The official poster for “Avengers: Endgame.” The movie premiered on April 24, 2019. PUBLIC DOMAIN

THIS IS A WARNING TO ANYONE THAT HAS NOT SEEN “AVENGERS: ENDGAME.” DO NOT, I REPEAT DO NOT READ PAST THIS POINT IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO SEE SPOILERS FOR THE FILM. I WILL BE SPOILING THE EVENTS OF THE FILM IN THIS REVIEW AND AM NOT RESPONSIBLE IF YOU CHOOSE TO IGNORE THIS WARNING.

Okay, now with that out of the way: OH. MY. GOD. What a movie. I laughed, I cried and then I cried some more. I thought there was no way the movie would be able to live up to the hype it had generated and I have never been so happy to be wrong. It was everything I wanted and more. The movie has already crushed records in the box office, making $1.2 billion for its opening worldwide.

Right out of the gate they come for your throat with emotional attacks. Hawkeye, the former Avenger who retired to be with his family, played by Jeremy Renner, starts the heartaches. It’s a beautiful scene of his family right before they all get snapped away by the events of Infinity War. We see the survivors of the snap gathered together, trying to come up with a plan and we feel their desperation through the screen. Then, immediately some of the survivors decide to take the fight to Thanos. Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth, finally “goes for the head.” But it’s too late and he knows it. The damage has already been done and Thanos has destroyed the infinity stones.

The Russo brothers do an excellent job of crafting a world that truly feels hopeless, using a time skip to jump to 2023, five years after the events of Infinity War. It’s a world where you can tell each character is doing whatever they can to cope. Most haven’t given up, but some, like Natasha, seem to be almost at their breaking point. And then in comes Ant-Man.

The only character not to have experienced the events of Infinity War and the ensuing fallout having been trapped in the Quantum Realm at the time, Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man is the perfect catalyst to bring a much-needed spark of hope back to a grimmer, darker Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). With his hopeful optimism, a touch of pseudo-science and a very convoluted explanation of time travel, the Avengers are back in action. Even Ironman, played by Robert Downey Jr., couldn’t resist getting involved despite having more to lose than anyone. He now has a family with his wife,Pepper, played by Gwyneth Paltrow and five year old daughter Morgan.

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Time travel it seems was the very best engine for the MCU to close out the Infinity Saga before Marvel’s Phase Four starts and pay tribute to the movies that got it to where it is today. From beautiful homages to the original Avengers movie to little jokes that show how much growth these characters have experienced over the years, the Russo brothers managed to take one of the most complicated and dangerous sci-fi topics and make it work almost perfectly.

The movie dealt me another brutal emotional gut punch about halfway through, when Natasha played by Scarlett Johansson and Hawkeye fight each other in a parallel of the first Avengers movie — only this time, they are fighting to sacrifice themselves for the Soul Stone. Natasha ends up throwing herself from Hawkeye’s grasp and I felt the pain he felt as the first of the original Avengers died.

The movie had some nice moments of comic relief, but more often it chose to use time travel to make me feel emotions that I wasn’t necessarily expecting to feel during a superhero movie — at least not so frequently.

Thor meets his now deceased mother again in an emotional reunion that he clearly needed in order to get back on track. Even more unexpectedly, Tony’s run-in with his father is such a touching and heartfelt moment that my eyes actually watered.

Now of course with time travel you always run the risk of making past antagonists into bigger current threats and boy do they ever, as a Thanos from 2014, played by Josh Brolin, makes his way to 2023, seeking to destroy the Avengers and claim all six infinity stones in one fell swoop. But in Endgame, the Thanos we meet is younger and much more arrogant, not yet tempered by the pain and frustration of the betrayals he experiences in future films. His greed is clear from the beginning, and this makes him the villain we truly deserve for this final film in the saga.

It was everything I have ever wanted from this franchise right up to the final moments in which Tony does what he knew he had to do to win the day. The minutes that follow had me shook to the core, and a beautiful and heartfelt ending really sent the tears rolling down my cheeks. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go have a cheeseburger.

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