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What Rotten Tomatoes Is Saying About Avengers: Endgame

The endgame is here. Over a decade of Marvel movie magic, 21 films in the expansive Marvel Cinematic Universe, dozens of Easter eggs hidden in each entry, many mid- and post-credits scenes, hundreds of minutes of action and emotion, billions of dollars spent at the box office, and countless tears shed and cheers shouted — it has all led up to this moment: the release of Avengers: Endgame.

The follow-up to Avengers: Infinity War, which stupefied audiences with its eleventh-hour twist that saw most of our Marvel favorites (plus half of all life in the universe) vanish into nothingness, Endgame is among the most highly anticipated films of the year. A movie of its magnitude was always going to be world-rocking, heart-stopping, and totally mind-blowing, and though most Marvel Zombies won't get to experience Endgame for themselves until April 26, we seem to have definitive proof that the wait will be more than worth it.

Ahead of Endgame's theatrical debut, reviews for the superhero ensemble started hitting the internet. Critics near and far raced to let their thoughts about Endgame be heard — and you'll want to lend them your ear. Here's what the critics on Rotten Tomatoes are saying about Avengers: Endgame.

Don't worry: you're entering a spoiler-free zone!

It all pays off

There's a lot riding on Avengers: Endgame to be a worthy successor to Avengers: Infinity War and a capstone to three phases of the MCU so far. Thankfully, Endgame seems to have doubly succeeded. Critics say Endgame pays off everything within itself and much that preceded it: risks of past movies, bets the heroes make here, the lengthy run time, the stakes and storylines, the plot we won't spoil — everything

"The bet pays off. The story feels more organic this time, the emotions more earned, and the interpersonal dynamics richer and more lived-in," Mashable's Angie Han wrote. Den of Geek's Rosie Fletcher and Richard Jordan called Endgame "a totally triumphant payoff," while Susana Polo of Polygon said "there's nothing Endgame sets up that it doesn't pay off."

"The film earns its length not by overstuffing the frame with opulent action, but by slowing things down and basking in the charisma of its ensemble," wrote The Atlantic's David Sims. "Thanos' demand for a dramatic ending in Infinity War pays off here in all the right ways."

Russ Fischer at Birth.Movies.Death. agreed: "Rather than closing things down, Endgame opens everything up. This is a genre film with layers of overlapping Big Ideas, character conflicts that could be flat-out ridiculous if handled with less skill, and deep in-jokes featuring dozens of costumed characters ... Ultimately, Endgame is an entire movie of payoffs. It plays off and completes thoughts begun in Age of Ultron and Civil War, and even in comics."

A perfect pinnacle

Overselling how enormous a feat directors Joe and Anthony Russo attempted to execute with Avengers: Endgame is almost impossible. Crafting a solid sequel to Avengers: Infinity War is one thing — helming the culmination of over a decade of Marvel Cinematic Universe installments, which will serve as the end of the franchise's third phase and the end of an era for Marvel superhero movies, is another. According to critics, it's also a thing that the Russo brothers did marvelously. For many, Endgame is a flawless coming-together of the MCU's 11-year epic.

"Marvel has given the series a barnstorming, and surprisingly moving, finale," said David Sims of The Atlantic, who also called Endgame "a perfect goodbye."

Vox's Alex Abad-Santos went so far as to say "Marvel could stop" making movies after Endgame, and fans would be entirely satisfied. He wrote that Endgame is "a fitting, winsome celebration of all things Marvel ... true to its name as a stunning final chapter in a narrative that Marvel has built over 11 years."

"After 11 years and 21 movies, Avengers: Endgame is larger than a mere movie. It's a personal experience," said io9 critic Germain Lussier. "It works as a singular film and ultimately will be judged as such, but on first viewing, it works even better as a cherry on top of a decade of Marvel storytelling — the final piece of a glorious puzzle we've all been working to piece together since 2008."

Emotions run high

If you thought Avengers: Infinity War was heartbreaking, you apparently have a big storm coming with Avengers: Endgame. Critics are advising fans to pack some hankies and wear waterproof mascara when they head out to see the film, as it's packed with tear-jerking emotions of all sorts. (Hey, it even made Captain America himself, Chris Evans, cry six times.)

