**WARNING: THE FOLLOWING POST INCLUDES SPOILERS FOR AVENGERS: ENDGAME. IF YOU HAVE NOT WATCHED ENDGAME YET AND YOU ARE DESPERATELY TRYING TO AVOID SPOILERS THEN STOP READING… NOW! THIS IS YOUR ONE AND ONLY WARNING. YOU CAN ALWAYS BOOKMARK THIS PAGE AND COME BACK WHEN YOU’VE WATCHED THE MOVIE.**

If you’ve progressed to this point of my post I can only assume you’ve watched the movie or you’re happy to read spoilers.

OK… here we go then.

After 11 years, 22 movies, countless colourful characters, post-credit scenes and Stan Lee cameos, the Endgame has finally been revealed. Was it worth the wait?

Yes.

What Marvel Studios has pulled off with the Marvel Cinematic Universe is incredible and Endgame is the culmination of that. Oh, Endgame isn’t perfect – I’ll get to that in a moment – but what this movie has done is pull together multiple threads to create a picture which can only exist because of everything that has come before it.

The callbacks to past movies, the references to iconic moments, none of this would be possible without the steady approach that Marvel Studios has taken. All the other studios that tried and failed to create a cinematic universe over the years, by rushing ahead without a clear plan, *cough* DC Entertainment *cough*, could have achieved the same results if only they hadn’t gone for the quick payoff.

Watching a movie like Endgame isn’t just about seeing a big comic book film, it is about sitting down with a group of people who have all invested years into the same narrative. The world is talking about Endgame right now – that’s not an exaggeration just look online – and that is because this is a huge cultural event.

In the same way Black Panther and Infinity War brought people out to the cinema last year – people who never bother going to the cinema anymore – Endgame has done the same thing and then some. The screening I attended this morning was the perfect example of this – it was 9:40am and the auditorium was RAMMED!

9:40am on a Thursday morning, in a cinema that has 79 screenings of Endgame across a 24-hour period and it was jam-packed. And everyone in attendance was respectful of everyone else (a rarity these days) because we all wanted to take the same journey.

So… the journey.

OK, well let me get this out of the way now. Endgame isn’t perfect. It’s slow. It’s a three-hour movie which feels like a three-hour movie.

The first hour is very talky and unlike Infinity War, which felt relentless in its storytelling, Endgame meanders a fair bit. There’s a reason for this – the film has to re-establish the status quo – but there are definite pacing issues to begin with as it lurches from one idea (killing Thanos) to the next (travelling back in time).

There is also the pesky problem of Captain Marvel – an incredibly powerful character who has only recently been added to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. When it comes to Endgame, Captain Marvel doesn’t have much to do and is instead sidelined early doors.

It’s kind of expected but also frustrating. I wanted to see Captain Marvel given more to do.

The pace and Captain Marvel’s benching were my biggest peeves, with perhaps the pace of the film being the main problem for me. Because it takes a while to get going I do wonder how well Endgame will stand up to multiple viewings?

Image: ©Marvel/Disney

Now, all that aside, Endgame truly lives up to its status as an event movie. Not only does it manage to bring together so many characters from so many different stories, it does it in a way that allows for the founding members of this series to shine – namely Captain America, Thor and of course, Iron Man.

All three of these characters get to complete their journey and are now able to sign off from the MCU in a way that seems fitting. In the case of Thor, this might not be the end as such, but certainly for Cap and Iron Man we’ve reached the end of the road.

Thanks to some time-hopping, Tony Stark got to see his dad through different eyes – the eyes of a father. This played well into his role as a father to Morgan and as a mentor to Peter Parker.

For Thor, he got to spend time with his mother. This was an emotional moment, but one which allowed him to reconnect with himself – someone he’s lost sight of as of late (becoming ‘fat’ Thor in the process).

However, it was Cap who perhaps had the most emotional journey, being given the chance to live out a new life with Peggy Carter. A new path that connected back to 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger and allowed for a touching passing of the torch as we move on.

And this is a passing of the torch. Endgame is as much about concluding a 22-movie series as it is about setting up the next run of films. Sure, we’ve still got Spider-Man: Far From Home to come in July, but that is going to be a summer blow out rather than a bold new entry, so it was important that our old favourites got their chance to revisit the past.

We now need new characters, new stories and a new dynamic to take us forward and that’s what Endgame has given us. Loki lives, Sam Wilson is Captain America, Valkyrie leads the Asgardians and Thor is a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy.

The semi-return of Jane Foster also suggests the door could be open for Natalie Portman to return, should she ever decide to come back to the MCU – and I hope she does. Heck, there’s room for a new Thor and I don’t see why Portman couldn’t take up the mantle, reflecting the recent run of comics where Jane Foster wields the hammer.

And speaking of the comics, not only was this movie filled with references back to past MCU entries (Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier), but it also featured a number of nods to the comics, including Ant-Man’s original helmet and my favourite moment of all, Cap’s line, “hail, Hydra”.

A few years ago, when Cap was outed as a Nazi in the comics, the line “hail, Hydra” became such a huge talking point. It was great to see it dropped into this movie so casually, while still making sense within the context of the situation.

This moment got a huge laugh from the audience, which was good, because there were times where the audience were pretty sedate in my screening. I feel this was partially because the jokes were sometimes in short supply and other times because the audience were on the edge of their seats, unsure what to expect.

To be honest, I was on the edge of my seat unsure what to expect too. I kept trying to second guess everything and was almost always wrong – except towards the climactic finale. Yeah, I guessed that was going to happen.

Once I saw the Hulk do the first ‘Snap’, I knew a huge team-up battle was coming with all of the ‘lost’ heroes getting involved. What I didn’t know was just how amazing it would be.

Going back to what I said towards the beginning of this post, what Endgame has achieved is truly incredible and this is perhaps most evident in the climactic battle. My inner fanboy was jumping for joy at the sight of all the heroes coming back to kick Thanos’s ass.

And let’s talk about some of those moments.

Scarlet Witch unleashing her inner fury; Pepper Potts donning the Iron Man armour (again); all those Wakandans… this was a huge battle. The biggest comic book movie battle of all time took place in Endgame and it’s likely to be the biggest for a very long time to come and I’m OK with that.

Endgame earned this battle. It felt a release after the events of the movie, but also a huge payoff for everything that has got us to this point in the MCU.

As a comic book reader of 27 years, who started his comic book journey with Marvel, I can’t quite believe the gift that the MCU truly is. Never did I expect this level of movie making and to see all of these characters share the big screen together.

Whatever the direction this universe takes from here on out, it’s had an amazing run so far and I am truly excited for what is to follow.

Now, just one question. Who was the unnamed boy who attended Tony Stark’s funeral? Was this a callback to Iron Man 3 or did this have some greater, future significance?

Hmmm….

Still much to unpack, contemplate and consider. For now, Endgame entertained me and was more than worth the cost of my ticket.

Smart Hulk was also worth the cost of the ticket alone.