Many years and many movies later, the conclusion to Marvel's beloved "Avengers" series has arrived, and according to early reviews, "Endgame" lives up to the hype by delivering an emotional climax to the series that began with 2008's "Iron Man."
With a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an early score of 9.3 on the website IMDB, both fans and critics alike have been walking away from "Avengers: Endgame" with a smile on their face — but only after wiping away a few tears from their eyes.
"'Endgame' often pays tribute to itself, which makes it as fascinating as it is self-serious. It taps into a live wire of doomy tragedy and phoenix-like rebirth that comics do so well," says Joshua Rothkopf of Time Out.
"In terms of sheer entertainment value, it's on the higher end of the MCU, a film that elevates its most iconic heroes to the legendary status they deserve and provides a few legitimate thrills along the way," says Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com.
"'Endgame' is the most emotional of the Avengers movies, a tear-stained farewell that effectively tugs at the heartstrings while simultaneously blowing them up with a large army's worth of CGI warfare," says Cary Darling of The Houston Chronicle.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, "Avengers: Endgame" is tracking to break serious box office records with projected global revenues of $850 million to $900 million on its first weekend.
"The only game in town at the box office this weekend is Avengers: Endgame — and then some, reports The Hollywood Reporter. "Marvel Studios and Disney's superhero juggernaut is virtually assured of shattering records with a projected global launch of $850 to $900 million, if not more. That could include a potential all-time best of $270 million to $300 million in North America, where it unfurls in 4,600 theaters, the widest release ever."
The likely reason for this epic global victory not only stems from "Endgame" being the conclusive entry to a 20-film series, but also from the fact it will be getting a Chinese release on the same weekend as its domestic U.S. release. "Infinity War" had a two-week gap between its U.S. release and Chinese release.
The only downside to "Avengers: Endgame" breaking box office records will be its running time of three hours, which necessarily means fewer theater showtimes in a given day. However, that might not be such an Achilles heel, given that two of the biggest box-office grossing films of all time ("Titanic" and "Avatar") ran for roughly the same length. The Hollywood Reporter notes, however, that Disney and theaters are already seeking to maximize profits this weekend by adding additional screens and showtimes. But good luck getting tickets if you haven't already pre-purchased them, because, according to Fandango, nearly 4,000 shows across the country have already been marked sold out.
As to how the story will conclude, the buzz is that something sad will happen, with one (or several) of "The Avengers" sacrificing themselves to save the universe from Thanos' clutches. "Captain America" star Chris Evans said he "cried like six times" when speaking with reporters at the premiere this week. Producer Kevin Feige said that while the series may be over, it's also only just the beginning.
"You need an ending for a great story. You also need an ending for a new beginning," Feige told The Hollywood Reporter.