Marvel‘s “Avengers: Endgame” has had me going back and forth as I couldn’t wait to see it Monday night in Hollywood, but knowing this was the last one in this saga also made me want to hold off. Naturally, I couldn’t freaking hold off seeing this at the premiere, and it went so far beyond my expectations, it truly felt like a surreal experience.

There were more than a few sniffles from the audience which included Captain America, Chris Evans and Thor Chris Hemsworth and myself. Evans and Hemsworth were proud to admit to them after the film ended. Hearing that and looking around to see so many shiny eyes in the audience brought everything back to reality for me. All I could keep thinking during closing credits was “This is the end.” When I said it out loud, the woman sitting to my right started sniffling harder and hit me on the arm for what we all know and were already thinking.

Avengers Endgame movie premiere in Hollywood with full cast.

“I don’t know about you, but I cried like six times,” Evans said standing alongside dozens of his Marvel Cinematic Universe co-stars like Scarlett Johansson, Brie Larson and Robert Downey Jr. after the first public screening of the film.

Hemsworth chimed in too: “I cried more than six times, Chris.”

It was an emotional affair for many as “Avengers: Endgame,” which opens nationwide Thursday, closes the book on the first 11 years and 22 films of the MCU, and ends the year-long cliffhanger of “Avengers: Infinity War,” in which half of humanity turned to dust. And, as Hemsworth reminded on the purple carpet, “this grouping may never happen again.”

Avengers Endgame premiere with Chris Evans, Robert Downey, Jr and Paul Rudd.
Chris Evans, Robert Downey, Jr, Paul Rudd

Marvel and Walt Disney Co. held the premiere in a fittingly massive setting, taking over the Los Angeles Convention Center and constructing a 2,000-seat movie theater, including a large format screen and Dolby sound, inside.

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Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger kicked off the evening with a special thanks to two people — Downey, “the person who really helped to start it all,” and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, who he called, “our own superhero.”

The event was a who’s who of Marvel and Hollywood, with actors and directors from MCU films past and present turning out to see the film, including the likes of Natalie Portman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Bradley Cooper, Jon Favreau and even Matt Damon, who some may remember had a cameo in “Thor: Ragnarok.” Luke Hemsworth, Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus also came out to see the film and support their family.

Audience at the Avengers Endgame premiere with cast on stage.

Although official reviews won’t be out until Tuesday afternoon, including mine, initial reactions from press and insiders at the premiere were largely positive with the words “epic” and “emotional” being tossed out by many. Letitia Wright, who plays Shuri in “Black Panther,” tweeted “Wow, I feel like crying…it was amazing!!”

The New York Times’ Dave Itzkoff wrote that he was, “Not prepared for the range of emotions that #Endgame put me through, from utter despair to pure elation.”

Entertainment Weekly’s Anthony Breznican added: “Epic is the word. Epic multiplied by a decade of emotion, excitement and investment. This is the payoff. It left me with a full heart.”

And People Magazine’s Kara Warner said to “see it as soon as you can and go in as blind as possible.”

Vin Diesel at Avengers Endgame premiere.

The film has been kept under wraps until the very last minute in the hopes of allowing general audiences to go into it spoiler free. Even still, some spoiler-y footage leaked on social media last week before being taken down.

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“I wasn’t pleased,” Feige told media outlets Monday of the leaking incident. “But the response was what I expected, which was everybody turning it off, dismissing, don’t watch it, don’t spoil it for anybody else. People are excited to see the movie fresh. People are excited to see the movie for the first time. That’s what they’ve been waiting a year, or 12 years, depending on where you joined us. So, I’m excited that that day is finally here.”

Watching this has made me even more curious as to who won the CableTV.com Marvel Movie Marathon that was heavily promoted. Checking in today, everyone who submitted videos to it are all wondering the same. This strikes me as very odd since the CableTV site promoted the contest so heavily but suddenly they are being so quiet about who won. Hopefully it’s not what some are already saying in the comments section about being just a hoax or scam. I’ll do a write up later today about this, but right now, I’m still working on my “Avengers: Endgame” review without tearing up all over again.

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