For anyone seeking a lesson on how to wrap up an iconic series in the most satisfying ways, turn to the Russo brothers for the movie miracle they achieved with Avengers: Endgame. After 22 films over 11 years, it has become time to draw the curtain on a bevy of brilliant heroes and one giant villain with a penchant for snapping fingers to detrimental results. It is the masterwork that is Joe and Anthony Russo’s take on the fourth Avengers movie—out now on DVD, Blu-Ray and digital download formats.

Sure, the flick has become the highest-grossing film of all-time. That box office bonanza didn’t occur in a vacuum. Give the audience quality and engrossing thrills with charismatic characters that we’ve adored for years and then put them in a hugely entertaining ensemble of epic proportions, and you can practically print the box office money.

When we last left our band of brothers and sisters, things weren’t looking so well. If a camera could have turned on the audience, neither were they. Folks were in shock. Thanos (Josh Brolin) succeeded and did exactly what he said he was going to do—wipe out half the population of the universe. How does anyone even continue? That is answered so beautifully well in Endgame that it will go down in the movie archives as one of the greatest wide-scoped epics of all-time. It is one thing to have a legion of action sequences that makes the jaws drop. It’s a whole another thing to grab us by our hearts and that is exactly what Marvel has done from day one of their cinematic universes. It is that emotional tether to our hearts that make the last two films—but particularly Endgame—one that hits home on so many levels. Pun intended … it is a marvel of the highest order.

There were countless clues in Infinity War that several of our missing heroes from that flick would play a vital role in the final Avengers sojourn. Most notably, physically and scientifically, is Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man (Paul Rudd). There was also Clint Barton—you know, Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner)—and of course the woman that Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) paged in the final post-credit scene for Infinity War, Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel (Brie Larson). The latter audiences had not yet been introduced to at that point. She was nothing but hope and given the brilliance and success that accompanied her arrival in theaters earlier this year, her arrival and promise were sure to even the playing field with Thanos.

What filmmakers were tasked with achieving could not have been a more herculean effort. Dozens of characters, a countless myriad of storylines and most of all, that little bow that everything had to be tied with is/was an impossible endeavor. That Tom Cruise franchise (that saw its best installment arrive earlier this year) would ironically have been a great subtitle for the closing Avengers superhero story.

There is much to salute in the thespian department, but given that he was the man who started this thing off, Iron Man himself should deservedly get his moment to shine and Robert Downey Jr. does that with a tsunami of emotion that washed over hundreds of millions of us in April of this year that we still have not quite gotten over. I mean, that was the most prevailing theme of Spiderman: Far from Home, was it not?!

He stands out, sure, but every single performer—from newbies like Tom Holland’s Spider-Man to the totally awesome and unexpected storyline that arrives with veteran and original Avenger Thor (Chris Hemsworth, who gets to channel his inner Big Lebowski to triumphant results)—has years of their collective lives devoted to their spoke in this enormous wheel that is the magnificent Marvel movie-making machine. I mean, this cast list must go down as one of the biggest and best in Hollywood history.

Take a deep breath…here we go: Avengers: Endgame also stars Chris Evans as Captain America, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Don Cheadle as War Machine, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Danai Gurira as Okoye and Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket with Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan, Benedict Wong as Wong and Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie. Then, there’s Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Evangeline Lilly as The Wasp, Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, Anthony Mackie as Falcon, Sebastian Stan as Winter Soldier, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Dave Bautista as Drax, Letitia Wright as Shuri, Angela Bassett as Ramonda, Michael Douglas as Hank Pym, Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet Van Dyne, Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, Winston Duke as M’Baku, Linda Cardellini as Laura Barton, and Vin Diesel voicing Groot and Chris Pratt as Star-Lord. Also returning to roles that are all close to audiences hearts from the last 11 years that somehow are impeccably inserted into Endgame at some point is … Rene Russo returns as Frigga, John Slattery as Howard Stark, Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One, Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter, Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, Marisa Tomei as Aunt May, Taika Waititi as Korg, William Hurt as Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross and Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce!

Best. Cast. Ever.

