Even with everyone turning to dust and Peter Parker's plaintive cries, the end of Avengers: Infinity War is devoid of stakes. Sure, Spider-Man, Black Panther, and most of the Guardians of the Galaxy all dissolve into thin air, but, once the shock wears away, it's evident they are going to return. The question then becomes how, and that's the one Avengers: Endgame has on its mind. And here's the good news: The new Marvel Cinematic Universe extravaganza answers in a manner that's alternately heartbreaking and joyous, improving in almost every way on its predecessor. Endgame might just be the best team-up film in the MCU since the gang was first brought together all the way back in 2012 with The Avengers.
I clearly can't say much about what actually happens in the three-hour running time. The plot for this movie has been kept under lock and key by Disney -- leaks be damned -- and, sure enough, to spoil it would be depriving you the fun of watching this movie unfold. Because, despite the dourness of the trailers and the marketing, Endgame, directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, is a whole lot of fun.
The action kicks off almost immediately following Thanos' snap, and then jumps five years ahead in time. (C'mon, you know this from Black Widow's grow-out.) Each of the surviving heroes mourns in his or her own fashion -- some apply their grief to self-improvement, another acts out, another just shuts off to the entire world. (But in an actually amusing way.) But Ant-Man comes a-knocking with knowledge of the Quantum Realm and its time-hopping capabilities. Heroism is back on the table.