Part of the journey is the end, and while Avengers: Endgame is not a definitive end to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as fans have come to know and love, it is the ultimate climax of an experience that has been teased over 11 years and 21 movies.

Starting from when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) first approaches Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey) for the assemblage of an Avengers team, MCU fans have been treated to a plethora of movies that created an expansive world and have always edged towards a big picture with a purple Titan always hovering.

From ridiculously lighthearted to edgy and emotional roller coasters, this franchise has done it all over and over again all so we could end up here at the Endgame where every thread meets and tangles.

The last time we saw the Avengers, only half of the team was left standing after Thanos, voiced by Josh Brolin, delivered that finger-snap that decimated half of the universe, an ending that flipped the script and left jaws on the floor.

Endgame picks up weeks after the chaos of Infinity War as characters left behind deal with the emotional fallout of losing their friends and failing to protect Earth, and the universe, from the Mad Titan.

The movie races through what is a shocking, exciting first few minutes that's best left to the imagination of people that are yet to watch, before it settles into a lull that magnifies the impact of Thanos' action on the characters.

While some of our heroes continue to search for a workaround on Thanos' genocidal snap despite a significant time jump, others move forward with their lives in sullen resignation.

Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) refuse to give up on undoing Thanos' finger-snap [Disney/Marvel]
Marvel Studios
Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) refuse to give up on undoing Thanos' finger-snap [Disney/Marvel]

The movie picks up again when the team realises that there's a way to use time to heal all wounds and suddenly it's time to bring the Avengers back together for one last hurrah.

To its credit, Endgame settles for a lot more emotional heft to achieve catharsis that's deserving for its characters and satisfying for its viewers.

The movie delves into the true essence of heroism and what it means to dedicate your life and abilities to the greater good no matter the personal cost.

This is most notable with Tony Stark who has always been the face of the Avengers team ever since his fateful encounter with Fury all those years ago.

Despite having more to lose than many of the other Avengers when they start to put together an actual plan to undo Thanos' damage, Stark cannot help himself despite his own disinclination.

It's his curse to always try and save everybody else even when he isn't eager to give up the people that are closest and dear to him. He'll always be Iron Man.

Tony Stark/Iron Man has to save the world even when he doesn't want to [Marvel Studios]
BusinessInsider
Tony Stark/Iron Man has to save the world even when he doesn't want to [Marvel Studios]

This does not imply that this is another Avengers movie carried on the back of Stark though, and much of Endgame's appeal is that it finds a way to hand many of its characters compelling turns in the spotlight. There are loads of fan service in full display but it's hard to see anyone who'll complain about it.

Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson), and Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) all get their turns to process and cope with grief, loss and the pervading sense of failure following the event of Infinity War.

Even Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) finds the time to undergo a personal journey and reconcile his human identity with the big green monster he's always treated as a terrible part of himself.

Thor (Chris Hemsworth), a physical embodiment of comic relief for most of the movie, walks around racked with guilt. He really should have gone for the head that first time.

The frostiness birthed during Captain America: Civil War continues to persist between Rogers and Stark in the first act but when the plan to thwart Thanos starts to take shape, all's forgiven and the Avengers embark on a mission to restore and heal the universe.

To do this, they get to go down memory lane and, along the line, get closure on personal relationships that have left them with holes in their future selves.

While it's satisfying to take these Avengers through these emotional moments, fans also get a chance to relive some of the greatest hits from across the franchise and marvel at the journey it has taken to get here.

The past plays a role in changing the future for our heroes [Marvel Studios] The past plays a role in changing the future for our heroes [Marvel Studios]

From New York City (The Avengers), to celestial Asgard (Thor: The Dark World) and then Morag (Guardians of the Galaxy), Endgame takes viewers on a nostalgic joyride, revisiting the past while our heroes fight to reshape the future.

For a three-hour movie (you'd barely notice the length, by the way), action scenes are few and far between in Endgame, but when the final battle commences, it turns out to be one of the most fascinating sequences anyone will ever have the good luck of experiencing.

There's no adequate amount of words that can do justice to the scintillating match-ups and twists and turns that take place in the final showdown between Thanos and his troops against the swelling ranks of the Avengers.

With the latest addition of the insanely super-powered Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) to the Avengers team, she'd be the first to tell you they can take on any team; and what unfolds in the final showdown will get viewers out of their seats squealing in excitement more than a couple of times.

There are simply too many standout moments to count, and more than enough for viewers to want to sit a second time to experience the unadulterated giddy excitement all over again. Even a third viewing wouldn't hurt. I know I want to watch it for as many times as the thrill remains.

Some of Endgame's plot points raise unanswered questions but all of those get buried under the rubble of excitement that the movie offers in abundance.

Have I mentioned that the final showdown is one for the ages and a fitting end to a story arc that has offered so much? That cannot be said enough times.

The Thanos that shows up in Avengers: Endgame is harsher than the Thanos that mercifully killed off only half of the universe in Infinity War [Marvel Studios]
BusinessInsider
The Thanos that shows up in Avengers: Endgame is harsher than the Thanos that mercifully killed off only half of the universe in Infinity War [Marvel Studios]

Unlike in Infinity War where he had all the time to deliver a clinically nuanced performance, Thanos doesn't have much to do here other than kick off the epic clash against the Avengers team, but he remains as imposing as ever.

His compelling arc and personal magnetism easily makes him unarguably one of the best supervillains that has ever graced the screen.

The movie winds down to a somber ending that many viewers would have expected to see before it even started, but it's not any less crushing and emotional. Endgame is a farewell movie and saying goodbye is hard.

Avengers: Endgame is not exactly an end in itself, it's simply the beginning of something new, a handover from the old guard to the new. 

Endgame might not be the end of the franchise, but it's the end of an era and what a bloody entertaining ride it has been!