INSIDER's Kirsten Acuna relayed, "Bust out the tissues, Marvel fans. Avengers: Endgame is going to make you laugh, cheer aloud, tear up multiple times, and cry. By the film's end, there were audible sniffles throughout INSIDER's 10 AM press screening Tuesday morning. Endgame is an emotional punch straight to the gut." And forget about analyzing what happens in the film post-screening: "You're going to be too emotionally distraught by the film's ending to really nitpick at anything in Endgame," said Acuna.

Viewers won't weep exclusively out of sadness, though. As Rosie Fletcher and Richard Jordan at Den of Geek wrote in their joint review, "At times Endgame is heartbreaking — expect to cry. But there are certain scenes that border on the euphoric; certain character moments, surprises and reveals that hit so hard in the heart and the head that it feels like you're MCU-drunk."

"It's a serious contender for the crown and it's the undisputed champion when it comes to emotional punch," said Chicago Sun-Times' Richard Roeper. "Avengers: Endgame is as emotionally affecting as any Marvel movie has ever been."

Big laughs balance things out

Okay, so we know Avengers: Endgame will probably make you cry – but that doesn't mean the movie is a sob-fest from start to finish. Critics have indicated that Endgame features "flashes of full-on humor," which helps steady the sentimentality.

"Thor delivers some of the best jokes in Endgame (sometimes without saying a word)," Inverse critic Jake Kleinman said. "As high as the stakes are in Endgame, it is also a very funny movie," noted The Washington Post's Michael O'Sullivan.

It seems one of Endgame's most prominent strong points is its ability to mix emotion with comedy — and avoid tipping too far to one side. As The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw wrote, "The sheer enjoyment and fun that it delivers, the pure exotic spectacle, are irresistible, as is its insouciant way of combining the serious and the comic. Without the comedy, the drama would not be palatable. Yet without the earnest, almost childlike belief in the seriousness of what is at stake, the funny stuff would not work either."

National Review critic Kyle Smith might have said it best when he wrote, "[A] somber aura gives Avengers: Endgame its gravitas, but the movie is also funny, rousing, and, above all, endearing."

The MCU stars are at their shiniest

It's easy to see that the mega-watt stars that make up the Marvel Cinematic Universe have talent to spare — but they've apparently never shone brighter than in Avengers: Endgame. Plenty of critics are praising the cast for their knockout turns, with extra-special kudos going to Iron Man actor Robert Downey Jr.

"Robert Downey Jr. who steals the show. For years now, his appearances in these projects have almost felt perfunctory. He swoops in, serves up some quips, and flies away. Here, there's a heft to his performance that evokes where this whole shebang began," wrote Thrillist's Esther Zuckerman. "Tony once again transforms into something more than a figurehead, a charismatic and complicated hero with something to prove."

Jake Kleinman at Inverse said that Downey Jr. is "more emotional here than in any other Avengers movie and gives Endgame its biggest stakes," and also commended Thor actor Chris Hemsworth for what he brought to the table. "Any Thor fans worried he'd play a minor role after gobbling up screen time in Infinity War can rest easy," Kleinman wrote.

Digital Trends' Rick Marshall applauded the entire Endgame roster, noting that their performances were nuanced and complex. "The cast delivers some of their best performances to date in exploring how each character processes that kind of trauma," he said, "and if any uncertainty surrounding Marvel's casting decisions still remained, the actors' performances in this concluding chapter should finally and decisively put those doubts to rest."

Some say it's flawed

Where there are lovers, there are haters — or, in this case, people who didn't fall completely head over heels for the feature. Bold and beautiful as it evidently is, Avengers: Endgame still isn't immune from critique. Though the vast majority of reviewers basically gave Endgame full marks, a few critics took a more, well, critical approach to the film.

Forbes senior contributor Scott Mendelson wrote that Endgame is "flawed" and feels as if it "copied" certain beats of Infinity War, though it's still entertaining and ties up the threads of the MCU nicely. "It doesn't make a ton of internal sense, suffers from narrative claustrophobia, and the action leaves a little to be desired," said Mendelson. "Avengers: Endgame is a merely okay MCU movie ... [but] there is grace in its failings."

