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Ask Approved: 18 of the Best Movies of 2020
Editor’s Note: we’ve rounded up 25 of the most anticipated movies of 2022 .
Looking back, 2019 capped off 10 years’ worth of cinema in a decidedly uneven way. Mega-blockbuster sagas that spanned years came to a close thanks to Avengers: Endgame and Star Wars: Episode IX—The Rise of Skywalker . Some of the decade’s best films, like Parasite and Knives Out , made indelible marks on our collective pop culture consciousness, while other late-decade entries completely baffled audiences. (Yes, we’re looking at you, Cats , the next midnight cult classic a la Rocky Horror Picture Show .) So, what will 2020’s film offerings be remembered for?
Without a doubt, this past year posed a real challenge for filmmakers and movie theaters alike. As with most things, the COVID-19 pandemic threw a real wrench into Hollywood’s plans: The newest (and 25th) James Bond film, No Time to Die , had to learn to debut another day, while Universal’s Trolls World Tour skipped the theaters altogether and, when all was said and done, put more money directly in the studio’s pockets than it would have had theaters taken a cut.
Soon enough, big-name studios like Disney and Warner Bros. followed suit, queueing up films like Mulan , Soul and Wonder Woman 1984 for streaming platforms. Needless to say, the landscape has changed quite a bit. And, despite what detractors say, a ton of incredible films were delivered directly to our living rooms this year. We’ve rounded up 2020’s best of the best.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Without a doubt, Netflix saved one of the best films of 2020 for the very end of the year. That film is Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom , a movie adaptation based on August Wilson’s play of the same name. Not only does it mark a career best for Oscar-winner Viola Davis , but it’s also the late Chadwick Boseman’s final film appearance. For those who aren’t familiar with the legendary blues singer, Ma Rainey was a trailblazer back in the 1920s: She sang on over 100 blues records and became one of the first Black artists to sign with Paramount.
In the film, Ma Rainey and her band gather at a Chicago-based recording studio in 1927, and the tensions in the film are something of a microcosm of the icon’s life. In an interview with the The New York Times , Davis noted that Rainey was “a woman who was unapologetic about her sexuality, unapologetic about her worth.” And the film certainly captures both of those things: Unlike other recent musician biopics , Ma Rainey’s bisexuality isn’t erased — and, in the face of dismissal, Ma Rainey always knows her worth.
Small and quiet but deeply heart-wrenching, Minari is one of 2020’s best films — and, without a doubt, a film that will resonate for decades to come. Written and directed by Lee Isaac Chung, the film centers on a Korean-American family who, at the behest of their patriarch (Steven Yeun), move to small-town Arkansas in search of a better life — more specifically, a life focused on farming and living off the land.
This beautiful portrait is brought to life by incredible performances from Yeun and Ye-ri Han, who capture all of the nuance of what it’s like to be a couple torn between lives, between wanting certain traditions and feeling the pressure to assimilate to American culture. Additionally, both Youn Yuh-jung, who plays the family’s “ unflappable ” grandmother, and young newcomer Alan S. Kim leave a lasting impression, and, between them, blooms a relationship that feels so real and textured. Matthew Dougherty of The Filtered Lens writes that “ Minari is the art of filmmaking at its most precise and efficient without forgoing the canvas quality of the frame” — and we couldn’t agree more.
Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey
DC Comics’ Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) isn’t exactly a hero — although Suicide Squad may’ve angled for that argument. Nonetheless, she’s still one of the most beloved characters in comic book history, and fans were eager to see Harley in her first solo outing. Cue Birds of Prey , which sees the baseball bat-wielding anti-hero ditching the (ever-abusive) Joker and flexing her own agency. Sure, breakups are tough, but thanks to writer Christina Hodson and director Cathy Han, Harley more than rebounds.
Through a twist of fate, Harley finds herself taking on sadistic Gotham City crime lord Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor) and teaming up with ex-cop Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), former Sionis employee and singer Dinah Lance (a.k.a. Canary; Jurnee Smollett-Bell) and the vengeful Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) to save Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco) from Sionis’ clutches. With incredibly inventive fight-scene choreography; a ton of witty, irreverent humor; and style to spare, Birds of Prey is one of DC’s best outings. And it will leave you wanting an egg sandwich — trust us.
The Half of It
Saving Face (2004) marked Alice Wu’s directorial debut and, honestly, a filmmaker couldn’t ask for a better first outing. Now, over a decade later, Wu released her sophomore feature, The Half of It , on Netflix to great acclaim. Pitched as a “different kind of love story,” The Half of It is a loose retelling of the Cyrano de Bergerac story — with a queer twist. Or what Rolling Stone describes as a “quietly revolutionary achievement…brimming over with pleasures of the unexpected.”
Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis) lives in the small town of Squahamish, and she spends her time writing papers for her peers in exchange for money and handling her dad’s station master and signalman duties at the town’s train stop. When she meets Paul Munsky (Daniel Diemer), a well-meaning but inarticulate jock, Ellie writes letters on Paul’s behalf to Aster Flores (Alexxis Lemire), his crush — and, as it turns out, Ellie’s crush, too. While it was marketed (in part) as a YA rom-com, the film is more longing than first romances, but it still feels refreshing. After all, as Lewis points out , “[i]t’s a self-love story… [the characters] end up with something… It is a love story, it’s just not a ‘romance’ story.”
The Forty-Year-Old Version
The Forty-Year-Old Version marks an incredible debut for writer-director-star Radha Blank. The film opens a window for viewers into the life of a struggling artist — a New York City-based playwright who is looking to reinvent herself as a rapper. In a review for OurQuadCities , Linda Cook notes that “Theater buffs will applaud the perspective on how a play is written, produced and, finally, performed, all to great comedic effect here.”
And that’s certainly a large part of the appeal: The film feels both familiar in that classic way, but also extremely inventive. That’s due in large part to its writer-director’s voice and talent as a playwright, but also to some innovative technical choices. Entertainment Weekly reviewer Leah Greenblatt sums part of that technical prowess up well, describing The Forty-Year-Old Version as “a ramshackle, winningly raw coming-of-middle-age shot in vivid black and white but told in emotional Technicolor.”
Sci-fi comedy Palm Springs was one of the summer’s best offerings. Released directly on Hulu, it wasn’t a blockbuster in the traditional sense, but it did harness the star power of Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti and J.K. Simmons to great effect. And, like Samberg’s lauded Brooklyn Nine-Nine sitcom, Palm Springs offers up hilarity with a surprising amount of charm and heart.
