I’m not going to sit here and tell you that Avengers: Endgame is the best movie of the MCU, because frankly; it isn’t. It’s not even in my top three. However, as a culmination of everything Marvel has been working up to since 2008, it has to be applauded.
From a technical standpoint, Endgame is like nothing else we’ve ever seen come to the big screen, with a cast that pushes the film to breaking point, characters we remember from movies past and some we had perhaps forgotten about hit the screen in epic fashion. But how good is the finished product?
Adrift in space with no food or water, Tony Stark sends a message to Pepper Potts as his oxygen supply starts to dwindle. Meanwhile, the remaining Avengers – Thor, Black Widow, Captain America and Bruce Banner – must figure out a way to bring back their vanquished allies for an epic showdown with Thanos – the evil demigod who decimated the planet and the universe.
Directors Joe and Anthony Russo, who have by this point, helmed four MCU movies including the brilliant Captain America: Civil War are a safe pair of hands for this incredible feat of film-making, even if the movie feels overstuffed from time to time.
The film starts off exceptionally, with beautiful cinematography lending itself to some intriguing character development. Let’s not forget that we’ve been growing with some of these characters for 10 years and yet Endgame still manages to surprise and delight with new facets of their personalities.
This is helped of course by the tightly written script, but is mainly down to the actors who portray these icons of cinema. Robert Downey Jr is the best he’s been since the solo Iron Man movies and both Chris Evans and Hemsworth are immensely likeable as Captain America and Thor respectively. Unfortunately, Thor’s character arc here is a little disappointing as the Russo’s turn him into the butt of too many jokes – he is the god of thunder after all.
Where the film does suffer is with some of the newer characters. Brie Larson’s irritating Carol Danvers gets far too much screen time for someone so new to the franchise, and this sometimes feels at the expense of better, more established fan favourites. There’s nothing particularly wrong with her Captain Marvel, but she’s wooden and remains unlikeable, as she did in her solo outing earlier this year.
One individual that does standout however is Karen Gillan’s, Nebula. Always a secondary character up to this point, it’s fantastic to see her blossom and fully embody the personality of the troubled cyborg. In fact, she’s probably the best character across the entire running time.
Moments that should have more poignancy don’t get the respect they deserve
Josh Brolin’s Thanos is as intimidating as ever, though perhaps not as much as he was in last year’s Infinity War. And while the script-writing and humour are as spot on as you can imagine for a movie baring the MCU badge of honour, the Russo brothers are forced to re-write some of the franchise’s own rules – for plot reasons of course.
For fans of the entire universe, this proves unnerving but as with any series that’s lasted this long, some artistic license needs to be taken to keep it feeling fresh.
One thing that can’t be criticised however is the pacing. For a film a little over three hours long, Endgame never feels dull. Sure, there are moments that could have been trimmed down, but from thrilling set piece to thrilling set piece, the film steamrolls itself into a final hour that will have your jaw hitting the floor numerous times.
From a special effects standpoint, Endgame deserves praise. It would be easy to criticise the film for overflowing with CGI rather than the practical effects that the Star Wars and Jurassic franchises rely on, but this would be doing a disservice to the wonderful work the effects teams have done on this film. At no point are you under the illusion that this is all real, but it’s the best the MCU has been, especially towards the finale.
Nevertheless, the sheer scope of the film proves to be its undoing at times. Moments that should have more poignancy don’t get the respect they deserve and the number of characters vying for screen time naturally means some sacrifices needed to be made here and there.
Overall, Avengers: Endgame is a fitting tribute to the 21 films that came before it and acts as a cathartic exercise, putting to rest over a decade of thrilling, emotional and exciting movies. It’s action packed to the point of being exhausting and is, if you’ll pardon the pun, a technical marvel, but it just doesn’t quite hit the same heights as Infinity War and dare I say it, Thor: Ragnarok. As I stated at the beginning of this review, it would be easy for me to say Endgame is the best film in the franchise, but that would be doing a disservice to you the readers and the incredible films that truly deserve that title.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has always been strongest when it focuses on emotion rather than plot. The difference in quality between the plot-heavy Iron Man 2 to the PTSD driven Iron Man 3 is startling. This is because we are less invested in the plot of the MCU and more invested in the characters. It’s no coincidence that people reacted so strongly Avengers: Infinity War’s ending, where many fan-favourite characters got ‘dusted’.
