Avengers: Endgame, which hit US theaters on April 26, had to be one of the most eagerly awaited movies of the 2010s. It helps that 2018's Avengers: Infinity War was not only an enormous billion hit, but that Josh Brolin's purple-tinted Thanos wreaked such destruction in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Filmgoers had to buy a ticket to see which heroes survived and which gave it all in the service of the world.
To no one's surprise, the movie has turned out to be a super-powered money-making machine for Marvel and Disney, and is currently the highest-grossing movie of all time. Now that it's available on digital as of July 30, and will come to Blu-ray on Aug. 13, bathroom breaks for the three-hour film are no problem. You're at home! Take breaks whenever you want!
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The digital version has plenty of goodies to reward fans, including a four-person commentary from directors Joe and Anthony Russo and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Steven McFeely. We noted 13 of the highlights here, including where to find Joe Russo's daughters, a special Hulk Ben & Jerry's flavor and the real reason Tony Stark's dad is bringing sauerkraut to his pregnant wife.
The home version also features six deleted scenes, all of which we explain here. Five of them probably belonged on the cutting-room floor anyway, but it's still fun to watch them.
The reviews are mostly Marvel-ous.
CNET critic Mike Sorrentino writes, in a spoiler-free review, that "the Russos brothers' engrossing, wholly satisfying superhero epic ... doesn't leave a second to spare."
Critic Brandon Davis of CNET sister site ComicBook.com says the film gets off to a "slow, slightly convoluted start," but in the end, manages to not only meet fan expectations, but exceed them.
And A.O. Scott of The New York Times writes that the film generates a few "honest tears," and for good reason. "We've lived with these characters and the actors playing them for more than a decade, and even when the party got hectic, stupid or crowded, there was no reason to complain about the guests," Scott writes. "For the most part, it's nice to see them again, and a little sad to say goodbye."
In his quest to balance the universe, Thanos acquired all the infinity stones and zapped half the universe's population, just as he threatened. Many of Marvel's major heroes were among the vanished half of the population that just kind of ... turned into piles of sand that then blew away.
So Avengers: Endgame was left with a major situation: No way are all those money-making Marvel heroes gone for good. But some of them had to bite the dust for sheer dramatic reasons (and because a few actors have talked publicly about moving on). No spoilers here, but the ending left some fans sad, and some satisfied.
There was much speculation about what the film would be called -- for a long time, it was simply known as Avengers 4, and many feared that the real title would be a giant, gut-wrenching spoiler. Endgame was mentioned early on in the rumor game, in part because Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) says it in Infinity War, ominously telling Tony Stark, "We're in the endgame now."
The term actually comes from the chess world, referring to the stage of the game where very few pieces remain, which makes nice allegorical sense. In Infinity War, Thanos and the Avengers were matched in a giant game of chess, and then Thanos pulled out what seems to be a checkmate.
But the game wasn't over. Doctor Strange himself made a baffling sacrifice, handing over the time stone to Thanos, just as chess players may strategically sacrifice a piece to build toward an eventual victory. Moviegoers get to see how the endgame plays out, and which sacrifices remain to be made.
This piece was originally published on April 30, 2018, and is regularly updated.B:
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