The premise? Nyles (Samberg) meets Sarah (Milioti), who is acting as maid of honor at her sister’s Palm Springs wedding. After a few drinks, the strange Nyles and apathetic Sarah hit it off and wind up heading out into the desert to hook up — where Nyles is, suddenly, struck by an arrow. Wounded, he crawls toward a strange cave and, against his instructions, Sarah follows. Inside the cave is a strange vortex, one that gets Sarah stuck in the wedding day time loop Nyles has been experiencing for quite some time. Its greatest accomplishment? In a world without consequences, the leads “make you believe that, actually, everything the two characters do matters” (via Globe and Mail ).
The Old Guard
As one of the few summer blockbusters to come out during the pandemic, The Old Guard made quite the impact: A few days into its release it cracked the top-10 most-popular Netflix movies ever, and it was on track to reach 72 million households in its first four weeks . Adapted from Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernández’s acclaimed comic series and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood ( Love & Basketball ), The Old Guard deserves all that acclaim and more.
The film stars Charlize Theron as Andy, an invulnerable warrior who has led a group of tight-knit mercenaries — also invulnerable — for centuries. But fighting the good fight takes a dark turn when a pharmaceutical company learns of their “immortal” statuses and aims to make them lab rats. Luckily for Andy, whose abilities are waning, a new “immortal” named Nile (Kiki Layne) joins their ranks. This gritty, action-packed film also does something Marvel and DC haven’t dared: It’s undeniably queer and centers multiple queer characters.
Da 5 Bloods
Coming off his much-deserved Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar win for BlacKkKlansman , Spike Lee has turned his attention to Da 5 Bloods , which was picked up by Netflix. Previously, Lee and Netflix have collaborated on the streaming giant’s series adaptation of Lee’s 1986 classic She’s Gotta Have It , with Lee stepping in to executive produce. However, Da 5 Bloods marked the first time Lee directed a Netflix picture — a collaboration that seems award-worthy, especially given Netflix’s latest attempts to really lean into awards season.
Starring Black Panther ‘s Chadwick Boseman, Crooklyn ‘s Delroy Lindo and Lovecraft Country ‘s Jonathan Majors, just to name a few of the incredible ensemble cast members, Da 5 Bloods tells the story of four African-American vets who return to Vietnam in search of the remains of their late squad leader and the promise of a hidden treasure. “From its sweeping jungle vistas to its full-fat orchestral score from Terence Blanchard, Da 5 Bloods often feels like an old-fashioned Hollywood adventure,” writes Robbie Collins of The Daily Telegraph . “But reality keeps pushing its way through in ways that can’t be ignored.”
A Promising Young Woman
The drama-thriller Promising Young Woman marks the directorial debut for writer Emerald Fennell, who is best known as the Emmy-nominated showrunner of BBC’s Killing Eve . And the film stars BAFTA-winner Carey Mulligan ( An Education , The Great Gatsby ) as Cassie, who is considered a, you know, promising young woman until an undisclosed event derails her future.
When the film picks up with Cassie, she is wickedly cunning, even leading a double life — but a chance encounter leaves her with an opportunity to amend the past. Mulligan’s co-stars are numerous and include Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Clancy Brown, Laverne Cox, Connie Britton and Jennifer Coolidge. In the wake of its Sundance debut, the film garnered a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with the site’s aggregate summation reporting that the film is “a boldly provocative, timely thriller…an auspicious feature debut…and a career highlight for Mulligan.”
Coinciding with the 155th anniversary of the titular holiday, Miss Juneteenth tells the story of Turquoise Jones (Nicole Beharie), a single mom and former teen beauty queen, who pushes her daughter, Kai (Alexis Chikaeze), to enter the local Miss Juneteenth pageant. While Kai is less than enthused about the idea, it’s clear that Turquoise is trying to provide her with an experience she didn’t have — most other Miss Juneteenth winners went on to have successful college careers, but Turquoise had to drop out.
Channing Godfrey Peoples’ directorial debut tackles quite a bit, but it does so elegantly, tracing well-worn genre tropes but infusing them with the kind of detail that’s at once so specific but also so universal. In an article for Vulture , Angelica Jade Bastién wrote that, “ Miss Juneteenth isn’t trying to make grand proclamations about what it means to be Black in America today. The film is too smart for such grandstanding. Instead, it revels in watching Black folks just be.”
You probably didn’t have a pro-choice road trip comedy on your 2020 bingo cards, but, sure enough, 2020 is full of surprises — and Unpregnant is just that. In fact, Time magazine’s Stephanie Zacharek notes that it’s “part road-trip comedy, part meditation on the trials of friendship…[and even part] unhinged…John Waters farce.” Sounds great, right?
The setup here is that 17-year-old Veronica Clarke (Haley Lu Richardson) finds out she’s pregnant and, while she’s taking the test, she’s interrupted by her former bestie, Bailey Butler (Barbie Ferreira), who catches a glimpse at the results. Bailey’s casual offer to drive Veronica to an abortion clinic turns into a full-on road trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico, when she learns that she can’t get an abortion in Missouri without parental consent. Although Unpregnant is flawed, it can at times be as poignant as it is wild.
The most recent adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma hit theaters just before states and cities across the country began going into lockdown and shelter-in-place mode due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While it may not have gotten its place in the sun upon its initial release, Emma. got a second life on streaming platforms and was universally doted upon by critics.
For those unfamiliar with the source material, the story centers on the beautiful, clever and well-to-do Emma Woodhouse, who fancies herself a prolific matchmaker. Of course, she’s interested in setting others up — not herself — until she realizes the man she loves has been right in front of her all along. Full of missteps, some surprising hilarity and a lot of walks through the English countryside, Emma. is bolstered by impeccable performances from Anya Taylor-Joy, of The Queen’s Gambit fame, and Bill Nighy.
A Whisker Away
Studio Colorido’s A Whisker Away made a splash when it debuted on Netflix over the summer. It’s a kind of delightful, coming-of-age film on the surface, but the twist of magic and its deeper interrogations of life and love give it a kind of Spirited Away -esque feel. In the film, Miyo Sasaki is an unhappy middle schooler: She doesn’t like her stepmother very much and, at school, her crush, Kento Hinode, won’t give her the time of day.
