When last we left our Marvel Universe heroes in "Infinity Wars", many of them, along with half the Earth's population, had been turned to dust at the hands of Thanos, one of the best on-screen villains ever, played by Josh Brolin.
The new movie picks up with the tragedy and the emotional impact of the mass murder that was supposed to ease suffering on Earth. Instead, it has intensified it, especially on the surviving Avengers who feel like they've let down, not only the world, but also their closest friends.
In both, visually and emotionally stunning sequences that convey the pain, the struggle to move on and decide what must come next in this new world begins to hatch.
So how will they deal with wiping out half of the franchise in the last movie? Will it be passive mourning? Will it be pure revenge on the part of Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Thor, Ant-Man, The Hulk, Nebula, Rocket, War Machine, Captain Marvel, Pepper Potts and more? Or will they try to find a way to recapture the stones that enabled Thanos to commit his crime, and try to reverse this unthinkable tragedy.
This is where the major spoilers take over this multi-layered script that is a true comic book epic. It is amazingly exciting, typically funny and irreverent, full of eye-popping and sweeping effects, but also, more than most Marvel movies, it is beautifully warm, charming and heartfelt — not only for its own story but mostly as a fitting and final ending that will drop your jaw over and over, especially in its final act that is a homecoming homage to the franchise. It's a three-hour epic that flies by.
My only complaint is that "End Game" is very-steeped in Marvel history. Super fans will love it, but average moviegoers will sometimes feel lost in understanding what's-what and who's who. I always think that a movie needs to stand on it's own. Maybe that's an outdated concept in these days of TV binge watching. In this case, Marvel bingeing is almost required.
Either way, it's a spectacular, historic piece of film making that otherwise, works on every level. It's a Dean's List "A."