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'Endgame' already looks like beginning of summer blockbuster season

And so it goes. The summer's biggest hit likely has arrived almost a full two months before the June solstice with today's official debut of the epic comic-book adventure, "Avengers: Endgame," destined for box-office domination, if not exactly cinematic greatness.

Johansson's Black Widow remains a straight shooter in the "Avengers" finale.
Truth be told, at a tad more than three hours long -- but who among the fanboy masses is really counting, anyway -- this alleged finale to an arc of 21 previous films, including the first three pieces of an "Avengers" quartet, might not be the easiest movie to sit through. Sure, NE Ohio's favorite directing sons, Joe and Anthony Russo, again deliver an assortment of action, with seemingly at least a little something to do for every important character who ever stepped into the teeming Marvel Universe.

Still, you might not recognize all the players without a scorecard in an enormously crowded and occasionally confusing mid-section that plays like five separate stories for the most well-known superheroes in the bunch. Those may or might not be Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.). And, in hooking up with, dare we say a couple of "lesser" likes, they're each looking for precious ways to bring back friends and fellow icons that disappeared at the end of last year's "Avengers: Infinity War," thanks to that tough, tall tyrant Thanos (Josh Brolin). 

Don Cheadle's War Machine and Paul Rudd's Ant-Man get on board.
Expect other recent big names, Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), to make sparkling appearances, too, along with crews from their own hit films and everything that entails.

Please don't forget to spot a few legitimate Hollywood heavyweights hanging around as well. Folks such as Robert Redford, Michael Douglas, Natalie Portman, Samuel L. Jackson, Tilda Swinton and Rene Russo, all of whom appeared in earlier Marvel movies, could get to deliver a key line or two. Or not. And, speaking of Russos, even that co-directing guy named Joe shows up for a group-therapy session amid early grief-laden sequences and downright depression as personified by a few overt sulkers and, perhaps, a couple of split personalities.

Thank goodness, though, for some fine ol' trademark, avenging humor saving the day and carrying us through much of the weltschmerz with almost a full two hours remaining in this really big show.   

Rated "PG-13": sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and some language; 3:02; $ $ $ out of $5

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