Despite Kento’s consistent rejections, Miyo can’t help but flirt with him until, one day, she comes into possession of a Noh mask — a mask that allows her to transform into a cat. As the cat version of herself, Miyo visits Kento, keeps him company and listens to his confessions. “What really makes A Whisker Away worth watching,” Karen Han of Polygon notes, “is its dissection of growing up enough to face difficult feelings head-on and to think seriously about other people’s emotions as well.”
Horse Girl , which was released by Duplass Brothers Productions, feels a bit like the Duplass’ Safety Not Guaranteed (2012), a sci-fi comedy about a man who writes a personal ad in the hopes that he’ll find a time travel buddy. What worked about Safety ? You never quite knew if the would-be time traveler was actually going to do it — if it was even possible. That mix of skepticism and endless possibility kept things exciting, and Horse Girl tries to toe that same not-quite-sure line.
Anchored by a strong performance from Alison Brie, Horse Girl is more of a strange drama, one that takes a big swing at interrogating its protagonist’s experience of living with mental illness. Since we’re in Brie’s character’s perspective, it’s hard to know if the shy introvert is experiencing alien abductions, if she is a clone or if these paranoias and ideations stem from her condition. At the same time, the film, despite traveling into structurally shocking, Charlie Kaufman-esque territory, always treats its main character with respect. And the ending will leave you mulling things over for quite some time.
Let Them All Talk
While three-time Oscar-winner Meryl Streep might be getting a lot of buzz for Netflix’s adaptation of the Broadway musical The Prom , she’s also got the Steven Soderbergh dramedy Let Them All Talk debuting this winter. The film follows a celebrated author (Streep) as she embarks upon a part-fun, part-healing journey with her pals (Candice Bergen and Dianne Wiest).
The film is also buoyed by Lucas Hedges, who plays Streep’s nephew, and Gemma Chan, Streep’s literary agent who’s clamoring for a new book to sell. While it may not be Streep or Soderbergh’s most acclaimed outing, it certainly delivers. In a review for Thrillist , Esther Zuckerman sums it up well, writing, “Part of the joy of watching Let Them All Talk is watching three screen legends bounce off of one another, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s just a story about gal pals. It’s much more satisfying — and sadder — than that.”
This year, it’s not the highly anticipated — but not-so-well-executed — Kristen Stewart-helmed Happiest Season that’s getting Aubrey Plaza the buzz. (Although, her Happiest Season character’s impeccable fashion sense and dry one-liners did get a lot of attention, to be fair.) On the whole, Black Bear is one of Plaza’s career highs — and certainly one of her best performances since Ingrid Goes West (2017).
In Black Bear , a couple ventures to their remote lake house, where they find themselves entertaining an out-of-town filmmaker who’s looking to be inspired. Full of desire, manipulation and jealousy, the loose ends form knots real fast here, making life a little more than convoluted for all involved. All in the name of art, of course. Part thriller and part comedy, Black Bear is wholly engaging.
Never Rarely Sometimes Always
The American-British drama Never Rarely Sometimes Always is written and directed by Eliza Hittman and stars Sidney Flanigan and Talia Ryder as two cousins from Pennsylvania who trek to New York in the wake of an unexpected pregnancy. At the Berlin International Film Festival, the film was in competition for the coveted Golden Bear and, at Sundance, Hittman took home the prize for U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award: Neo-Realism.
Buoyed by an impressive performance from first-timer Sidney Flanigan, the universally acclaimed coming-of-age film marks Hittman as a writer-director to watch. Writing for Crooked Marquee , Kimber Myers notes that the film is “At once as intimate as a sigh and as urgent as a klaxon[.] Never Rarely Sometimes Always is an essential film about abortion that arrives at a critical time.”
Director and screenwriter Chloé Zhao’s sophomore endeavor, The Rider (2017), is a contemporary Western that nabbed Independent Spirit Award nominations for both Best Film and Best Director. After finishing her directing duties on Marvel’s post- Avengers (and very delayed) blockbuster, The Eternals , Zhao stepped up to direct Nomadland — something markedly different from superhero fare.
The film is based on the book Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder, and, for those unfamiliar with the source material, Nomadland explores the phenomenon of older workers traveling the U.S. in the wake of the Great Recession, searching for employment and living out of campers. Better yet, the film stars Oscar-winner Frances McDormand.
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“Avengers: Endgame” is the culmination of a decade of blockbuster filmmaking, the result of years of work from thousands of people. It is designed to be the most blockbuster of all the blockbusters, a movie with a dozen subplots colliding, and familiar faces from over 20 other movies. It’s really like nothing that Hollywood has produced before, existing not just to acknowledge or exploit the fans of this series, but to reward their love, patience, and undying adoration. The blunt thing you probably want to know most: It’s hard to see serious MCU fans walking away from this disappointed. It checks all the boxes, even ticking off a few ones that fans won’t expect to be on the list. It’s a satisfying end to a chapter of blockbuster history that will be hard to top for pure spectacle. In terms of sheer entertainment value, it’s on the higher end of the MCU, a film that elevates its most iconic heroes to the legendary status they deserve and provides a few legitimate thrills along the way.
Don’t worry: I will stay very spoiler-free. The main joy of this film is in how its incredibly complex narrative unfolds, and you can go elsewhere if you want that ruined. The disappointing “ Avengers: Infinity War ” ended with Thanos finally getting all of the six Infinity Stones he so desperately sought, and then using them to wipe out half of existence, including beloved heroes like Black Panther, Star-Lord, and Spider-Man. “Avengers: Endgame” picks up a few weeks after “The Snap,” as the remaining heroes try to pick up the pieces and figure out if there’s a way to reverse Thanos’ destruction.
Immediately, “ Endgame ” is a more focused piece than “Infinity War” by virtue of having a tighter, smaller cast. (Thanks, Thanos.) It’s a more patient, focused film, even as its plot draws in elements of a dozen other movies. Whereas “ Infinity ” often felt bloated, “Endgame” allows some of the more iconic characters in the history of the MCU a chance to be, well, heroic. No longer mere pawns in a Thanos-driven plot, Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Hulk, and Thor break free of the crowd, ably assisted by Hawkeye and Ant-Man. In a sense, this is the new Avengers, and the tighter group of superheroes reminded me of the charm of Joss Whedon ’s first "Avengers" movie, one in which strong personalities were allowed to bounce off each other instead of just feeling like they were strapped into a rollercoaster headed in the same direction. It also allows space for some of the best acting work in the franchise, particularly from Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr., who one realizes while watching this have turned Captain America and Iron Man into something larger than life for a generation. The most satisfying aspect of “Endgame” is in how much it provides the MCU’s two most popular heroes the story arc they deserve instead of just drowning them in a sea of cameos by lesser characters from other movies. In the way it canonizes them, it becomes an ode to the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.
