My most controversial move yet, I am doing a spoiler review of Avengers: Endgame. This is your only warning. Don’t worry though, there will be plenty of surprises for the film, but go watch it because I know you want to and it is incredible.
The Infinity Saga has come to its epic conclusion. The Russo brothers along with the whole cast and crew created the perfect closing to the universe’s most powerful stones and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’ toughest foe, Thanos (Josh Brolin). On paper, making Infinity War and Endgame seems impossible, but this worked the way I wanted to while going above and beyond my expectations on how to solve the greatest problem that these heroes have faced.
The surviving Avengers all reunite, with the inclusion of Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), then after a lengthy discussion, the group seek out to defeat Thanos. In a surprise, they do, but the stones have been destroyed, so it is a quest to restore these cosmic gems to bring back the fallen. My theory, along with many others who had the same idea, Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) comes to the rescue with his plan about controlling the quantum realm to go back in time and stop Thanos. Yes, Endgame becomes a time-traveling heist flick, and it is just as awesome as it sounds.
Earth’s Mightiest Heroes still face separation due to the previous conflict between Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) which causes hiccups in the plan. The internal issues last a while but did not take away from the narrative. The decision made sense for Tony to still have resentment towards Cap, and the resolution of this problem worked for both characters and their respective arcs.
Going back in time has plenty of logistical issues, and each of the divided teams faces them as they split through different places in time to find each of the infinity stones to bring back their friends. The biggest obstacle, Thanos is back and of course, catches on what is happening with his rivals. The race between the two groups builds up slowly but leaves plenty of anticipation during the three-hour journey.
The bumpy heist resolves by snapping back everyone to life, but Thanos and his army smash onto Earth for the most breathtaking battle I have ever seen. The final act starts as an exciting mix of grand warfare while still feeling intimate due to the lack of characters. Then the snap’s work comes to fruition when everyone who was lost comes back to defeat Thanos. This shift in tone and pacing makes up for the somber and sometimes sluggish pacing from the previous acts.
The main questions before watching were what will happen to Tony, Steve, and Thanos? The end of these massive personalities satisfied me more than I would have hoped. Thanos got what he deserved by getting dusted, Tony had his more heroic moment by snapping the Mad Titan, and Captain America retired by placing the stones back in time and replacing his noble lifestyle for the American Dream. Nothing would have fitted more for any of them and tied their arcs flawlessly.
Over half of the film develops the world and its characters to see where everyone is after the snappening and how everyone is coping. When you thought DC got dark, this is on another level, I got flashbacks to Logan all over again except I cried way more here. The snap emotionally devastated everyone, and much of the film reflects their feelings. The dark, often ugly colors used throughout the movie along with its pacing and music made this trauma even more impactful.
While many other Marvel stories blend the right mix of humor, drama, and action, this was the most unbalanced. A few actions scenes held together in between the long strokes of development but the combat did not satisfy until the final battle. Serious beats drowned out the comedy, but the humorous moments were fitting and a nice place to catch some fresh air in between all of the crying.
The length seemed daunting, and unlike Infinity War, I felt time move too slow. However, this direction felt necessary, even though it does not flow the way the third Avengers adventure moved. The audience and characters needed time to digest the snap and mourn together. The emotional connection I felt with these fictional people, and creatures went beyond anything I have ever experienced in my life. I may disagree on some decisions, but everything that was shot and written had a purpose.
The most significant critique would be Alexandra Rachael Rabe, who played Tony’s daughter Morgan. Child actors have a tendency to do poorly, while others can excel past adults. I wish a different child actor were cast since Rabe had little to no emotions, especially during Tony’s funeral.
Endgame executed precisely what was expected most, which were consequences while still pulling back the aftermath from Infinity War. While I had some doubts about how all of this would work, especially fixing all of the death which could have made the previous film pointless, yet the Russo brothers and their writers, Christopher Markus, and Stephen McFeely, prove they are much smarter than I am by crafting a story that is a fitting end that the fans deserve to see. Marvel has cemented themselves into being rulers of taking precarious narratives and bringing some of the best pieces of entertainment on a blockbuster scale.
Image via Marvel Studios