When I entered the theater this week to watch Avengers: Endgame, I knew very little about the plot.
Yes, I had watched the trailer, and, yes, I had seen its predecessor Infinity War, but I hadn’t read any reviews, stories or—aghast—nuggets from rumor sites.
I treat Marvel movies just like I treat Christmas presents under the tree. I don’t want to know what’s inside.
Thus, if you’re a parent who’s curious if Endgame (PG-13) is appropriate for children, then keep reading. There are no spoilers ahead. There’s even a spoiler-free examination of the worldview.
First, though, let’s set the table by recapping 2018’s Infinity War. It brought the various elements (the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy) of the Marvel Cinematic Universe together to fight the supervillian Thanos, who was hunting for the universe’s six infinity stones in order to gain God-like powers. His goal was to wipe out half the universe’s population because, he said, there weren’t enough resources to support all of us.
Thanos did obtain that final stone at the end of Infinity Warand followed through with his pledge. He also wiped out many of our beloved heroes. Among the survivors were Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow and Bruce Banner.
That’s where Endgamebegins. It’s the 22nd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and also the longest, at three hours, one minute. Visit the restroom before entering … and go easy on the sodas.
(Scale key: none, minimal, moderate, extreme)
Moderate. Endgame has plenty of hero-on-villain fighting, as is expected from a Marvel film, but it’s not as violent or bloody as last year’s film Black Panther. Here are some generic details: A character’s arm and head are chopped off (it happens quick and semi-off screen). Two people duel with swords; one gets his throat slashed (we do see some blood) and is killed. One character undergoes mild torture. We see machine guns fired during a heist. Missiles launch. Stuff blows up. The film includes a major battle (as does every superhero film) with lots of bloodless violence.
None. But we hear characters reference “America’s a–” twice in reference to a male character’s derriere.
Moderate. Endgame has about 25 coarse words: h-ll (6), s–t (5), a– (5), OMG (3), stand-alone misuse of “God” (3), GD (2), d–n (2), p-ssed (1), SOB (1) and Jesus (1). We hear a non-human say something that sounds a lot like an f-word.
The profaning of God’s name is particularly disappointing, as is the misuse of “Jesus.” Infinity Warhad neither word. (If you’re curious: Hawkeye says GD once and misuses Jesus’ name. Ant Man says GD, too).
We also hear the normally straight-laced Captain America curse twice (SOB and s–t).
Other Stuff You Might Want To Know
There is no mid-credit or post-credit scene.
The Infinity War/Endgamestory involves a world where magicians, sorcerers, gods, heroes, villains and aliens battle for survival. The God of the Bible is never mentioned—at least, not in a good way—but his attributes are at the center of the plot. That’s because Thanos wants to be all-powerful and all-knowing.
Thanos’ evil desire borrows a page from Scripture. Before he was the prince of evil, Satan was a heavenly being (Isaiah 14:12) who was cast out because of his desire to be god. Later, Adam and Eve sinned because of their desire to be likeGod (Genesis 3:5).
Of course, those wicked desires exist within us, too. We want to be the master. We want the power. We want to be God. By definition, that’s what sin is. When we sin, we might as well be shouting at God: Your commandments are wrong. I’m in charge.
That’s why we need a Savior.
Endgameis a cultural event, so it’s not surprising it has a lot of partners. Among them: McDonald’s, General Mills, Coca-Cola and Geico.
Indeed, McDonald’s already is selling EndgameHappy Meals. I’m a little uncomfortable pairing a PG-13 film aimed at teens and adults with a toy-themed meal for impressionable 3-year-olds.
Thumbs Up or Down?
Endgame—despite a few content concerns—is fun. It’s better than Infinity War and ranks near the top of my favorite Marvel films. Moviegoers in my theater applauded multiple times. I wish I could say more, but I promised a spoiler-free review, right?
Spoiler-Free Discussion Questions
1. Have you ever wished you were God?
2. What would you do if you had God’s powers?
3. If you could look into the future, would you?
4. If we had God’s powers, would we be tempted to use them for evil?
Entertainment rating:4 out of 5 stars. Family-friendly rating:2.5 out of 5 stars.
Endgame is rated PG-13 for violence/disturbing images and some strong language.