Video Credit: Irish Eden Belleza/Gulf News

If over the last 11 years, 21 films, many, many TV shows, tie-in comic books, games and countless promotional videos, you’ve been a loyal audience but also a weary one, ‘Avengers: Endgame’ will dust off your cynicism and reward you for the journey you’ve made thus far as you ever so gently find proof of its beating heart beneath the rubble of a giant, corporate machine.

While ‘Avengers: Infinity War’, the sprawling saga that brought together all the cogs of the machine to only turn most of them to dust, may have felt disingenuous, ‘Endgame’ puts it all into perspective, bringing back pure, unadulterated joy and the innocence of exploring a fantastical world, that is both like and unlike ours. Without revealing much of the plot and recapping the bits and bobs we know from trailers and other media, ‘Avengers: Endgame’ jumps forward five years after the Great Snap that culled half the population of the entire universe, all orchestrated by the evil usurper Thanos (Josh Brolin). Some heroes are coping, some other heroes are also coping, but badly, and others have let themselves go. You’ve probably never seen so many superheroes look this despondent at the same time ever before, and the effect is transcendental.

Directors Anthony and Joe Russo and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely are not afraid to let these usually quippy and genial group of people stew and explore their emotions of loss, abject failure and survivors’ guilt. It takes some getting used to, but we get onboard soon enough.

But as soon as it looks like they’ve completely given up, a glimmer of hope reveals itself, and the team, those who are left anyway, must re-assemble. What follows is wave after wave of catharsis. While ‘Endgame’ never climbs new comic territory like its predecessors (the jokes come, but they arrive in short, sporadic bursts) and is more often than not sombre and reflective, it is also narratively unlike any MCU film you’ve ever seen.

As the superheroes again come together and split-up to take on various missions, echoing ‘Infinity War’ and some of the other MCU films as well, the action set-pieces and high-tension scenarios that we’ve associated with the Avengers present themselves, but the Russos again and again diffuse these situations to let the characters explore sub-plots, character flaws and loose threads. While the changes in pace can seem frustrating, they also let you get a closer look at some of the heroes you’ve loved over the years.

‘Avengers: Endgame’, while finding a way to bring all the superheroes you’ve loved over the last decade together, is also mostly about paying homage to the original six. Without Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), there would be no MCU and you wouldn’t care about this diverse universe, the way you do now. There is redemption and the crisis of faith that was felt after ‘Infinity War’ is resolved in unexpected ways.

I have no doubt that after so emphatically tying up so many narrative threads with ‘Endgame’, Marvel/Disney will lose many viewers, especially the older crowd who grew up with the original six. And while the potential for the next phase of the MCU has never looked so promising (phase four begins after ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’), there will always be an OG-Avengers-shaped gaping hole in our hearts. Because what other three-hour-long movie can boast the rapt attention of a full theatre? And we’re willing to bet most people will want a second viewing to just take it all in.

‘Avengers: Endgame’ is the end of a saga that set into motion the rise of geekdom into the mainstream avenue. There will never be the likes of it again, all the bets that Kevin Feige and team took have paid off and now it’s time to rest.

Until ‘Far Home’, at least.

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Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans. Image Credit: Marvel Studios

‘Avengers: Endgame’ is now showing across the UAE.