This month's IRL focuses on the Marvel Cinematic Universe's latest achievement -- Avengers: Endgame. While we can already tell you how to watch the movie (go IMAX or go home), now it's time to talk about how we felt once it was over and the lights came back on.
Note: If you have not seen the movie yet, we are discussing plot points and "spoilers" below.
I can finally let go of the breath I'd been holding since Avengers: Infinity War ended. After being utterly devastated by all my favorite characters dying in that film, I'd spent the last year rewatching a bunch of older Marvel movies, as well as Ant-Man and the Wasp, just to feel like they were still around. But in the back of my mind, I knew most of them would be coming back in Endgame, and we'd all be reunited.
Funnily enough, Endgame turned out to be more of a farewell than Infinity War, but at least I don't feel bereft. The deaths and departures in this year's Avengers all had meaning, and I'm excited to see how the second generation of Earth's mightiest heroes will take on the mantle. I'm depressed, of course, that some of the resurrections I was hoping for didn't happen (sniff, Vision and Loki). But the beauty of Endgame is that with the new time-traveling trope it introduced -- anything is possible. We all saw Loki escape with the Tesseract -- OG Loki may be dead, but Loki 2.0 could return (albeit without the goodness that redemption in Thor: Ragnarok imbued in him). Then there's my hope that Shuri can somehow bring back Vision. We'll have to see.
Endgame closed Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe perfectly. It bade beautiful goodbyes to the original heroes who kickstarted the franchise and gave us just enough leeway to hope for fan favorites to return. Armed with the decade of experience and the formula that Marvel has refined to millions of dollars of success, Marvel has a new opportunity to bring aboard a second wave of fans that might not have jumped on the bandwagon until the furor that the last two Avengers movies drummed up. I can't wait to see where our heroes end up next.
Bureau Chief, UK
Endgame was long, but satisfying in a lot of ways. It was such an enjoyable conclusion to this run of Marvel movies that I'm almost tempted to watch it again -- simply because there was so much to take in.
The parts I liked most were the snatched-from-comic-headline moments: Loki's death get-out clause; Cap. America versus (younger) Cap. America; 'Reasons' why Captain Marvel, the team's biggest hitter, couldn't stick around to help Earth.
I was also amazed that Marvel Studios was willing to fork out all the money needed to get pretty much all the characters ever mentioned back on screen. Ten seconds of Natalie Portman? You got it; Michelle Pfieffer standing next to Michael Douglas for a few seconds, let alone a youthful Michael Douglas doing experiments in the '70s. Disney brought out its money guns and made it rain.
Endgame is the end of an era, phase, whatever. Not only in regards to the story, but also for me, doggedly following this universe and every film it spits out. Freed from a story I bought into back in 2011 (the first Avengers movie -- the real start, c'mon), I don't feel obliged to watch a Bucky spin-off or Hawkeye's presumably angsty daughter presumably avenging her father's death. Instead, I am finally free to pick and choose. More Guardians Of the Galaxy, more Black Panther, more Dr. Strange. The movies that felt different, fresher. And less like comic book movies.
For the past year, I've felt like a bad Marvel fan because I didn't like Avengers Infinity War. While most of the world was shocked by Thanos' Snapture, which wiped out half of life in the universe with the snap of his fingers, I was left cold. Surely, the next film would erase that, so what did it really mean? For the most part, I was turned off by Infinity War's relentless pacing, which left little room to mourn the loss of significant characters like Gamora.
So I'm as surprised as you are that I loved Endgame. It's a movie that takes its time, allowing us to see how the characters we've followed for the past year dealt with the ultimate defeat. While there's certainly plenty of large-scale action, it's all rooted in character moments. And personally, I'm more impressed by the quiet bits of the film: Tony Stark, when he realizes he made a discovery that could change everything; or Thor regretting not going for Thanos' head when he had the chance. By the end, I was tearing up along with the rest of my theater. And unlike Infinity War, this time those tears were earned.
"IRL" is a recurring column in which the Engadget staff run down what they're buying, using, playing and streaming.