The idea of ‘heroes’ will never be an old fashioned notion…
After 11+ years and now 22 movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, to say that the build up for Avengers: Endgame has been on the brink of a level that could only be described as dithery and aflutter would be an understatement. However, with that being said it is a rare thing to get an ending to something that has been so prevalent in the pop culture ethos that is as satisfying as this film truly is while still offering up hope for what kind of a lather the next 22 installments will get us up to.
The grave course of events set in motion by Thanos that wiped out half the universe and fractured the Avengers ranks compels the remaining Avengers to take one final stand.
Make no mistake; Avengers: Endgame may actually go down as the most ambitious film today inside the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not from any level of spectacle or grandeur (all of which are obviously great) but from an emotional level as it’s the kind of story that truly understands the characters that are playing all this out.
Yes, there is a deliriously absurd level of bombast to it with some plot devices that don’t make a ton of sense, but what it does do is allow for these characters to really grasp the scope of the horrors that they’ve faced and embrace their desire to one way or another make it right. As Tony Stark said in the first Avengers film, “Because if we can’t defend the Earth, you’ll be damn well sure that we avenge it”. That’s what this film is about, as much as these characters should try to move on with their lives after what Thanos did to the universe…they simply can’t, it’s just not in that super hero makeup…at least until the world says that they can
Anthony & Joe Russo obviously once again do a masterful job of crafting some massive visual spectacles for us to all take in, but on the flip side of that there’s something that I didn’t initially expect.
This film is DARK…I mean this film is Christopher Nolan Batman kind of dark in all the right moments and it damn well needed to be in the wake of the events of Avengers: Infinity War. For one of the rare times in the MCU, the script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely allows these characters to have a genuine human fragility to them, which really is the magic of super hero movies to begin with. These films aren’t only about the spectacle of the fantasy and the action that unfolds on screen (there’s one particular scene that made this critic well up with tears of joy) RATHER these films are about that fact that these people are just like the rest of us, but they step up to challenges that most of us never would have to even contemplate in the first place.
The narrative tips its hat to a lot of different elements from the other movies and fills in a few of the gaps along the way and makes sure that there aren’t any glaring loose ends, it also has a nice tip of the cap to the ladies and some of the female empowerment issues brought up Captain Marvel, which actually played better then the entire film from this past March.
This film is quite honestly the cherry on top of an experience that just hasn’t been seen before in the annals of pop culture and it couldn’t have been pulled off without the unwavering commitment from all the talent involved.
Despite its overwhelming cast of characters the film is smart enough to focus on the key players that we have been invested with from very early on.
Robert Downey Jr takes Tony Stark to a genuinely humanistic place from the Playboy/Weapons Tycoon/Reluctant Super Hero that we saw all the way back in Iron Man. Along every step of the road he has taken such great care to really evolve the character from someone who only cares about himself to someone who can’t help but care about everyone else BEFORE himself. Chris Evans was tortured and stoic as the heroic man on the edge while watching Chris Hemsworth have a nervous breakdown actually added some comedy to the proceedings and it’s important to remember that. This film simply wasn’t all doom and gloom and they still found a moment or two to crack wise. Everyone from top to bottom in this insanely loaded ensemble really found the core of the characters throughout all this action and it came to a beautiful head here with Endgame.
We’ll admit we’ve admittedly been a little vaguer then usual while talking about this movie, and there’s a method to our madness. While I won’t (and obviously can’t say) that Avengers: EndGame closes the book on all this comic book action, but I can confidently say (and to put it in comic book parlance) we’re very clearly at the end of Volume 1.
There are some characters that we have to move on from…and that’s OK because not only are we happy for them but much like the new characters that will be filling those voids, they will never be forgotten. On the screen or in our hearts because to be quite honest the Marvel Cinematic Universe really has nowhere to go but up, and since they’ve been maintaining this ridiculously high level of quality for all this time where the hell else would they go with a still loaded cast of characters to tell us stories for another 11+ years.