Debuting in New Zealand cinemas today, Wednesday, Avengers: Endgame arrives buoyed by a fantastic reception from film reviewers around the globe.
The 22nd tale in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) currently has a score of 79 (based on 30 assessments so far) on reviews aggregate site Metacritic. That places it second-equal in terms of the long-running franchise, on a par with the first installment Iron Man and behind only 2018's Black Panther (87).
Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, Endgame picks up the action after the events of Infinity War, when half of the universe's population was seemingly wiped out by Thanos.
Writing for Britain's Empire magazine, Helen O'Hara described it as "a victory lap that moonwalks through the best part of the MCU back catalogue and emphasises emotion as much as action". "This is an intensely satisfying piece of blockbuster film-making."
It was a sentiment echoed by IGN's Laura Prudom. "Avengers: Endgame is easily the Marvel Cinematic Universe's most ambitious, emotional, and affecting film to date, somehow managing to tie up more than a decade of storytelling in a confident [and mostly coherent] climax – a hurdle that many other blockbuster franchises have stumbled over in their final runs."
Vox's Alex Abad-Santos was another blown away by what they saw. "The most shocking thing about Avengers: Endgame is that there are several moments within this colossal movie that feel like a Marvel miracle. These are the pockets of time when what you watch on screen sends a shock of joy jumping through your skin, making your eyes go wide and watery at the spectacle."
Over at The Guardian, veteran critic Peter Bradshaw was also suitable surprised – and impressed. "I have to admit, in all its surreal grandiosity, in all its delirious absurdity, there is a huge sugar rush of excitement to this mighty finale, finally interchanging with euphoric emotion and allowing us to say poignant farewells."
Among the handful who were less-impressed by the three-hour blockbuster's entertainment value, The Wrap's Alonso Duralde wrote that Endgame "has almost nothing on its mind but crossing the Ts and dotting the Is of a far-flung superhero saga". However, he also thought that to "anyone with even a minor emotional stake in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it has all the fleeting satisfaction of a shot of whipped cream delivered directly from the spray can".
Meanwhile, The Toronto Globe and Mail's Barry Hertz and Slant Magazine's Keith Uhlich were even more underwhelmed. The former described the movie's core as "spoiled rotten", while the latter opined that "every serious narrative beat in the film is ultimately undercut by pro-form storytelling, or by faux-improvised humour".
Kiwi cinemagoers now have the chance to make up their own minds, a full two days before the movie debuts in the US.