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I won’t spoil anything but it was awesome and plenty of fun and surprises.
Well, my last review was weak. Let's try that again.
I remember losing my mind as a teen when I first saw the Hulk punch out a colossal alien beast. The Avengers was a glorious celebration of superhero movies and action, an elite few taking on waves of an overwhelming army. I eagerly anticipated and enjoyed the incredible action setpieces in the films that followed, particularly Winter Soldier and Civil War. They were well-done, energetic blockbuster movies that poured millions of dollars into fun superpowered fight scenes.
So my expectations for Avengers: Endgame, the advertised conclusion to this saga of films, would naturally transcend hype. The movie overall can be divided into parts as follows:
The first act reintroduces the washed-up heroes after their previous failure, milking them for all the tragedy and comedy they're worth.
The second act is a Time Travel sightseeing tour of past events and characters, dripping with nostalgia and satire.
The last act is the Final Battle and Denouement, wrapping up character arcs and broadly setting up future ones. The action mostly goes for a quantity over quality approach, with the heroes showing their stuff in relatively simple, predictable ways against Mooks and one-dimensional bad dudes all seen before, swiftly taken down with greater ease than before.
With all this in mind, how much you'll enjoy it ultimately hinges on how invested you are in the characters and mythos of the MCU as a whole. And I gradually discovered... I wasn't very. Beyond "fun action movie," there was little nostalgia to be found. And it was when I realized this that I understood my disappointment.
Maybe I'd have been a bit more nostalgic, if the Hulk was actually The Hulk and not some green goofball in a lab coat.
I saw Avengers: Endgame last night, and even if I enjoyed the movie, I am a bit disapointed. It isn't a bad movie, but it isn't as good as Infinity War.
In fact, despite all the characters that appear on screen, this movies is more a sequel (and conclusion) of Captain America: Civil War than a true Avengers movie. It is both its main strengh and weakness: the two characters that have the more screen time and the more plot relevance are Steve Rogers and Tony Stark. Warning: I have to spoil the first 30 min of the movie
The movie starts with Tony and Nebula lost in space. They are saved by Carol Danvers who bring them back to Earth and all heroes have a meeting to decide what to do. Rocket detects that Tanos used the stones 2 days before on a remote planet so they all (except Tony) go there to fight Thanos, who is weak since he just destroyed the infinity stones. They kill him, but they can't do anything without the infinity stone.
Then there is a 5 years time skip. Antman is sent back to the real world and he finds a way to maybe get back the stones. Steve has nothing to lose: his loved one is dead, his best friends were reduced to ashes. Tony has everything to lose: he and Pepper survived and they now have a daughter. But there are some people Tony wants to see again. So all main characters must follow a very risky path while being confronted to their past mistakes and missed opportunities.
Steve Rogers is probably the favorite character of the Russo Brothers. His character arc is good, and he has some of the best scenes of the movies. The audience applauded him twice: one time for a wonderful line in the lift scene, and a second time during the final fight.
Tony Stark's character arc is more complex, as he has a slightly different goal than the other characters. This movie allows him to somehow make peace with his late father. And to awesomely conclude the journey he started with his famous line I am Iron Man.
The four other original avengers are more one-dimensional. Hulk and Thor have important roles but are often reduced to comic relieve roles. Black Widow and Hackeye form a tragic duo but they don't have enough screentime. About the other characters... Antman is a joke, Rocket and War Machine simply do their job and Thanos is a generic bad guy. Only Nebula has an interesting role. Carol Danvers must be hated by the writers and directors to be so butchered. She has no introduction, almost no line of dialogue, she appears as a cold, unfriendly woman who seldom interracts with the other characters. All other 35+ characters are little more than a cameo.
So, it is a satisfying conclusion to the Infinity Stones Saga, as the focus is on the original 6 avengers but it fails at preparing the next phase of the MCU. The lack of a stinger and the weak roles given to the new avengers means that at the end, my feeling was: "Ok, that was fun. But now what ?"
So... I have a pet peeve: Time Travel stories.
Naturally, discovering that's what the movie's about with no foreknowledge whatsoever wasn't a pleasant surprise. But that wasn't even the main problem. I think I could have stowed away the lingering doubts and confusion in my mind; time travel never makes sense anyways.
My real problem was the way the movie built up to its climax.
