No spoilers here: “Avengers: Endgame” is the perfect season finale

Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Captain America (Chris Evans) embark on their first journey into space. 

Alexander Gray

The final chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s “Infinity Saga” brings 22 movies and 10 years of filmmaking to a close.

“Avengers: Endgame” is fun and action-packed, not wasting a single moment as it barrels toward the climax with impressive spectacle and an immensely satisfying conclusion.

“Avengers: Infinity War” shattered earth’s mightiest heroes with Thanos successful in his plan to eradicate half the life in the universe. Doctor Strange then peered into millions of possible futures, finding only one in which the Avengers stopped Thanos. Strange left Tony Stark with a foreboding, “We’re in the endgame now.”

Picking up just two days later, “Endgame” shows the survivors coming to terms with their new reality, ready to avenge the fallen. After the first fifteen minutes, even if you’ve seen every trailer, this will not go the way you think.

“Endgame” is everything a good finale needs to be; by the final act there won’t be a single dry eye in the theater. Its epic conclusion brings the entire Marvel universe together in a beautifully shot final battle. 

“Endgame” is unabashedly for the fans, packed full of references to not only nearly every single one of the 20 movies leading up to it, but also the comic books they’re based on. There are throwbacks to the first “Iron Man” and one of Marvel’s most controversial comic books.

Clocking in at an impressive three hour runtime, the movie doesn’t waste any of it bringing the audience up to speed. If you’re watching “Endgame,” you’re expected to have seen at least most of major movies leading up to it like “Captain America: Civil War,” “Thor: Ragnarok” and of course, “Infinity War.”

The Russo brothers show yet again their ability to manage a cast as extensive as the Avengers. While new characters like Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) are all given their moments, the Russos bring the focus back to the original six Avengers.

Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) are finally back in central roles, and it’s clear both are just absolutely enjoying themselves in the Avengers’ final chapter. Even without super powers, Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) hold their own, while Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) are set on completely unexpected paths.

Despite being the central character of “Infinity War,” Josh Brolin’s portrayal of Thanos is unfortunately shuffled away to a minor role in favor of giving more screen time to the heroes. It was a necessary decision given the sheer size of the cast, but Brolin’s menacing presence is sorely missed.

The Marvel series has been building up to “Endgame” since Nick Fury proposed the “Avenger Initiative” at the end of “Iron Man” in 2008, nearly 11 years ago. Kevin Feige, president, producer and visionary of Marvel Studios pioneered the cinematic universe trend, later imitated by the DC Extended Universe and the Godzilla series, among many others.

Disney and Marvel Studios plan to continue the MCU well beyond the “Endgame” heartfelt finale, beginning with July’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” As long as there’s money to be made, Marvel movies will keep coming.

With this “season finale” to the MCU, fan-favorite characters find closure, with the baton passed on to the next era of Marvel heroes.  These characters will find no struggle at the box office, “Captain Marvel” has grossed over one billion dollars worldwide, but it’s unlikely they’ll ever reach the same cultural touchstone status as the first leg of the series.

For many like myself, the Marvel franchise has been our generation’s “Star Wars.” They’re no cinematic masterpieces, the CGI is hit or miss and the soundtracks are often dismissible, but from the characters to the unforgettable moments, there’s magic behind the series.

Fifteen years ago, Iron Man was just some unknown comic book character. Today he’s a household name in the biggest film franchise in history.