What works best about Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely ’s script for “Endgame” is that one feels, for arguably the first time, a sense of looking back instead of merely trying to set the table for something to come. This film incorporates elements of what fans know and love about the MCU, recalling character beats, origins, and the plots of movies like “ Iron Man ,” “ Guardians of the Galaxy ,” and “ Captain America: The First Avenger .” Call it cheap fan service, but one of my biggest issues with these films, especially “Infinity War,” has been a sense that they’re merely commercials for movies yet to be made. “Endgame” doesn’t have that. Sure, the MCU will go on, but this movie has a finality and depth given to it by MCU history that the others have lacked.
Of course, it needs to work as just a movie too. The middle hour is as purely enjoyable as the MCU has ever been, but there are times when I wished I could sense a human touch below the incredibly-polished, carefully-planned surface of “Avengers: Endgame.” In the long build-up first hour, I longed for one of the pregnant pauses about the seriousness of the situation to lead to something that felt spontaneous or an acting decision that didn’t feel like it had been run through a committee. Every single aspect of “Endgame” has been foreshadowed for years by other films and finely tuned by the hundreds of people it takes to make a movie like this one. The result is a film that often feels more like a product than a piece of art. Roger Ebert once famously wrote that “video games can never be art,” but he may have been surprised to see art becoming more like a video game, something remarkably programmed and determined, lacking anything that really challenges the viewer.
However, people aren't lining up at dawn for “Avengers: Endgame” to challenge them. It’s really about rewarding commitment, fandom, and expectations. Whatever its flaws, “Endgame” does all of that, and with a sincere admiration for the fans who have made this universe a true cultural phenomenon. The stakes are high and the conclusions actually feel resonant. It’s an epic cultural event, the kind of thing that transcends traditional film criticism to become a shared experience with fans around the world. The biggest question I had coming out was how they could possibly top it ten years from now.
Brian Tallerico is the Managing Editor of RogerEbert.com, and also covers television, film, Blu-ray, and video games. He is also a writer for Vulture, The Playlist, The New York Times, and GQ, and the President of the Chicago Film Critics Association.
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Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and some language.
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man
Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America
Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner / The Hulk
Chris Hemsworth as Thor Odinson
Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow
Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton / Ronin / Hawkeye
Don Cheadle as James "Rhody" Rhodes / War Machine
Paul Rudd as Scott Lang / Ant-Man
Brie Larson as Carol Danvers / Captain Marvel
Karen Gillan as Nebula
Bradley Cooper as Rocket Racoon (voice)
Gwyneth Paltrow as Virginia "Pepper" Potts / Rescue
Josh Brolin as Thanos
Zoe Saldana as Gamora
Stan Lee as Stan Lee
- Anthony Russo
- Christopher Markus
- Stephen McFeely
- Jim Starlin
- Trent Opaloch
- Jeffrey Ford
- Matthew Schmidt
- Alan Silvestri
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2019, Action/Adventure, 3h 1m
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Exciting, entertaining, and emotionally impactful, Avengers: Endgame does whatever it takes to deliver a satisfying finale to Marvel's epic Infinity Saga. Read critic reviews
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Avengers: endgame videos, avengers: endgame photos.
Adrift in space with no food or water, Tony Stark sends a message to Pepper Potts as his oxygen supply starts to dwindle. Meanwhile, the remaining Avengers -- Thor, Black Widow, Captain America and Bruce Banner -- must figure out a way to bring back their vanquished allies for an epic showdown with Thanos -- the evil demigod who decimated the planet and the universe.
Rating: PG-13 (Sequences of Sci-Fi Violence|Action|Some Language)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-fi
Original Language: English
Director: Anthony Russo , Joe Russo
Producer: Kevin Feige
Writer: Christopher Markus , Stephen McFeely
Release Date (Theaters): Apr 26, 2019 wide
Release Date (Streaming): Jul 30, 2019
Box Office (Gross USA): $858.4M
Runtime: 3h 1m
Distributor: Walt Disney
Production Co: Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Pictures
Sound Mix: Dolby Atmos, DTS, Dolby Digital, SDDS
Aspect Ratio: Scope (2.35:1)
View the collection: Marvel Cinematic Universe
Cast & Crew
Robert Downey Jr.
Tony Stark, Iron Man
Steve Rogers, Captain America
Bruce Banner, Hulk
Natasha Romanoff, Black Widow
Clint Barton, Hawkeye
Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel
Scott Lang, Ant-Man
James Rhodes, War Machine
The Ancient One
Sarah Halley Finn
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Critic Reviews for Avengers: Endgame
Audience reviews for avengers: endgame.
The conclusion of this epic storyline is meant to be, err, epic, and in many ways it succeeds. Marvel throws a proverbial feast for it's legions of fandom for sticking through 10 years and many divergent stories, and many different heroes. Of course, they cannot do justice to everyone and so many get simply a nod or a wave, but the overall effect is still worthy - for first viewing and how ever many viewings that will come after. That the story's problem is tackled with a cliche cinematic solve...well, for entertainment's sake, and seen through the verve given execution, it's a forgivable decision.
There isn't too much in the way of suspense or surprises when it comes to the story, but there are some shocking moments and funny lines in this epic finale. Again, like many of the best Marvel films, the holes and flaws are covered up with humor and fan service, making everything okay. That being said, I did prefer Infinity War to this film, which really misses the leads of the other Marvel franchises that were "snapped" out. Overall, however, there are only a few ways you can wrap up the main story of the MCU, and this was a solid direction.
As a conclusion to over a decades worth of storytelling, it's got a lot to live up to, and it's about as good as you could really hope for it to be. Overall, I really do like Infinity War better. At the end of the day, Infinity War was just a wildly new experience, it was such a gamechanger and crowd-pleaser. Not only that, Infinity War I think had a better final battle. This final battle, while boasting the biggest ensemble of Marvel heroes we've ever seen on screen, is weirdly dark and muddied in CGI scenery compared to the battle at Wakanda from Infinity War. Also I hate Professor Hulk, he's just not that fun. Okay so those are my criticisms, what did I like about the movie? I guess everything else? The time travel plot let's us revisit and honor some old moments in Marvel with a new lens in sort of a Back to the Future Part 2 way that's a lot of fun, and it brings back some characters I didn't think we'd ever see again. The movie has a big emotional core, and a climactic end that is godamn powerful. This movie juggles a lot. Seriously this is like watching someone juggle 10 flaming chainsaws, it's a godamn miracle it works at all. That it works this well is even more of a miracle. It's an imperfect movie, but perfectly satisfying conclusion to this arc of the Marvel saga.
