I’ve never been the biggest Avengers fan, but when the biggest film of the year, to date, comes to town, what can you do but give in and surrender to its appeal?

And surrendering – or refusing to – is at the heart of the long, complex Avengers: Endgame (Cert 12A, 181 mins), which sees the Avengers assemble for a long, complex franchise finale that throws everything but the Asgardian kitchen sink into the mix.

There’s a lot to unpack in this long film – an awful, awful lot – with a plot that rewards knowledge of many earlier films in the series, but consequently isn’t going to be very accessible to any Avengers newbies.

With so many, many characters jostling for screen space, and with a dense, fractured plot that’s deliberately all over the place, it’s difficult to analyse the film without giving too much away.

However, building on the events of the previous film, Endgame is at its heart one long, complex and dangerous mission that’s a bid to undo the devastating damage wreaked by the ultimate big-bad, Thanos, who’d used the Infinity Stones to wipe out half of all life across the universe.

With Thanos’s victory – after all, he did succeed in killing half the universe – things are looking bleak… until the film jumps forward a few years, with time itself proving to be a main hook for most of the rest of the film.

In short, without giving much of the complex plot away, time – and time travel – offers a way for the Avengers to maybe, just maybe undo what Thanos has done.

Refusing to surrender to fate, it isn’t long before the Avengers are sent zipping about through time in a bid to grab the Infinity Stones and undo what Thanos has done, but of course things aren’t going to be that easy.

Having time-travelling Avengers running about all over the place ups the odds of Thanos learning what’s happening now/’in the future’. If Thanos is going to be decisively stopped once and for all, sacrifices must be made …

That’s an unfortunately brief summary of the film, but Avengers fans won’t thank me for giving away more than that, and Avengers newbies won’t know who anyone is anyway, so that’s about the best I can do!

Ultimately, it’s a fitting, satisfying finale for the series, and yes, it feels like a finale – key characters and plots meet decisive ends here, making another direct Avengers film seem unlikely.

There’s a lot to like here, from its visual spectacle to a labyrinthine plot which went over my head a little, but was enjoyable all the same.

If, like me, you’re not a huge Avengers fan, take my review score as it is – but Avengers fans can bump it up even higher.

As for the film, its universe, plots and characters down the years, Thanos for the memories…

  • Verdict: 8/10