A 14 million to 1 chance

Against all odds, “Avengers: Endgame” perfectly caps an 11-year franchise

Moviegoers+walk+past+a+poster+promoting+%22Avengers%3A+Endgame%22+outside+Marcus+Theater+in+Sun+Prairie.+The+movie+is+the+culmination+of+an+11-year+drama
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A 14 million to 1 chance

Moviegoers walk past a poster promoting

Moviegoers walk past a poster promoting "Avengers: Endgame" outside Marcus Theater in Sun Prairie. The movie is the culmination of an 11-year drama

Abbey Miskimen/Clarion

Moviegoers walk past a poster promoting "Avengers: Endgame" outside Marcus Theater in Sun Prairie. The movie is the culmination of an 11-year drama

Abbey Miskimen/Clarion

Abbey Miskimen/Clarion

Moviegoers walk past a poster promoting "Avengers: Endgame" outside Marcus Theater in Sun Prairie. The movie is the culmination of an 11-year drama

Sean Bull, Broadcast Manager

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It’s been two weeks. What can I say about “Avengers: Endgame” that hasn’t already been said by millions? It’s good, you already know that. This year, so far, has been a great year for superhero movies. Heck, just last issue, I called “Shazam!” the best superhero movie this decade. I still stand by that claim, but now that “Endgame” is out, it’s worth recontextualizing. “Shazam!” is the best superhero movie when judged purely on its own merits. It stands alone, and looks all the more impressive because of it. “Endgame” is an achievement in quite the opposite way.

For the past eleven years, Marvel Studios has built a series unparalleled by anything in modern pop culture. They’ve produced more than twenty films, all of which range on a watchabillity scale from fine to excellent. At first, each of the movies stood on their own, but the references and crossovers became more frequent and integral to the plot as the years went by. Now, thanks to a consistent vision and tight creative control, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is as serialized as any television show. In a very real way, “Endgame” is the biggest season finale of all time.

Considering its scale, it’s helpful that “Endgame” starts with half the cast of “Infinity War” out of the picture. Even with a full three hours of time to distribute, it’s a mighty task to work so many Avengers onto the same screen. Writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely deftly balance this load, every character is developed and advanced, no matter how many movies they have featured in before. The consequences of “Infinity War” are felt in full, and no cheap shortcuts are taken around that previous film’s tragic ending. What really elevates the film’s writing, though, is the callbacks. Naming any of them would be difficult while avoiding spoilers, but so many things that were set up in previous films are featured or referenced in “Endgame.” In a movie that is supposed to be a capstone for what Marvel has built, these moments of payoff reward attentive fans, and enhance the sense of finality.

Though writing is far more important to the overall quality of the film, it’s also worth mentioning how great effects have gotten. In past films (“Rogue One” comes to mind), Disney seemed to use its face-altering technique with some trepidation, but that is definitely no longer the case. People are digitally made younger or older on a whim, seemingly just to flex on technologically inferior studios. The magic isn’t just in the closeup shots, though. Plenty of movies have featured sprawling battle scenes created within a computer, but “Avengers: Endgame” takes its entry to a new level. The epic panning shots never get lost in their own size, instead establishing clear scenes, re-creating the effect of the comic splash page as faithfully as has been done to date.

If you’re new to superheroes, and want to see one in theaters now… my review from last issue still stands, go see “Shazam!” You can still find at the cineplex, and it’s still great. Once you’ve done your homework, come back to Endgame. Though Marvel will continue to make movies until the sun burns out, this one is the culmination of something special. We may never see a story arc put to screen like this again, as other studios have already tried and failed. My hat is off to Disney for having the determination to make this crazy project work, whatever it takes.

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