapse under its own weight. In many respects, superhero movies are to this generation what historical epics were to the golden age of cinema. On that basis, Endgame draws comparison to the likes of Ben-Hur, Spartacus, and Lawrence of Arabia. Clocking in at just over three hours, this film would feel gratuitously long if this was any other franchise. Since Marvel has already put in over a decade of character development and world-building, however, we’re hooked from the opening shot to the final credit. What makes this especially impressive is that the second act 52

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of the film is largely dialogue-driven, playing out more like Inception than a traditional comic book movie. Even when these witty characters are just sitting around a table formulating a plan, though, every word has us on bated breath. Although the MCU movies are all connected, most of them still work as standalone stories. To fully appreciate Endgame, however, you’ll want to go in with the previous 21 films crossed off your bucket list. The movie is full of callbacks to previous entries, ranging from subtle to imperative. Even some of the weaker Marvel movies, like Thor: The Dark World, are referenced in surprisingly clever ways. This whole film is a love letter to dedicated fans,

Profile for Story Monsters Ink

Story Monsters Ink® - June 2019  

This month's issue includes interviews with NBA legend Kobe Bryant, SNL alum Vanessa Bayer, Mickey Rapkin, Zack Bush, Symonne Harrison, Timo...

Story Monsters Ink® - June 2019  

This month's issue includes interviews with NBA legend Kobe Bryant, SNL alum Vanessa Bayer, Mickey Rapkin, Zack Bush, Symonne Harrison, Timo...