‘Endgame’ sees heroes complete saga
(Caveat: Since this film has essentially shattered all box office records, I will head into this review, dear reader, assuming that you have seen “Avengers: Endgame.” So if you are one of the three people on the planet who have yet to witness it, please refrain from reading further until you have watched for yourself.)
Before diving into the review, I wanted to take a moment to admire the entire cinematic accomplishment that has been pulled off by the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Sure, results may vary with some of the products, and I know that it is only tightening the stranglehold Disney has on the industry, but still ... wow!
Through the span of a decade, they have mapped out a total of 21 films that intersect (sometimes tangentially) with one another, culminating with one sprawling finale. I dare say we will not witness an achievement such as this any time soon, and it is, without question, an unparallelled feat.
“Avengers: Endgame” brings this entire saga to a close with not only the theater-shaking spectacle fans were expecting, but even more surprisingly, with warmth, humor, nuance and deep reflection.
While they were filmed simultaneously, “Endgame’s” predecessor, “Avengers: Infinity War,” may have felt a tad overstuffed and pandering at times, but “Endgame” almost feels like an entirely separate film, giving each and every character a chance to breathe, shine, and most importantly, reflect on the consequences of their actions.
Some may scoff at the pacing of the nearly three-hour film, but much of that time is occupied with our surviving heroes confronting loss and survivors’ guilt.
“Endgame” picks up 21 days after Thanos (played by Josh Brolin) sliced the world’s population in half with the snap of his fingers, then flashes ahead five years later, where Black Widow (played by Scarlett Johansson), Captain America (played by Chris Evans), Tony Stark (played by Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth), Hulk/Bruce Banner (played by Mark Ruffalo) and Hawkeye (played by Jeremy Renner) are all dealing with this devastating change in a number of different ways.
When hope arises for actually being able to reverse the past, some have to grapple with losing what they have built in the five years since the loss, bringing about some rather weighty dilemmas.
And before you think the film is ponderous update of a Samuel Beckett play (“Waiting for Thanos”?), it’s not all heady moral quandaries and consequence. The film’s screenplay by Scott McFeely and Christopher Markus (who have penned many of the Marvel films) is filled with skillfully timed humor that pokes holes in the darkness of all the tragedy.
It culminates in an all-out intergalactic game of football in which each and every Marvel character has a chance to carry the ball to the goal line. And while there are scenes that seem like they are playing to the cheap seats, and all the sciency things introduced would undoubtedly blow away like dust in the wind under scrutiny, the resulting epic battle is still a rousing, fitting conclusion that feels as though it was designed to appeal to fans both casual and devoted.
It also astonishingly calls back to some of the most disposable MCU films. (You might even be tempted to watch “Thor: The Dark World” again ... but don’t.)
Just like our titular heroes, the MCU has overcome what once seemed insurmountable, and remained relevant, fresh, and awe-inspiring in the face of all the odds. “Endgame” sees our heroes wrap up this saga in a manner that seems fitting, deserved and complete.