The grand finale for the first segment of the Marvel Universe’s cinematic incarnation arrives with pomp and circumstance, particularly following its immediate predecessor “Avengers: Infinity War.” However, after an intriguing first few minutes, the movie starts to drag almost immediately, and it takes about ninety minutes for it to come back alive. The first half is prolonged and overly talky, with so many extraneous scenes and conversations that don’t add much to the overall narrative, while the fast-forward five years into the future has the unfortunate side effect of halting the momentum established by the preceding entry. That being said, in the second half, the movie roars back back with a vengeance: The final battle scene is truly awe-inspiring, and even though the viewer knows that all of it is rendered in CGI, it carries the weight of the 20-plus movies that came before it and honors them well. The climax is surprisingly emotionally rising and adds verisimilitude to the dynamics among the Avengers, and by the time the end credits roll, it’s clear that directors Anthony and Joe Russo have fulfilled their promise to longtime fans and delivered a crowd-pleaser for the ages. It’s just a shame that the first half is a bit of a slog.
Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)