As is often the case with Disney home video releases and certainly a vast majority of the Marvel Studios Blu-Ray, digital and DVD releases, the bonus features are as enriching as they are entertaining, enthralling and worthy of repeated revisits. That says something right there. After all, one would want to own Avengers: Endgame based on the movie itself. But there are countless featurettes that warrant repeated viewing and that is a rarity indeed.

Among the highlights are celebrations/tributes to Stan Lee, Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Thor, the women of Marvel add of course, the Russo brothers.

Where to start? How about at the very beginning …

Definitely do not skip the Intro by Directors Anthony and Joe Russo. It is an insightful introduction by Joe and Anthony as they efficiently (merely two-and-a-half-minutes) put a frame on the emotional power and vast scope of the MCU.

If that intrigues you, wait until you fire up that audio commentary track where the helmers are joined by screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.

Worth purchasing a physical copy of the home video release (as it is not available on the digital copy) is Remembering Stan Lee. The featurette will simultaneously put a smile on your face as it brings a tear to the eye. Sure, the tributes are delightful, but hearing from the man himself is priceless. Of particularly power is his insight into the qualities of all the MCU flicks and those threads that they all share. The pop culture icon also waxes poetic about his incredibly good fortune (which we all know stems from his vast talent) and truly fascinating is his own personal favorite scenes from the 22 films.

A fitting and timely featurette arrives with Setting the Tone: Casting Robert Downey Jr. Given his importance and true key to all things MCU, the just over five-minute look back at the movie legend’s work and contribution to the unprecedented 11-year cinematic run, is not only a welcomed surprise to the bonus features landscape, but also one that in hindsight can be revealed to be a no-brainer.

Another character that certainly deserves a unique close-up, given his role in the series and how things concluded for him is Evans’ Cap. A Man Out of Time: Creating Captain America looks at Steve Rogers and his journey from scrawny soldier wanna be to chemically enhanced superhero to founding member of the Avengers and how he has had to adjust to the world that has literally passed him by. Since those Captain America movies are among the most popular in the MCU canon, this is a terrific look at one of the most popular players in this sandbox and I believe one that will be the most impactful over time.

Eagerness for the Johansson solo flick that is on its way will only find its fires fanned with the featurette Black Widow: Whatever it Takes but also goes into the character’s background, her participation in the films—which started in Iron Man 2—when Tony Stark saw her work her magic in the hallway and turned to Pepper Potts and uttered, “I want one.” It then progresses through her character development over her cinematic run.

Although I appreciate The Women of the MCU, especially after witnessing Widow’s featurette, at just under five minutes, this insight needed more! There’s that (what will become iconic) shot of all the female superheroes stepping up to fight Thanos towards the end of Endgame and that spurs my thoughts that we needed more to this look. Why? Because it is something truly worthy in pursuing, spotlighting and … celebrating. They do a decent job, we just wanted more.

The helmers get their close-up with The Russo Brothers: Journey to Endgame. What these two brothers have done since they joined the Marvel family is nothing short of a movie miracle. Their work on Captain America: Civil War and how they melded so many characters into a powerful narrative had to tell the brass at Marvel that these guys are the real deal and the right pair to take the MCU through to the (current) finish line. It also clocks in at 5 minutes and could always use more Russos, but this was still sensationally satisfactory.

Thor Lebowski, aka Bro Thor gives fans a hilarious and insightful view of the Norse God and his journey through his big-screen debut with Kenneth Branagh directing and follows the Asgardian’s character arc through the entire series … right up until that point in the series where he loses hope and morphs into, well… Bro Thor!

What is fascinating to look at is the deleted scenes. Normally they are among the first things I can proudly report to skip. But what is so insane is that there is barely five minutes of scenes that wound up on the cutting room floor. Yes, the movie was three hours long, but for me especially since the movie was 3 hours long is it incredible that there is barely a quintet of minutes of deleted moments. They include: Goji Berries, Bombs on Board, Suckiest Arm in the Galaxy, You Used to Frickin’ Live Here, Tony and Howard and Avengers Take a Knee.

The gag reel is also a joy, and one of these days, someone should edit all the gag reels from all the Marvel movies and then, that’ll be one enormous hoot.

Film Grade: A
Bonus Features: A