That moment was powerful, especially compared to the rest of the film which focused on Thanos’ quest to retrieve the six infinity stones. It made Avengers: Infinity War was a more plot-driven creature, and the film suffered for it. Often characters felt like chess pieces being moved around to set up for the film’s finale, leaving the film stale and lacking in authenticity.
If Avengers: Infinity War was the MCU indulging its worst traits, then Avengers: Endgame is the MCU indulging its best.
We pick up three weeks after the events of Avengers: Infinity War with the universe in shock. The surviving Avengers are completely defeated, Tony and Nebula are stranded in space, all hope is lost. Except it isn’t of course. It doesn’t take long for the plot to kick into action, with the Avengers embarking on one last quest to save the universe.
‘How’ things are accomplished does not matter terribly. Most of the story’s mechanics are handwaved quickly. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo, along with writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, know that it doesn’t matter all that much how the story gets going, it just matters that it gets going quickly.
Once it’s moving Avengers: Endgame becomes a ‘greatest hits’ of everything that has made fans gravitate to the MCU. The relationships between characters are front and centre. Tony and Steve, Natasha and Clint, Nebula and Thanos, Thor and everyone; it’s these dynamics that drive the film. Where Avengers: Infinity War was the Avengers getting dragged along by the story, here it’s the Avengers driving the story, a much more compelling prospect.
At its core though, Avengers: Endgame is a movie about endings. It wraps up eleven years of the MCU, rewarding fans for their dedication, their investment. At points, it can feel overly self-referential, but that’s miles better than other MCU films which seem to exist only to set up future entries.
There is a sense of finality about Avengers: Endgame. You can’t help but feel that this really is the end as you watch plots end and character arcs complete themselves, often ways that are as unexpected as they are rewarding. The MCU will continue (how can a cash cow this big not?) but it will be forever different.
This is the end of the MCU as we know it, and Avengers: Endgame sends it off in style.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Never has a movie event scared me as much as Avengers: Endgame. Feelings in the few days running up to the film’s release flitted between excitement, panic, and downright anxiety. A culmination of over 10 years work, Endgame had been a long time in the making, and the wait for the film to start felt almost longer than that 10 years.
This movie is the feeling of butterflies in your stomach, but in physical form. It’s exciting, it’s daring, and it’s downright brilliant. Every scene has some little detail that is inserted especially for the Marvel Cinematic Universe ride or dies: each line, each hand movement, even each tiny little glance, was especially choreographed and inserted by people who had created Endgame to be a culmination of everything they had created over the past decade.
Some scenes in the movie are unbelievable. They’re entrancing, and only at the end of the film do you realise you’ve been smiling like The Joker and crying uncontrollably at the same time. It’s a movie that brings out every emotion, every feeling that you have ever felt whilst watching a Marvel film, and then amplifies it by 3000. It’s almost too good to be true to see so many beloved characters on screen together. It feels like you shouldn’t be seeing it, like you’re peeking from behind a curtain at an event that you’re not meant to be at. It feels like a big secret.
Every character is given their moment in the spotlight, and it is gratuitously generous with the attention given by the Russo Brothers to every single actor. It is so obvious to see that every person on that set had the time of their lives and, not only will it be a lasting memory for us, but also for the cast and crew themselves. It’s a gorgeous culmination of all of the tender love and care that has been injected into the Marvel Universe, from the not so good movies, to the box-office hits. It’s such a lovely thing to see people come together just to have fun.
