The Avengers as we know them are gearing up to assemble one last time, and hopes are exceptionally high, even for a Marvel movie. Now I, along with much of the world’s population at the moment, am a big fan of Disney’s mega-franchise. Maybe not a die-hard fan (I mean, I haven’t even seen Captain Marvel yet), but still pretty big. So I was a little taken aback when I entered this movie, expecting 3 hours of high-octane superhero action, and sitting down to a somewhat intimate opening and a steady first hour. That isn’t to say slow, for this movie is so packed with content that nothing ever seems to drag, but we have a large amount of time to warm up for the things to come. For those of you who do not wish to know the plot, please skip the next paragraph.
Like many of us have guessed, Endgame is a time-travel movie through and through. We open on each of our heroes, broken and still reeling from Thanos’ snap, and the Russo brothers waste no time in rounding up the remaining Avengers. Before the opening title screen appears, Tony is back on Earth, Captain Marvel has made an appearance and Thanos has been found. Easy as that. But then we get into the real meat of the story, jumping forward five years to when Scott Lang escapes the quantum realm and a plan is hatched: to go back in time and retrieve copies of the infinity stones. Not unlike many movies, Endgame is split into three very distinct acts. Hour one focuses on the planning and the preparation; hour two takes a look at the execution of that plan, and hour three is an all-out superhero brawl.
First, I’d like to address some of the issues. Josh Brolin returns to offer another mesmerising performance as Thanos, as does Downey Jr, Evans, Hemsworth and Ruffalo for their respective roles. But the returns of many of our other favourites are scarce, so much so that their appearances are little more than cameos during the movie’s final sequence. And whilst we’re on the subject of cameos, past movies are revisited, but these encounters sounded far more interesting to me when they were talked about than in their execution. The Russo’s opt for meaningful, heartfelt moments over action, which is by no means a bad thing, but I couldn’t help thinking (or hoping) for certain other moments to be revisited, and other characters utilised. This is of course a minor gripe, as there is only so much one can pack into three hours, but still that feeling remained. I would’ve loved to have seen Ultron, for instance, or maybe even Ronan from Guardians. Thor and Hulk take the comedic roles this time around, perhaps because the formula was so successful in Thor Ragnarok, but oftentimes their stories fell by the wayside as their peers got the more sentimental treatment. The humour was welcome, but possibly questionable given the seriousness their teammates looked at the situation. It might be that I’m just being picky here, I don’t know.
Infinity War was very much Thanos’ (Josh Brolin’s) story, Endgame is very much the Avengers’ story. The cast is somewhat reined in for much of the movie, focusing instead on its core members (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and Hulk). This isn’t entirely to the movie’s detriment though, as it is somewhat agiven that there will be deaths here and a little character development, even this late in the game, is welcome. Consider Endgame as a three hour act of fanservice, satisfying even the most hardcore by revisitting previous movies and climaxing with a cathartic spectacle that reminded me, strangely, of the final battle in Ready Player One. I welled up with emotion when the confrontation occurred and the ulitmate battle between good and evil commenced, and felt the bittersweet emotion settle over me as the credits rolled. The Russo’s ensure that this is a true ending to a phase. Of course we know that there is more to come, but it is made apparent that the torch has been passed onto a new crowd of superheros. Please don’t sit through the credits like I did though, as there are no end-credit scenes here. Which seems only fitting for a true ending.
Endgame is a veritable treat for the fans, both casual and hardcore; a three hour epic to stand proudly alongside the best Marvel has to offer. The obligatory final-movie battle was gorgeous and enthralling, even if it didn’t show me more of the characters I loved, and the send-off for the group felt right to me (bar one decision, but I can’t get into that on a spoiler-free review, can I?). Yes, the movie does cheat a little, and time-travel kind of calls off all the stakes in the future, and the movie does sort of break its own rules at times, but you know what? I didn’t care. I liked this movie when I walked out of the cinema and it’s been on my mind ever since. I now love it and am craving my next fix.