It all comes to an end in the epic superhero film Avengers: Endgame. In the wake of Thanos' mass genocide the Avengers come up with a plan to get everyone back. Once again the writers have done an extraordinary job at integrating and interweaving the various Marvel properties. And the special effects are just amazing; especially during the final battle sequence, capturing the massive scope of the battle and the multiple fights going on between the characters. Each superhero gets their moment to shine, and a number of greatest hits moments from the MCU are revisited, Back to the Future Part II style. Still, there are some pacing issues and more than a few plot contrivances. Yet despite whatever problems it has, Avengers: Endgames is an incredible achievement.
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Avengers: Endgame (2019)
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‘Avengers: Endgame’ | Anatomy of a Scene
Anthony and joe russo narrate a sequence from their film featuring chris hemsworth..
“Hi, I’m Anthony Russo.” “And I’m Joe Russo.” “And we are the directors of ‘Avengers: Endgame.’ This is a scene that happens relatively early in the film where we are catching back up with our characters after a five-year time elapse once they have definitively lost to Thanos— after he’s eradicated half of all life. Everyone’s taking that occurrence badly, of course, but some are taking it worse than others. Thor blames himself for the loss in many ways. And he’s basically masking it. He’s hiding in things like alcohol, and food, and video games, and TV. And he’s cloistered himself in this cabin here, and he’s very much hiding from the pain that he can’t face.” “Boys! Oh, my God! Oh, my God, so good to see you! Come here, cuddly little rascal. [GRUNTS] “Yeah, no, I’m good. I’m good.” “I think why this is one of our favorite scenes in the movie is this is an exceptional performance from Hemsworth. One of the hardest tones to play as an actor is to play both pathos and humor, and he does it with such a delicate touch in this scene. You really have to commit to stakes, you have to commit to emotional truth in order for the performance not to get ridiculous. That’s why it’s so difficult, because it can go absurd on you very quickly. And he does it. He grounds it. And this is right around the section where he starts to ground the performance.” “And he’s grounding it, of course, surrounded by a bunch of CG actors, which is doubly hard to pull off.” “And while wearing a 30-pound body suit.” “Yeah. And Joe and I, as filmmakers, we love to play with tone. We like very complicated tones. And this scene, I think, is really juicy for us because it starts from such a silly, absurd, frivolous place in terms of how Thor is hiding, what kind of behavior he’s adopted to get away from the pain.” “So what’s up? You’re just here for a hang or what?” “We need your help. There might be a chance we could fix everything.” “Well, like the cable? Because that’s been driving me bananas for weeks.” “Like Thanos.” “And this is a moment right here where, in a single moment, when Hulk says ‘Thanos,’ you see Chris Hemsworth reveals to us the pain that he’s been masking.” “He’s a tragically haunted man. And the tone shifts there very, very delicately.” [SOMBER MUSIC] “Don’t say that name.” “Even Korg shifts tone and becomes part of the conversation in this moment.” “The scene has a wonderful shape to it in the sense that we start from a place of lightness. It moves to a place of real darkness. And then at the end, there’s some kind of bizarre reconciliation of the two.” “Why would I be? Why would I be scared of that guy? I’m the one who killed that guy, remember? Anyone else here killed that guy?” “To get a peek into the window of how we would shoot a scene like this. So we didn’t have Taika on set that day, so there’s a motion capture actor playing Korg. We voiced Taika later. Ruffalo’s on set wearing, basically, the equivalent of pajamas which are a motion capture suit. And we have him on a platform so he can move around at the height he needs to move around at so he can have eye contact with Hemsworth. And when Hulk touches Hemsworth, we just replaced that with a Hulk hand instead of Ruffalo’s hand. And then we have— James Gunn’s brother plays Rocket on set. He’s crawling around on the ground on his knees so that he can also be at the same height as Rocket. So it’s very complicated to pull off a scene like this, and then to add in these difficulty-in-tone complexity of performance for Hemsworth, and this is about as a high degree of difficulty as it gets for an actor.” “You also notice the room— for as funny as this scene is, the room is very moody and dark. I think that really speaks to the fact that there’s a duality going on in this scene, and that ultimately, the story lies in Thor’s pain. And that that’s really what we’re moving here through on a story level here, and what this character is trying to push through. You’ll notice that the screen is blurred, and that’s because of some obscure rights issue. ‘Fortnite’ is actually playing on that screen, but for some reason in this clip, we can’t play it.”
By A.O. Scott
- April 23, 2019
“No amount of money ever bought a second of time,” one character says to another — I’m afraid I can’t be any more specific than that — somewhere around the middle of “Avengers: Endgame.” So true, so true, and also in context so completely not true. The intersecting axes of time and money are what this franchise is all about, and while I’m not an expert in studio math, I’d guess that a second of the movie, based on what Disney and Marvel Studios paid to make it, would buy a decent used car.
There are roughly 10,860 of those — seconds, not cars — nestled in between the quiet, spooky opening and the last bit of end credits. Which means that whatever a ticket costs in your neighborhood, “Avengers: Endgame” might count as a bargain. At three hours and one minute, it’s shorter than “Titanic,” “The Godfather Part II” or Luchino Visconti’s “The Leopard.” And while the time doesn’t exactly fly, it doesn’t drag either. The two hours and forty minutes of “Infinity War” (also directed by Joe and Anthony Russo ) felt infinitely longer. Settling scores, wrapping up loose ends and taking a victory lap — the main objects of the game this ostensibly last time around — generate some comic sparks as well as a few honest tears.
And why not? We’ve lived with these characters and the actors playing them for more than a decade, and even when the party got hectic, stupid or crowded, there was no reason to complain about the guests. For the most part, it’s nice to see them again, and a little sad to say goodbye.
[Read the screenwriters’ explanations for plot points. | What to read if you want more Avengers. | How the movie did in Week 2 at the box office .]
Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, always kind of neurotic for a buff deity with a mighty hammer, has let himself go, turning into a fat Lebowski with mommy issues. War Machine (Don Cheadle), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) have more to do than previously. (I wish that were also true of Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie.) The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) has made peace with his essential duality. Robert Downey Jr., looking handsomely grizzled, exercises his seniority with a light touch. He’s been around the longest — the first “Iron Man” was in 2008 — and combines the duties of unofficial chief superhero with those of master of ceremonies.
It’s not all fun and games. A lot of heroes died at the end of “Infinity War,” and their loss weighs heavily on the survivors, perhaps especially on Nebula (Karen Gillan), whose father was responsible for the slaughter. Thanos’s deployment of the six Infinity Stones to wipe out half the life in the universe was unforgivable, of course — I can’t believe I just typed that — but it proves to have been helpful to the Russos, the screenwriters (Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely) and the audience. We and they have a manageable dozen or so major characters to keep track of, which leaves room for some of the alternately lump-in-throat, tongue-in-cheek ensemble work that has always been the series’s most potent weapon.
“The Avengers” cycle may require an escalating series of battles to save the universe from ultimate evil — each manifestation more ultimate than the last, with Thanos (Josh Brolin) as the ultimate ultimate of them all — but the engine that keeps it running is friendship. This isn’t the same as harmony. Going back to the earlier movies, Hulk and Thor have had their moments of friction, as have Iron Man and Captain America (Chris Evans).
The personal and political bad blood between those two, most acute in “Captain America: Civil War,” continues to simmer, at least at first. But the mood over all is tender and comradely, touched by acute grief and the more subtle melancholy of what everyone seems to understand is the Last Big Adventure. About that adventure, I won’t say much, though it strikes me that the shape of the plot is less vulnerable to spoilage than the little winks and local surprises along the way.
[ Everything you need to know before “Endgame,” in two minutes]
Those are the rewards for sitting through all those movies patiently waiting for the post-credit stingers, collecting Easter eggs while your friends were texting or your dad was napping and generally doing the unpaid labor of fandom for all these years. Was it worth it? In the aggregate, I have my doubts, but the chuckles and awws you’ll hear around you in the theater at certain moments attest to the happy sense of participation that lies at the heart of the modern fan experience. At its best — and “Endgame” is in some ways as good as it gets — the “Avengers” cosmos has been an expansive and inclusive place.
That has proved to be good business. Disney and Marvel’s accomplishment will be duly inscribed in the annals of commerce, to be studied for many years to come. There has been variety — silly movies and somber ones; chapters that proclaim their topicality and episodes that embrace pure escapism — as well as consistency. Any single film can serve as a point of entry, and insider status is easy enough to obtain. There has never been anything difficult or challenging, which is a limitation as well as a selling point.
None of the 22 films in this cycle are likely to be remembered as great works of cinema, because none have really tried. It’s fun to see the actors in these roles we know are capable of better, and also satisfying to appreciate the efforts of those who might not be. Some first-rate directors have taken up the banner and burnished the brand. Their past and future masterpieces will most likely be found elsewhere.
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.
Avengers: Endgame Rated PG-13. Swearing and fighting. Running time: 3 hours 1 minute.
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Avengers: Endgame Is a Good — And Sometimes Great — End to Marvel's First Decade
Avengers: Endgame —the 22nd movie to emerge from the Marvel Cinematic Universe birth canal and the capper to the two-part saga that began with last year’s Avengers: Infinity War —makes more sense as an event than as a movie. The film has been meticulously crafted for people who care deeply about these characters, and it’s likely most of those viewers will leave the theater satisfied. Directors Anthony and Joe Russo (also the directors of Avengers: Infinity War, as well as two of the Captain America films) and their team of writers have ensured, with machinelike precision, that each Avenger gets his or her proper allotment of sensitive moments, as well as heroic ones. Once in a while, Endgame is enjoyable on its own terms, though mostly, you’ll be better off if you have at least a rough working knowledge of the MCU movies that have preceded it. It’s an entertainment designed to please many, many people and disappoint as few as possible, extravagant without necessarily having a vision beyond its desire not to put a foot wrong. It’s bold in the safest possible way.
In other words, as movies that are part of multi-billion-dollar franchises go, Avengers: Endgame is good enough. I must note here that I have little invested in the Marvel movies as the result of any attachment to Marvel comics. But I do care about the work of the actors who appear in them, performers like Chris Evans and Scarlet Johansson, Chadwick Boseman and Robert Downey Jr., Zoe Saldana and Jeremy Renner. All of these people have been terrific in MCU movies, even when they could easily get by with being less than terrific. Watching Endgame, I realized that I do care about Marvel characters because these actors have made me care.
The skill those actors—along with some I haven’t mentioned, like Tessa Thompson and Mark Ruffalo and Benedict Cumberbatch—bring to the Marvel movies in general, and to Avengers: Endgame specifically, only makes me wish these movies were breezier and more inventive, and less obsessed with the high-stakes, big-money fan-pleasing game. But you can’t have everything, and Endgame at least gives these actors something to work with. (Minor-to-moderate spoilers follow, so if you want to experience Endgame with the naïve blankness of a tadpole freshly launched into the pond, please stop reading here.)
Endgame opens with an unnerving, gracefully filmed prologue involving Renner’s Clint Barton, Hawkeye when in his superhero guise. He’s enjoying an outdoor picnic with his family when it becomes clear that what we’re seeing is a moment connected to the tail end of Infinity War: The instant supervillain Thanos (Josh Brolin) snapped his fingers—after having captured the last of those six all-powerful nuggets known as the Infinity Stones —and destroyed exactly half the world’s population , leaving the other half to grieve and remember. (It’s more cruel, when you think about it, to destroy half the world than all of it.) This megalomaniacal act was Thanos’s way of cleansing what he viewed as a corrupt universe. But Hawkeye, having retreated from Avengers duty to be a family man, wasn’t around to witness Thanos’s big finale—and, as Endgame begins, he doesn’t yet know that half his friends have turned to dust. And so, in this moment, we know what’s going to happen before Hawkeye does: He turns away from his family for just a millisecond, and in a blink, they’re gone.