There isn’t a single part of this movie that needs to be changed. By no means is it perfect, but it doesn’t half have a good stab at it. It’s fun, it’s hilarious at just the right moments, it’s heartfelt all the way through, and it’s also one of the most heartbreaking things you will ever watch. It’s like watching the lives of an entire group of people unfold for 10 years, only to realise this is probably one of the last times you’re ever going to see them.
Honestly, Endgame is one of those movies that deserves every single ounce of the hype it has been getting. It’s a love letter, not just to the actors who have spent years painstakingly creating and nurturing these beloved characters, but also to the fans. It’s not just a brilliant movie, it’s a love letter to the legendary Marvel Studios. Thank you for the journey, Marvel. We love you 3000.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
At 6:15, April 25th, 2018, I sat down to witness the most anticipated film since The Phantom Menace in all of it’s glory in 3D. Besides briefly looking at the Rotten Tomatoes score when it was released, I knew absolutely nothing about it’s critical reception. A whopping 181 minutes after the lights went down, besides being disappointed at a lack of an end credits scene, I was amazed. Avengers: Endgame is a visual spectacle that pays homage to all three phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as leaving enough room for the future of these films. I should get into specifics like everyone above me has, so let’s get into the wonder that is Endgame.
So, normally I start with what I liked the most, but I’m honestly not sure if there is a part of the film which is miles ahead of everything else. If I did have to pick one thing though, it would be the marvelous final fight of the film. Not to get into any spoilers, but not only does offer legitimately awesome action, but it gives so much payoff to the fans who have been watching for the past eleven years. Everytime something new happens, it’s impossible to stop the smile across your face from growing wider. It’s probably the best action scene I’ve seen since the church fight in Kingsman: The Secret Service, it’s really good. There are many things in it that I won’t mention because I don’t want to spoil it but so many glorious moments occur. It’s the crown jewel of Endgame.
The next thing I want to talk about is the performances. The acting from the entire cast is phenomenal. Out of all of the actors, Robert Downey Jr had to give the most emotional performance, but I think the person who’s going to go overlooked in this is Scarlett Johansson. Black Widow has been known for a long time to only be in these films for “fan service” like Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad, but I think since Civil War, ScarJo has turned the character around into a great character with depth. Johansson gives her all here with the best supporting performance as an actress so far this year. Do I think it will win any Oscars for acting? No, of course not, but I do think that the performances from everyone in the film are fantastic.
The last thing I want to talk about is the story, and to keep from saying any spoilers, I’ll just say one thing. The fact that they managed to combine twenty two films into something as good as this is amazing. Fan service is so often used with negative connotations, but here I think that while fan service is often used, it’s earned. Not fan service for fan services sake, but something to reward fans for sticking with the franchise for eleven years and offering proper payoffs for so many great theories. Hats off to the Russo Brothers for doing it right.
Now, I do need to bring up a negative so this review has some balance in it. What they decided to do with the character of Thor… I wasn’t a fan of that. I get why they did it, but not only did I find it kind of off putting, I felt that it ruined what could have been some outstanding group shots. It was by far the biggest problem that I had with the film. I also had a minor problem with Thanos, as while he was the centerpiece of Infinity War, it felt that he was shunted to the side for this movie as I did not feel his presence looming like I did in this films predecessor. The only other thing I can think of is that it is an incredibly long film. 181 minutes and while those do go by surprisingly fast, there are some parts where it does drag on, particularly before that amazing action scene I discussed earlier. However, the fact that it still feels shorter than Batman V Superman is something to be commended.
So that wraps up my thoughts on Avengers: Endgame, and I’m sure that what I forgot to mention, my associates didn’t. Endgame is a marvelous conclusion to the first chapter of the MCU. (Even though apparently Spider-Man: Far From Home is what wraps up phase three) and I certainly am curious what they do with phase four and onward. Hopefully we can get the X-Men in it by the time the next big Avengers film comes around in three years. I imagine that we’ll finally get to meet the next big bad at that point. Until then however, I am perfectly content with this film, even though I didn’t love it 3000 like I did Infinity War.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