Donald Clarke of The Irish Times argued that Endgame "spends too long wallowing in its own pomposity" and is "short on fun," while Christian Long at Glide Magazine called it a "subversive, compelling, and thoroughly unsatisfying" film that "chooses to rely on vacuous fan service instead of taking the time to put any real heart into its storytelling."

One certified rotten Endgame review came from Globe and Mail's Barry Hertz, who wrote, "The entire endeavour loses any sense of emotional stakes or general meaning beyond the deliverance of crass fan-service and incomprehensible visuals." Ouch.

Most say it's everything you could have ever dreamt of — and more

It seems that for every fault one could find in Avengers: Endgame, ten times the amount of merits exist. Sure, a handful of critics weren't roused by the superhero ensemble (and that's a-okay), but far more were moved enough to exalt it as "an achievement in blockbuster filmmaking" and stamp it with perfect or near-perfect scores upon seeing it. Why? They feel it's "everything you've ever dreamed a Marvel movie could be" — and then some.

Inverse's Jake Kleinman wrote that Endgame "more than delivers" on its promises of big action and bigger heart, with its third act feeling "unlike anything we've seen before" in the history of the MCU. "As the movie finally ended, I felt different, almost as if I was glowing like Brie Larson's Captain Marvel," said Kleinman. "The result of 11 years of world-building has arrived, and it feels like nothing will be the same again."

In his review of Endgame, Nick Johnston at Vanyaland said that the film represents "everything a fan could want," and is "content with satisfying you, the devoted, in the here and now." The Salt Lake Tribune's Sean P. Means offered a similar analysis: "Avengers: Endgame delivers everything Marvel fans will enjoy and not much that they expect ... Earth's mightiest heroes fulfill their promise, in an installment that takes a decade of superhero storytelling and ties it together into an astounding, emotional conclusion."

A movie for the Marvelites

If this all sounds like directors Joe and Anthony Russo and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige may aimed to specifically please die-hard MCU fans, it's because that's probably the truth. Many critics noted in their reviews of Endgame that it thrums with the feeling of being a gift — a "love letter," as several have called it — to Marvelites everywhere.

Alex Abad-Santos of Vox described Endgame as "Marvel's love letter to its biggest fans" — acting as "an homage to fans who have memorized every pixel of those 21 preceding Marvel movies while serving as a condensed crash course to newbies and casual fans."

"No matter what comes next from Marvel Studios, this Avengers is a gargantuan love letter to the equally enormous mythology that Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and the rest of their collaborators built — and to the generations of readers and moviegoers who truly believe in it," wrote ScreenCrush's Matt Singer.

Even The Spool's Clint Worthington, who admitted he found Endgame "bloated" but definitely entertaining, agreed that the film seems meant for Marvel fans: "Endgame is the best possible love letter to the Marvel Cinematic Universe one could muster, a big, sloppy kiss to its fans and the game cast of characters that made these movies so appealing in the first place."

Added IGN's Laura Prudom, "Endgame is a film that feels like it was made by fans, for fans."

A billion-dollar baby?

With so much praise washing over Avengers: Endgame, one would be quite silly not to predict box office returns of the highest caliber. Not only is Endgame shaping up to be a critical success, but it's also tracking to become a record-breaking commercial hit.

Demand for Endgame reached a boiling-over point at the start of April, when Marvel Studios announced that tickets had gone on sale. Millions of fans worldwide logged onto ticket retailer sites in hopes of snagging a seat (or seven) for a screening either on opening day, April 26, or during Thursday night previews on April 25. This translated into a reported $120 million-plus in advance domestic ticket sales — more than Infinity War and The Force Awakens grossed in presales.

Using pre-release anticipation, presale figures, and industry statistics, analysts predict that Avengers: Endgame might bow to a billion dollars at the global box office during its first weekend out. If these estimations come to fruition, Endgame just may become the biggest — and best — superhero movie in history, paving the way for a fantastic fourth phase of Marvel mania to begin once the smoke clears.