Next we see the other remaining Avengers pulling themselves together after the tragedy—or, in the case of Scott Lang/Antman (Paul Rudd), just waking up after a Quantum Realm-induced nap . Lang quickly gets up to speed on what he missed, and comes up with the germ of a plan: Might the Avengers go back in time to foil Thanos’s plan of half-destruction? Lang introduces his idea to remaining Avengers Steve Rogers/Captain America (Evans), Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Johansson) and James Rhodes/War Machine (Cheadle). They bring this spark of an idea to the guy who might be able to make it work, Downey’s Tony Stark/Iron Man, who barely survived Thanos’s destructathon. First Stark says it’s impossible; then he changes his mind—but he also worries that if the scheme doesn’t work, he’ll lose all he’s gained in what has for him become a bittersweet time, an era during which he’s mourning his lost friends but also starting a new life for himself.
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Avengers: Endgame review – unconquerable brilliance takes Marvel to new heights
The climactic movie in the Avengers series is an irresistible blend of action and comedy, guaranteeing a sugar rush of delirious enjoyment
T he previous Avengers movie, Infinity War, stunned believers and unbelievers alike with its sheer stupendous scale, and that devastating ending in which the evil Thanos appeared to have gained victory by getting hold of all six of the Infinity Stones, causing a crumbling-to-dust of many key players: a terrible cosmic loss, irreparable, irreversible, surely?
We were of course promised wild new surprises with this colossal climactic movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely and directed by the Russo brothers, Joe and Anthony. But would these surprises be .... new ways of coming to terms with the unchangeable disaster? Unexpected coping strategies? Novel means of simply accepting the Avengers’ stunningly permanent defeat? Or could it be … something else? Paul Rudd, who plays Ant-Man, was challenged on TV about the possibility of his character shrinking to a tiny size, flying into some convenient orifice of the evil Thanos, and then grossly enlarging himself to make the great villain go splat like Mr Creosote. Rudd declined to be drawn. Well, I won’t disclose how things progress here, other than to say it allows the main players to revisit some of the scenes of their most spectacular franchise triumphs. And I have to admit, in all its surreal grandiosity, in all its delirious absurdity, there is a huge sugar rush of excitement to this mighty finale, finally interchanging with euphoric emotion and allowing us to say poignant farewells.
In chess, an “endgame” sees relatively few pieces on the board – but of course, this film is much more heavily populated. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) is floating, desolately, in space, staring extinction in the face. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) confronts the loss of his family – a rather eerie, challengingly downbeat opening scene. Steve Rogers, formerly Captain America (Chris Evans) is helping others deal with their awful sense of cosmic grief. Rhodey (Don Cheadle) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) are grimly getting on things. Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) is a vivid new presence in everyone’s lives.
And change is the keynote. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) has found a way to co-exist as a gentle human intellectual and a green monster. He is now half-man, half-hulk (mulk?) and is now reconciled to a new twilight of celebrity, accepting selfie opportunities with kids. But Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is a worry. The great catastrophe has caused him to retreat to New Asgard, where he has put on an enormous amount of weight and morosely obsessed with beer and video games. It is a very funny performance from Hemsworth, emphasising that he is first among equals with the Avengers when it comes to comedy. Other people get funny lines as well, and the words “Mungo Jerry” gets one of the biggest laughs of the film.
But part of this movie is about how Thor comes to terms with the memory of his mother, Frigga (Rene Russo), and also in fact how Tony Stark achieves closure on the subject of his dad, Howard (John Slattery). And there are many more characters and subordinate narrative arcs to absorb. The poster is not an infallible guide. It is, as ever, a huge intricately detailed and interlocking mosaic of figures within that strange Avengers universe, which uniquely (and bizarrely) combines both the mythic and the contemporary – and which is here the stage for a Tolkienian quest.
Avengers: Endgame is 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.
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Avengers: Endgame is easily the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most ambitious, emotional, and affecting film to date, somehow managing to tie up more than a decade of storytelling in a confident (and mostly coherent) climax - a hurdle that many other blockbuster franchises have stumbled over in their final runs. It will inevitably provoke years of spirited debate among fans, and an overreliance on messy CGI action blunts some of its impact, but in terms of pure heart, Endgame holds nothing back. This may not have been the only way for Marvel to end the first chapter of its sprawling superhero saga, but when faced with 14,000,605 possible outcomes, it manages to be a surprising and satisfying one.
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Avengers: endgame, common sense media reviewers.
Intense but satisfying finale is an epic gift to MCU fans.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Violence is main means of conflict resolution, but
Avengers and friends are flawed but unforgettably
Frequent and intense comic book-style action viole
Brief kisses/embraces between a few romantic coupl
Occasional strong language, including "son of a bi
Two Audi cars. Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Film i
Thor drinks a lot as a form of self-medication. Un
Parents need to know that Avengers: Endgame is the final film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's current generation of movies, bringing together storylines and characters from 21 previous movies, starting with 2008's Iron Man . Families with younger kids should know that there's definitely as much…
Violence is main means of conflict resolution, but story is primarily about courage, self-sacrifice, heroism, collective good. Themes include teamwork, perseverance, courage. Central characters are willing to die (and kill) to save universe and rescue Earth from grief/trauma they've experienced. Also shows how important family and friendship are, how concept of family is more than pure biology: People can have incredibly strong chosen families, with friends who love you unconditionally. Emphasizes idea of being who you are , not who you think you're "supposed" to be.
Positive Role Models
Avengers and friends are flawed but unforgettably brave. They aren't individually as strong as Thanos, but together they can accomplish the impossible. They make sacrifices, protect one another, work together to save their loved ones and strangers alike. Women of Marvel once again have opportunity (albeit fairly brief one) to band together, and family men like Scott/Ant-Man and Clint/Hawkeye are particularly invested in doing what's necessary to save loved ones. Captain America and Thor prove themselves worthy of their special weapons/powers. Characters make difficult life-or-death decisions that put them in danger for the greater good. Thanos believes he's bringing salvation to universe, but his method -- genocide -- is untenable.
Violence & Scariness
Frequent and intense comic book-style action violence. Characters are killed, severely injured. Viewers will see dismemberment, decapitation, stabbing, crushing, shooting, impalement, choking, extremely destructive explosions, self-sacrifice, pursuit by scary monsters, etc. A character carries out ruthless vigilante justice, leaving lots of bodies in his wake. Weapons include guns, swords, axes, hammers, missiles. Violence isn't especially gory, but a couple of injuries/deaths are a bit bloody. Frequent peril and danger. Mourning/sadness. Arguments/yelling/shouting. Spoiler alert: A couple of beloved characters die in order to save the universe, and a couple of previously dead characters don't return to life, which could upset viewers.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Brief kisses/embraces between a few romantic couples. Thor spends some scenes shirtless.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.
