Ever since being released on April 24, 2019, it would be rather poignant if one has not had the opportunity to watch the long-awaited superhero blockbuster, Avengers: Endgame. Within the span of 11 years, the timeline accumulated into a humongous finale, starring well-celebrated actors and an extraordinarily long screening time of three hours. This movie has an overwhelming emotional power as acclaimed by countless critics, but would the movie be sufficient if watched without prior knowledge of any previous films? Must you spend time binging all 21 movies before it? Please be mindful that this review will contain spoilers. The preferred action to take is to watch the movie before reading this review, but if you enjoy spoilers, who am I to judge? You have been warned.

After Thanos snapped half of the universe into disappearance, the team was desperate for justice. After tracking him down, Thor beheaded him in fury. (You were warned about the spoilers!) However, nothing changed thereafter. What people might not realize is that this act symbolizes the difference between justice and revenge. Thor went back to his immature ways as seen in his first movie, and like Thor, the heroes were one way or another changed by Thanos’ blow. To recognize this feature, one has to understand the preceding movies.

An example of this continuous arc is most visible in the character of Natasha Romanoff, or more known as Black Widow. Her backstory were only shown in brief flashbacks and as we progress through the movies, we see a development of her soul. She was a cold, emotionless, and desensitized Russian spy when we first saw her in Ironman 2; a stark contrast from what a snarky, yet caring, personality she has become. It is a tragedy that her cause of death is that she cares about her best friend, Clint Barton. In other words, she died because of her growth.

From another perspective, Tony Stark was the most visibly traumatized by the incident. His change of heart did not come five years after the mass disappearance. He decided to move on and raise a family together with his partner. Even after a visit from Steve Rogers, his despair persisted. However, it was shown that he was the man who ended the war. This shows that even prior to watching his standalone features, his character development arc is still palpable. This short-term arc can also be seen in Nebula, where they show an antithesis of her naïve old-self and her sensible new-self.

The argument here is not that the movie is distasteful. If one is not a Marvel stan, they can still enjoy the movie regardless. Nevertheless, if they have a better understanding of the characters, the resolution of a heightened conflict will be more satisfying—or heart-wrenching. But don’t you stop marvelling just yet! We are never getting rid of the MCU that easily, future projects are in the works. Moreover, now you can watch the trailer for the upcoming Spiderman: Far From Home, and let’s say that fan theories are already surfacing…

Written by Michael Mandalay