CineMaierson: “Avengers: Endgame” Review


While watching “Avengers: Endgame,” Eli Maierson felt nostalgic for the Marvel movies he saw during his childhood.

Eli Maierson, Senior Assignments Editor

Note: Not a traditional review. Also 100% spoiler-free!

It’s hard to approach Avengers: Endgame with the same critical, objective eye I try to approach most movies with. Endgame isn’t a movie; it’s an 11-year hype train the size of 17 Super Bowls. It’s an event. It’s overblown. It’s the second half of a six-hour epic. It’s the last in a 22-volume series.

And it was a stunningly fitting end to my childhood and send-off to college.

As a child, I was a comic book fan first and foremost, but my whole life has been punctuated by superhero movies.

I am able to track the progression of my life by recalling the context around my viewing of any particular movie. I remember watching the first two Iron Man films in the backseat of my dad’s old car with my sister, staying entertained on long Texas road trips to see our grandparents. When that car was emptied and sold, I stumbled across those DVDs again and was overcome with true nostalgia.

I remember my grandpa’s confusion after we saw the fast-paced, high-octane Captain America: The First Avenger together. I remember a time when I unironically enjoyed the first Thor film.

I remember how it felt like the entire world was in harmony, just for a few short weeks, when The Avengers was released.

I remember adult Groot, baby Groot and angsty teenage Groot. I remember the good, the bad and the amazing Stan Lee cameos.

I remember seeing Doctor Strange with my family, and I remember my mom’s crush on Benedict Cumberbatch. She didn’t care for how he was treated in Infinity War.

I remember greeting random classmates in the theater during the Black Panther mania that conquered February of 2018. I remember watching Spider-Man: Homecoming three times the year prior.

I remember the afterparty scene, the airport fight, the iconic shot of the original six. I remember “I am Iron Man,” “I’m always angry” and “I could do this all day.”

I remember panning the terrible entries and yawning through the mediocre ones. But I mostly remember loving the great ones.

I remember the tear-fest that ensued after Infinity War, and I will always remember seeing Endgame with that same group of friends a year later, less than a month before our names will be called at graduation.

The MCU, for all its plot holes, bloated films and sometimes undeserved hype, hasn’t just carved out a niche in cinema; it has dominated and fundamentally changed pop culture. More importantly, it was a childhood staple for millions of kids like me worldwide. We’ve been lucky enough to watch our heroes grow up alongside us for over a decade.

Just think about the cornerstone of the MCU, Tony Stark, and his character arc we’ve witnessed. We’ve watched him evolve from a cocky, arrogant jerk to a snarky hero in Iron Man to a guilt-ridden mess in Captain America: Civil War to a father figure in Avengers: Infinity War. And he keeps growing throughout Endgame.

I haven’t seen every single film, and I don’t plan on revisiting them now. I don’t even feel prepared for Spider-Man: Far From Home. I know movies and TV shows have already been planned for a massive Phase 4. But this should be the last MCU movie, and in an emotional sense, it is. The past tense feels appropriate.

My friends and I in the theater today, in a sense, were in our own endgame. We are ready to move onto the next phase of our lives. But we’ll always be overwhelmingly grateful for all the superpowered life-lessons and memories.

Thank you, MCU.

Score for the MCU: 5/5 childhood experience

P.S. Right before Endgame was released, a group of YouTubers decided to be a part of something bigger than themselves. They created a playlist of videos called “One Marvelous Scene,” each of which reexamines and recontextualizes the best moments of the MCU’s run. I highly recommend checking it out, especially the videos on Military Ads in Marvel Movies and Spider-Man: Homecoming (not necessarily SFW).