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Linda Cook

Linda Cook

Please allow me to address something other critics might not mention in reference to “Avengers: Endgame.” It's the Thanos in the room, if you will, that is part of seeing this film.

I’m talking about parking.

Quad-City auditoriums sold out weeks in advance. You’re competing with hundreds, if not thousands, of other people for a seat. So go early. Really early. Buy your tickets online if possible.

Is it worth it? Is Thor’s hammer heavy? It really does bring an era to a close – its title means business.

The story begins with The Snap (if you’ve seen “Avengers: Infinity War” – and you definitely should before you see this one) you know what I mean.

The first part of the movie is somber, with a scene that reminds us of the destruction earlier wrought by super-powerful, evil Thanos. Pairing an early scene with "Dear Mr. Fantasy” by Traffic is brilliant: “Dear Mr. Fantasy, play us a tune. Something to make us all happy … Make it snappy." Get it? We watch the fates of individual Avengers, including Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd).

Also on hand are Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Captain America (Chris Evans), Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), War Machine (Don Cheadle) Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth).

Old friendships are renewed and old squabbles are patched up while the survivors try to figure out a solution.

Pop culture gluttons (myself included) will eat up nods to “Back to the Future.” It’s not a spoiler to tell you there is a time travel element at the core of this story, to address whether, five years down the road, the remaining Avengers can fix what Thanos did to the world.

It’s no secret that we'll hear “Avengers, assemble!” and we’ll see a spectacle of a showdown. It also won't stun anyone that some moments of hilarity, much of it provided by Thor, keep the atmosphere from becoming too grim.

Still, there are some surprises. Along the way, you will see some familiar faces join in, including several that drew applause from the IMAX audience.

Not everyone makes it out alive in the end. The conclusion is particularly bittersweet for one character. I became so emotional I wiped away tears.

Speaking of finales: This is the first time in the Marvel Comics Universe since “The Incredible Hulk” in 2008 you won’t see an extra scene, or stinger, during the credits at the end of the credits.

Instead, at the very end when the Marvel logo appears, you will hear a familiar sound that you can interpret for yourself.

This may be the end of this particular series, but it's a new path for many of the Marvel characters. Excelsior!

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Film critic/reporter since 1985 at Quad-City Times. Society of Professional Journalists, Broadcast Film Critics Association and Alliance of Women Film Journalists member. Member of St. Mark Lutheran Church.