Occasional strong language, including "son of a bitch," "ass," "s--t," "bulls--t," "d--khead," "pissed," "damn," "pissant," "hell," "crap," "goddamn," "Jesus" (as an exclamation), and "oh my God." (Even Cap swears!)
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.
Products & Purchases
Two Audi cars. Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Film is tied into vast merchandising/licensing efforts surrounding Marvel Comics.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Thor drinks a lot as a form of self-medication. Until a life-changing conversation, he's often looking for beer, ale, liquor, and/or wine, and bottles and barrels are shown.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Avengers: Endgame is the final film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's current generation of movies, bringing together storylines and characters from 21 previous movies, starting with 2008's Iron Man . Families with younger kids should know that there's definitely as much intense violence (decapitation, explosions, stabbings, impalement, crushing, shooting, etc.), and even more pain, trauma, and grief here than there was in Avengers: Infinity War . Spoiler alert : A couple of beloved characters die, which will prove particularly upsetting. The language is similar to that in previous movies (mostly uses of "s--t," "ass," "d--k" -- even Captain America swears this time!), but there's no romance beyond a few brief embraces and kisses between established couples; a very minor male character talks about dating another man. Thor drinks a lot to numb his pain. Those who haven't seen any of the previous MCU installments should at least watch Infinity War and Captain America: Civil War to follow the plot, but those who are familiar with the movies and comics will be rewarded with plenty of inside jokes and references. With themes of courage, teamwork, and perseverance, this epic Avengers finale is the ultimate gift to Marvel fans -- they'll laugh, cry, and cheer as their favorite superheroes team up to save the universe one more time. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails .
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Based on 126 parent reviews
It is a movie: but life is reflected in this movie.
What's the story.
AVENGERS: ENDGAME is set after Thanos' catastrophic use of the Infinity Stones randomly wiped out half of Earth's population in Avengers: Infinity War . Those left behind are desperate to do something -- anything -- to bring back their lost loved ones. But after an initial attempt -- with extra help from Captain Marvel ( Brie Larson ) -- creates more problems than solutions, the grieving, purposeless Avengers think all hope is lost. They're reenergized by the eventual reappearance of Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man ( Paul Rudd ), who was stuck in the quantum realm during the fight on Wakanda. He believes there could be a way to reverse Thanos' deadly snap. It takes a while to gather the squad -- some of whom have changed dramatically -- but eventually Iron Man ( Robert Downey Jr. ), Thor ( Chris Hemsworth ), Captain America ( Chris Evans ), Black Widow ( Scarlett Johansson ), the Hulk ( Mark Ruffalo ), Rocket ( Bradley Cooper ), Nebula ( Karen Gillan ), Hawkeye ( Jeremy Renner ), and Ant-Man team up for one last life-or-death mission to outsmart Thanos ( Josh Brolin ) and save the universe.
Is It Any Good?
The Russo brothers' poignant, powerful finale more than lives up to the hype: It's a thrilling conclusion and a deeply emotional exploration of loss and love, duty and honor, friendship and family. Written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, the story focuses on the remaining Avengers and their post-trauma lives. Each seems overwhelmed by their failure, so when they start to regroup, it's clear that they're far from the same confident, optimistic superheroes who thought they could defeat Thanos in Infinity War . The dads in the group are particularly effective at showing how personal the grief is, providing a contrast to the general sense of failure and loss that the single superheroes feel. As the often underappreciated Hawkeye, Renner stands out in a crowded field of immense talent for making his character feel central. His intensity and his platonic, brotherly love for Natasha/Black Widow is perfectly conveyed. Johansson does a lot of the emotionally resonant work in the movie, keeping tabs on everyone, encouraging her friends, and acting like everyone's favorite sister (except in the Hulk's case). The big three -- Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor -- are also fabulous. Their differences have never been more obvious, but each proves that despite past conflicts and heartbreaks, they're worthy and ready to fight side by side.
There's so much packed into the three hours of Avengers: Endgame that it might seem overwhelming at times; this is clearly a film that will inspire repeat viewing. There are unexpected twists and moments of hilarity, as well as more serious scenes and themes. Those well-versed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe will delight in the many Easter eggs and clear fan service (yes, there's still a Stan Lee cameo), while more casual fans will still find plenty of reasons to applaud. What's also true is that the three-hour movie brings all the feels. Just when one gut-punching beat finishes, there's barely enough of a break for a zinger from Tony or Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper ) before another "oh no" moment squeezes your heart . But don't despair: This is a bittersweet example that the best heroes won't allow hubris or insecurity to defeat them. Endgame ranks up there with The Return of the King and Deathly Hallows: Part 2 -- all are epic, emotional, and exceptional franchise finales.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the action violence in Avengers: Endgame. Does any of it seem realistic? Is it intended to? Is there a difference in the impact between hand-to-hand combat and catastrophic, buildings-collapsing-type explosions? How can a single death be just as or even more upsetting than the death of crowds?
What are the movie's messages about teamwork , courage , and perseverance ? Why are these important character strengths ?
This movie deals with grief, loss, and trauma. How do the characters handle their pain differently? Which ones deal with trauma in a healthy way, and which don't? What motivates them all to "be better," as Natasha says?
Why is it important for superheroes to be diverse? Do you think the Marvel Cinematic Universe offers strong examples of racial and gender diversity? Has that changed over the films' history? What other types of representation would you like to see in these movies?
What will you miss most about this particular combination of Avengers? Which characters did you like best in this installment? Which characters surprised you the most? What Marvel-based stories do you hope they continue making?
- In theaters : April 26, 2019
- On DVD or streaming : August 13, 2019
- Cast : Chris Evans , Robert Downey Jr. , Scarlett Johansson
- Directors : Anthony Russo , Joe Russo
- Inclusion Information : Female actors
- Studio : Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
- Genre : Action/Adventure
- Topics : Superheroes , Adventures , Space and Aliens
- Character Strengths : Courage , Perseverance , Teamwork
- Run time : 181 minutes
- MPAA rating : PG-13
- MPAA explanation : sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and some language
- Award : Common Sense Selection
- Last updated : February 18, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Our editors recommend.
Avengers: Infinity War
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
- Science Fiction Film and Television
Avengers: Endgame (review)
- Sabrina Mittermeier
- Liverpool University Press
- Volume 14, Issue 3, Autumn 2021
- pp. 423-429
- View Citation
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