Well, one spoiler: It's awesome

Spoiler-free review of Avengers: Endgame...5 quick thoughts

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Marvel is wrapping up its current universe with one of the most anticipated movies of all time: Avengers Endgame. The following is a spoiler-free review. That obviously limits us, but this is a film that deserves to be enjoyed in person as it goes. The movie opens on Thursday and if you can still get tickets, you should. Five quick thoughts:

1) Prepared to be wowed

This is a movie that will tug on all your emotions. The interactions between the characters are terrific. We have followed many of them for over a decade, and we see acting at its best. From storyline to dialogue, it's everything we were hoping for and more. And of course the visuals are over the top. It is a great movie experience. While it is three hours long, it felt much shorter.

2) Perfect Pacing

Despite feeling much shorter than three hours, the storylines aren't rushed and it does not really drag, either. It covers all the bases, deals with all the characters, and brings us closure. You won't feel cheated at all.

3) A Leftovers feel

The part of the movie that deals with the aftermath of "The Snap" will remind you of HBO's Leftovers. And it's powerful. As usual, the characters deal with loss through serious emotions, and still work in the one-liners. It is classic Marvel.

4) A perfect ending

The story wraps up perfectly. The last 40 minutes or so of the movie are simply incredible. It brings us closure, and is perfectly done. You will cheer. You will tear up. But you will leave with an amazing experience.

5) The bottom line

If you have not already bought tickets, you need to. You will not be disappointed. The ending is one of the best you will see, and there is nothing I would change about this movie. The Avengers have taken us on a wild ride, and this is the wildest of all. If you liked Infinity War, you will love Endgame. It is even better than we could have hoped for. These characters have become part of our entertainment lives, and this movie showed them at their best. Put simply, they could not have done any better ending this iteration. In many ways this is an homage to the original Avengers movies, with the humor of Ant Man added in. But it is much more than that. There are so many touching moments, shows of bravery and at times despair, that you will leave feeling wholly satisfied. So turn off your phone for three hours, sit back and enjoy a perfect movie for fans of the Avengers.

The Endgame is here. And it was well worth the wait.

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The Astros suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Yankees Thursday. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

After an impressive two-game sweep of the NL-best Mets at home earlier in the week, the Astros took to the road to begin a four-game series with the league-best Yankees on Thursday night. To little surprise, the series started with a bang (no, not a trash can bang) in more ways than one, confirming that this series should be a must-watch this weekend.

New York's comeback proves no lead will be safe

Right from the get-go, the loud Yankee Stadium faithful had their chance to rain boos down on Jose Altuve before showing some pleasure as he led off the series by being hit by a pitch. They were quickly, though only temporarily, quieted as Altuve would come in to score two batters later on a three-run blast by Alex Bregman.

Three-run homers seemed to be a theme, as New York would get one of their own to tie the game off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton to tie the game, then Yordan Alvarez continued his dominant June by pushing the Astros back in front by three with another three-run bomb in the third, making it 6-3. That lead held through to the bottom of the ninth, where instead of holding it, Ryan Pressly issued two walks to set up the fourth homer of the game to tie things again before Aaron Judge would get a walk-off single to complete the impressive comeback.

Not only will we get to sit back and watch the slug-fest between Yordan and Judge this weekend, but it looks like with Alex Bregman swinging well again to round out the top of Houston's order, the Astros may be getting closer to their full power. So far in June, these two teams sit third and fourth in on-base percentage, with the Astros at .351 and the Yankees right behind at .350. That means we should continue to see scoring opportunities on both sides that can tilt momentum one way or the other as these lineups try to battle against the opposing pitcher.

How will the aces fare

Verlander vs. Judge, and Cole vs. Alvarez, need I say more? Although we won't see Justin Verlander go up against Gerrit Cole in the same game in this series (they should go head to head next Thursday, however), they will pitch on back-to-back days, with Houston's ace going Friday night and New York's on Saturday afternoon. Verlander is coming off his worst start of the year, a three and two-thirds inning outing where the White Sox put up seven runs, four earned, against him and knocked him out early to give him his third loss and increased his ERA from 1.94 to 2.30.

The last time he faced the Yankees was in the Bronx in the 2019 playoffs, in ALCS Game 5, where he went seven frames while allowing four runs, all on two homers in the first inning, which is all New York needed to grab the 4-1 victory to make it a 3-2 Houston lead in the series, which the Astros would go on to clinch in Game 6. So, with the double dose of bad taste in his mouth, it will be interesting to see if he can use that as the fuel to get back to the phenomenal form he's had this year or if the Yankees try to jump on him early like they did nearly three years ago.

Cole, meanwhile, is fresh off of two quality starts in a row against the Rays, where he allowed just one run on six hits with nineteen strikeouts over 13.1 innings of work. He's had his share of strife this season, though, including a seven-run shelling by the Twins earlier this month, along with a start in April where he couldn't make it through two innings against the Tigers. He's had success against his former club, most notably a complete-game shutout in Houston last July with twelve K's and holding the Astros to just three hits.

If the series opener was any indication, we are in for the treat of a playoff-caliber matchup, if not a potential ALCS preview that we may see in October. The Yankees showed why they have the best record and are the hottest team in baseball on Thursday night, but the Astros were only a good outing from their closer away from having a relatively lopsided win. The rivalry is real; the competition is close, and we get to enjoy the show.

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