Here we are at the end of all things. It’s been over a decade with over 20 films leading to this, Avengers: Endgame. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, and many, many more Avengers: Endgame hopes to bring the Infinity Saga as it is known now to a satisfying climax.
It’s a lofty goal but if anyone has a chance to pull it off it is Anthony and Joe Russo. These two directors have now become Marvel stalwarts thanks to their impressive skills with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War and the adored Avengers: Infinity War.
I can’t go any further without stating that there will be spoilers in this review as I have to discuss some aspects of the plot so be wary going ahead. I will also state though I won’t bring anything in that is from the third act of Avengers: Endgame.
With the opening of Avengers: Endgame we see the team and the world is still reeling from the events of the “Snapture”. There is however a glimmer of hope with the arrival of Captain Marvel (Larson) and some new leads on Thanos (Brolin). So the gang assemble (as you do for one of these big films) and head out ready to finally make Thanos pay and possibly save the victims of his action.
Unfortunately, revelations are revealed and everyone is broken even more so than the previous battle. Fast forward 5 years and the world and the universe are vastly different. Our remaining heroes are scattered to the four corners of the universe and people are trying to move on. That is until Ant-Man (Rudd) shows up.
What did you do!?
Avengers: Endgame is a love letter to fans of both the Marvel comics and the MCU. This means it has all the power of the 21 films behind it. Unfortunately, it also has several of the trappings that have been in each of those films that are amplified by such a major event film.
For example, this film is one part a sequel to Avengers: Infinity War but it is also a continuation of Thor’s narrative from Thor: Ragnarok. These two elements do not mix as the choices that the Russo brothers make in regard to Thor are laughable and easily could have been handled better. I can see where they are going with how Thor is handling himself after the events of both Ragnarok and Infinity War but they fumble here and Thor is not the only one who suffers.
Hulk and Captain Marvel are also mishandled in my opinion. Captain Marvel is a plot device not a character in this film. Reports came out recently that Brie Larson filmed this before her solo outing and it shows in how the Russo brothers utilise her. With regard to the Hulk and Bruce, their whole character narrative is fanservice with no real depth to it. It’s a shame because I was looking forward to where Hulk and Bruce were going.
On the positive side Captain America (Evans), Iron Man (RDJ) and Black Widow (Johansson) are handled far better. With Cap and Tony, it’s again further fan service but with Widow, there is a journey and it’s impressive. It’s a combination of great acting on Johansson’s part and interesting narrative choices. In the end though there are two MVP’s in Avengers: Endgame and it’s Jeremy Renner and Paul Rudd. Their respective character arcs are emotionally charged and I loved it. They have quiet scenes that bookend the big brawls and it’s greatly appreciated.
On the topic of the big brawls there is a fair sense of scope and grandeur. The cinematography is decent and there are several moments of awe-inspiring shots that look ripped straight from the comics. They are splash pages in every meaning of the word.
There are many moments that fans will cheer over. Moments that will have them in tears clutching their significant other and that is wonderful. I myself cried at multiple points in the film but I am a sucker for these tropes.
I can say hand on my heart I will cry at the end of Supernatural when it comes to its conclusion at the end of season 15 but I know that it’s not all been award winning. This is the same fact for Avengers: Endgame.
There are payoffs to many narrative elements for almost every character across the MCU and some of them are great but there are also payoffs that are just jokes and they clash with the tone of what is supposedly an end of an era.
There’s even a section in this 3-hour “epic” that comes across like a victory lap of sorts. Where the cast seems to be like – Hey remember how great this was? It’s unfortunate and it felt like something out of a long-running television series.
Whatever it takes
Avengers: Endgame is a tough film to dissect. In one hand I adored the emotional beats, and several of the character arcs were engaging. However, there are so many issues. The clashing of tones, the misrepresentation of characters from this film as opposed to the last film we saw them in.
There is no doubt in my mind that Avengers: Endgame is going to make a ton of money that fans will eat it up but it is by no means a perfect film.