Live Free or Avenge Hard.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has had a mostly great run in its time on earth. And even in its time off it. Yes, some have bemoaned their cookie-cutter solo movie, claiming to have robbed them of any individuality, but it’s hard not stand in awe of what they’ve achieved over the past ten years, crafting their own cinematic landscape and raking in the benefits for it. And now, we’re finally in the Endgame.
How does one review a film so secretive that fans themselves would sooner go in completely blind and beat up any rampant spoiler-droppers? Well, all we’ll say is that, despite whatever you may have conjured up in your head, Endgame does not start out how you think it does. Nope.
But to say it finishes like you hoped it would, well, that has to be seen to be believed.
Following on directly from that harrowing one-two sucker/gut punch of Infinity War, ending from Infinity War (which really didn’t have much war in it, did it?) at the hands of Thanos (Josh Brolin), Endgame establishes itself instantly as the most emotional movie Marvel has yet made. Everything is so impressively bleak at first that it holds out hope that more of directing duo the Russo brother’s maturity has rubbed of on them than first thought. An instant string to its bow is the fact that everyone is so bloody depressed. There are bouts of PTSD, irrational outbursts, an unhealthy coping mechanisms (Thor’s one in particular remains the film’s boldest move). With this in mind, the characters instantly become unpredictable, and once that title card shows up, you won’t know what the hell’s happening next. However, Endgame also boasts some of the most amusing scenes yet. Without giving anything away, one pivotal sequence just screams screwball comedy.
But when that titular Endgame rolls round, it’s hard to see even the most devout anti-Marvel disciple hating it. Simply put, it is glorious. Akin to Return of the King in scale and scope, but injected with the action chops of Captain America: Civil War, it is truly a sight to behold.
However, despite being an astounding achievement, Endgame does boast some imperfections. Where Infinity War was clearly Thanos’ movie, Endgame is staunchly the Avengers’ film. However, Thanos himself is greatly reduced in intimidation and threat as a result, and certain plot points render his relationship to the Avengers somewhat hollow, as opposed to the cold duty he felt in Infinity War.
And during that astounding climax, a cack-handed girl-power scene clearly screams good intentions, but is instead only groan-inducingly overt and highlights the predominantly supporting roles the women of the MCU have, save for Carol Danvers (Brie Larson, barely used) and Nebula (Karen GIllan, and promoted to the film’s emotional core). The MCU boasts some female characters with immense potential. This one moment feels only like an injustice.
Also the Hulk dabs.
Avengers: Endgame is the best kinds of fan-service. Upon the numerous callbacks and references, the film contains a genuine emotional stronghold amid the CGI lunacy. And what plot contrivances it boasts (and, boy, are some boasted) are hard to really care about when the ride is this wild. The film satisfyingly delivers on the action while wrapping up the emotional arcs of the past 10 years with great skill and emotional resonance. Whether you’re for or against Marvel, you’ll need a heart of stone not to enjoy yourself.