Cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Brie Larson, Paul Rudd, Josh Brolin, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Gwyneth Paltrow, Chadwick Boseman, Tom Holland, Rene Russo, Karen Gillian, Bradley Cooper (Voice)
Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Rating: * * * * & a half
The Resurrection and End Times narrative from Scripture resonates in this fourth and (allegedly) final instalment of the 21 chapter saga from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Its predecessor “Avengers Infinity War” had ended on a traumatic note of devastation and utter sadness. But when gloom pervades, can the light be far behind? Beyond despair, there is, always, hope.
Viewers had been left horrified by Thanos’s (Josh Brolin) destruction of half the universe with the Infinity Stones. Now, the survivors – including Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Ant Man (Paul Ruud), Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Nebula (Karen Gillian) must regroup to stop Thanos from destroying the remnants.
Of course, it takes time to reassemble a battery of super heroes and their allies. Thor has acquired a beer belly, Hawkeye is unable to numb the shock of seeing his wife and children vanish in the blink of an eye. (Source material, the New Testament.)
Sensitively written (by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely), deftly directed by the Russo siblings and well acted by a star ensemble cast, the film knits science and psychology with themes of bravery, self-sacrifice, friendship, teamwork, and perseverance.
The film is three hours long and your reviewer watched it without a break, enjoying, like any adoring fan, the what-ifs, the wisecracks from Thor and the raccoon Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and the cameos by Robert Redford, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Douglas and yes, Stan Lee.
Fans of the franchise who lamented at the short shrift given to Hawkeye and Ant Man in “Avengers Infinity War” have reason to rejoice. Both have meaty roles in The Avengers Endgame story-arc of unexpected twists and turns and its eventual culmination on a poignant note of hope, of regeneration and renewal. Just like the Easter message.