The grand conclusion

Marvel delivers a satisfying payoff to the Infinity Saga

There's no denying that Marvel's superhero films have been big for fans all around the world -- at least since 2007, with 21 films, all connected to one another. Not to mention nearly a dozen television shows, countless tie-in comics and games and merchandising options and viral videos, this so-called Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is the highest-grossing film franchise of all time, having grossed over US$18.6 billion (596.1 billion baht) at the global box office. And the epic adventure has now come to its grand conclusion, with the 22nd film, Avengers: Endgame, and it should satisfy all fans of the series.

What you will get from Endgame depends on how deeply you've connected with the 21 movies to have come before. For example, if you haven't seen Black Panther and Captain Marvel, it's not required viewing in terms of plot, but it should give you a different type of reaction when you get to meet them for the second time. Overall, this is a movie that rewards your knowledge of the MCU.

In the hands of screenwriters Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus, in addition to directors Joe and Anthony Russo, Endgame walks the rope between intense drama and lighthearted comedy, successfully offering some of the darkest and most emotional scenes in the entirety of the MCU, alongside some of the ridiculous jokes many Marvel films are known for.

The previous Avengers movie, Infinity War, shocked and stunned the audience with a devastating ending by letting the heroes lose, and lose big time -- the evil Thanos appearing to have gained victory by getting hold of all six Infinity Stones, even killing off many of the series' flagship characters.

When viewers meet what's left of the Avengers at the beginning of Endgame, they're a sad bunch, riven by survivor's guilt. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) is adrift in vast space and nearing the end of his oxygen supplies, and at odds with Captain America. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has let himself go, looking hilariously like the Dude from The Big Lebowski. The first hour or so of Endgame is surprisingly brooding and emotionally intense. But, of course, this being a superhero movie, things can't stay that way for long. The film gradually turns into the fun and action-packed movie that we expected it to be.

Thanks to the amazing theory hatched by Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), the Avengers manage to come up with one last trick -- going back in time to get hold of the stones before Thanos does. This can be a little confusing, as the Avengers split into a few different groups and travel to different parts of time and space to perform their missions. At the same time, this allows viewers to have fun by going back and reuniting with memorable events cherished from previous Marvel fans.

Endgame is a film that feels like it was made by fans, for fans -- to the point where some scenes are almost like an alumni party of superheroes -- you will get to see everyone making appearances here. Even Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) or Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) make five-second cameos here.

Even with a three-hour run time, the film goes by so fast, and you really want to see more. It's a real treat for fans who've come to know and love these characters over more than a decade.

As the end credits roll up, I just sat there in my seat waiting, hoping to see a bonus scene, or even a teaser for more to come, as with the rest of the MCU movies. Sadly, nothing comes after the credits. Perhaps this is a true finale for this generation of superheroes.