Ending The Game (Avengers Endgame Spoiler Filled Review)
How to tackle this... man, all I’ve got to do is write about one movie, these guys had to wrap up a twenty two movie arc and attempt to pay off everything in a satisfying way.
And they bloody well did it!
Avenger Endgame is going to be getting smoke blown up it’s ass for a long time, and deservingly so I would say. It is an incredible achievement in franchise story telling and the perfect end cap to the current crop of movies.
I’m going to break my thoughts down into a few categories to try and make this review somewhat cohesive and not just a rambling mess of mostly praise.
“Do you trust me?”
Despite the scope of the movie, Avengers Endgame does a fantastic job of drilling down and focusing on character. Tony Stark and Steve Rogers in particular, though I would say that Infinity Wars MIA characters of Ant Man and Hawkeye get plenty of moments to shine too.
This is Iron Man and Captain America’s movie and pays off the relationship between the two in an amazing way.
They’re at odds with each other from the outset, not in the violent way they were in Civil War, but just in terms of feeling like the other wasn’t there when they needed them.
It’s only through repairing that bond that the team itself really starts to come together again to the point where they have a shot of winning.
Hulk and Thor both have plenty to do and being levity to the movie while Black Widow has had to step up and really become the central figure in the group.
No one is left out, and while we focus much of the run time on the core Avengers we’ve followed for years, once the much larger ensemble.... assembles, everyone has at least a moment to shine, even if they don’t have any dialogue.
“So Back to the Future is bullshit?!”
The plot of this film I think can be broken down into fairly obvious chunks, there is the prologue; dealing with the immediate aftermath of ‘the snap’ at the end of Infinity War. Captain Marvel shows up and the surviving Avengers take on a Thanos who barely puts up a fight. He doesn’t care about dying, he’s already won and destroyed the Infinity Stones so his work cant be undone.
We jump ahead five years and are reintroduced to our heroes in the new status quo as they grieve and slowly come back together to formulate a new plan thanks to some time travel possibilities introduced by Ant Man.
The next portion of the movie is the fun middle. The time heist. The reunited surviving Avengers split into teams to recover all six Infinity Stones from various times and places, often familiar to us the audience from previous movies. We get to scene a few key scenes from a new perspective and while not everything goes according to plan, the stones are recovered and bought back to the present.
The biggest problem is that through Nebula, the Thanos from 2014 is now fully aware of The Avengers plan and is able to follow them back to the movies present day of 2023 in a play to gather all the stones for himself and this time toggle the universe off and on again instead of wiping out half of it.
That leads into the finale, which I hesitate to call that as it takes up a large portion of the movie. The big, humongous, fold out the middle so that it’s so huge you can’t even hold it without popping the staples splash page of a fight between all of Thanos’ forces and, well, pretty much every hero and heroic side character from the whole MCU. It sounds like a god damn mess and it really should be, but they some how pull it off!
As do The Avengers, but not without a major loss in the process…
The ending of the movie acts as a fitting epilogue for the entire twenty two movie saga while leaving doors open for certain characters and finishing others in the most perfect way possible. Steve Rogers, Captain America, finally got his dance with Peggy Carter.
“On your left.”
I’m shocked at how well structured this film is. Not since The Lord of the Rings has a three hour movie flowed so well, and even those films some could argue have their slow moments and really feel like long slogs.
I didn’t once feel that with Avengers Endgame though, and I don’t think anyone else in our audience did either. I didn’t see anyone step out to use the toilet.
For a movie that has to deal with a lot of darkness, grief, loss and sadness it is surprisingly funny throughout. I’ve seen some criticisms that some of the humour felt forced and too much at times, and I’m sure that it was done in response to the doom and gloom of the older DC movies, and while I agree that not every single scene needed someone cracking wise, it never felt inauthentic. That’s how the MCU has always been!
The version of time travel that is used in this movie is great and the description of it, with many references to other time travel movies, is extremely satisfying for someone like me who enjoys a great jump though time.
Many lines of dialogue throughout the movie are direct references to other entries into the franchise, some are obvious like Captain America’s, “I could do this all day.” Which has the best response yet fired back at it. Others are more subtle and took me a minute to place the reference; at one point near the end of the movie Bucky says to Steve, “You’re taking all the stupid with you.” Which was the line Steve said to Bucky before the latter went off to war and before Steve became Cap.
“I’m going to buy you all the cheese burgers you want.”
A lot of people have said they welled up or cried multiple times throughout Endgame, but I didn’t have that reaction until very close to the end. It was Jon Favreau’s Happy Hogan, comforting his best friends daughter and telling her that he’ll always be there looking out for her that really hit me. Maybe it’s to do with having lost my dad young, maybe it’s just because Favs fucking kills it especially working with young kids, but that moment slayed me.
I was thinking about the moment again today and could feel the tears creeping back up.
There was an emotional moment of joy when Cap first wields Thor’s hammer and the Odinson proudly exclaims, “I knew it!” And of course the moment Rhodey, Peter and finally Pepper come to Tony Starks side as he lays dying on the battlefield after winning the day is great, I find Gwyneth Paltrow pretty irritating as a human but she’s fantastic in that moment, holding it together enough for Tony and reassuring him until the moment he fades away and then she breaks down. Excellent stuff.
And of course the catharsis of seeing Steve Rogers retire. To pass on the shield and responsibility and to have his time with Peggy. That’s just a lovely way to end.
Iron Lad, Hawkeye and Stature of the Young Avengers are all subtly set up by the end of this film if they wanted to go that way and I don’t think it’s a coincidence they’re all close enough in age that they could gel as a team. Tye Simpkins is unrecognisable from the small kid he was on Iron Man 3 but he had a connection to Tony and was gifted a suit, I could see him taking up that mantle. Kate Bishop could be an alias of or simply replaced by Clint’s teenage daughter as the new Hawkeye and Cassie Lang is just ready and waiting to take over from Ant-Man as Stature. We just need one of the Skrull kids from Captain Marvel as our Hulkling and Wanda to bring her children into existence and we’ll have our Wiccan & Speed but that might happen in the Wanda and Vision Disney+ series of my theory that the reveal of that show is that it is an alternate reality she has created for themselves and needs to be snapped out of.
Hire me Feige!
The time jump of five years allows for mutants and Fantastic Four to have come onto the scene without “us” or any of the other main characters being aware. Perfect way to give the newly reacquired properties some history as you introduce them into the greater MCU.
Listen to Storm of Spoilers podcast for some great in depth analysis of the film! Dave, Joanna and Neil are all brilliant.
That’s all I’ve got. I could ramble on for much longer but this is enough and I don’t want to start going over already trodden ground. Everything I’ve written today is fully my own.