Any movie tends to follow a Three-Act Structure: there is setup, confrontation, The Climax and Dénouement. The Avengers (2012) pulled this off nicely; it set up its players in the first act and pulled them together in the final showdown. Captain America: Civil War had an earlier action climax, but still did its job in setting up each superhero before slamming them together in the airport fight.
Endgame, however, doesn't do that as well; over three-quarters (or more; I lost count) of the cast are relegated to side roles and cameos, and abruptly return 80% into the film.
"Well, you should have watched the other movies!" I did. But that's not how a movie works. When you go into the theaters for Avengers: Endgame, you go to experience Avengers: Endgame. It needs to stand well enough on its own as a three-hour ride.
Take Captain America: Civil War: it took the time to set up every one of its superheroes. Every onenote Well, except maybe Ant-Man, but even his role at the airport was a slow boil. He also had the most recent movie.. The filmakers could have just said "Aw, everyone knows Spider-Man; let's just throw him in!", but they didn't. They gave a proper introduction to Peter Parker and his powers. Even preexisting Avengers got to showcase what they can do, so that they are fresh in your memory and hype expectations. The film spent time building up each of its players and setting their arcs in motion so that the airport showdown was a proper payoff.
What does Endgame spend its time on? A Time Travel story. One which often focuses on characters who will be absent for the final battle, and less so on those who won't.
The result was a final fight that felt too abrupt and improperly built up to. The shots were too brief, and some like Hulk just got shafted. And I'd be lying if I said there wasn't lingering time travel confusion. Also, 2014 Thanos as the bad guy felt out of left field.
Some of it was satisfying. The return of Mjolnir was hilarious, and Captain America using it was glorious. And Iron Man? He is indeed.
I suppose it might be unfair (and impossible) to ask a three-hour movie to properly execute a battle juggling forty-plus characters. Oh well. I'll move on.
...But not us. Wait, that doesn't make sense.
I've seen Endgame twice now, once on the opening weekend and once again when they re-released it with some extra stuff, and that's led me to this conclusion: it is the perfect cinematic conclusion to the Infinity Saga - the first time you watch it.
I don't think I'll ever forget the experience of watching this in the theater for the first time with my buddy and a jam-packed crowd. Having not seen any of the trailers and thankfully having dodged all the leaks and spoilers, witnessing everything completely blind was truly incredible because I simply didn't know what to expect. All the call-backs to previous movies, further references to the comic books and payoffs of character arcs/storylines set up over multiple years of cinema - it was all the ride of a lifetime, and one that I don't know will ever be recreated by any other franchise, or even the conclusion to Phase 4 (or 5/6).
However, the film is structured unconventionally compared to Infinity War and the other Avengers movies; while this helped enhance the experience of viewing it for the first time, unlike Infinity War it just doesn't hold up quite as well on subsequent viewings, and I honestly can't definitively put my finger on why. Perhaps because there's not as many fight scenes (though what we get are still incredible), perhaps because it's focused on wrapping up stories rather than simply continuing them, perhaps because there isn't as much Thanos. Whatever the reason, when I watched Endgame again, while I was still on the lookout for some stuff I'd overlooked the first time and looking forward to seeing certain moments again, by and large it felt like I was just kinda...sitting there for 3 hours till the new stuff came on. Idk, maybe that stemmed from me going specifically to see the post-credits material, I can't say for sure - but my buddy who saw it with me and proceeded to see it 3 more times has felt the same way about the repeat viewings, so I'm not alone in this.
The bottom line is this: if you've watched every single MCU entry up till now (and I do mean every single one, including Iron Man 2 and Thor: The Dark World), this movie is a love letter to the characters and you in equal measure. Obviously, you might not like everything in it, but I believe you will enjoy it overall. But I would just leave it there - trying it again will just feel hollow.
So let me start by saying I gave Endgame its' relatively "low" score of 7,5 because, lets face it, a movie that employs this films' at times odd pacing and three hour runtime would in most cases get eviscerated. There also won't be as much to enjoy in this film if you aren't as invested in the MCU and its' characters, lowering the movie's standalone value, whereas even Infinity War benefitted from having Thanos and his quest in the centre. That being said, those criticisms really don't quite hit their mark when you remember this is essentially a Grand Finale, a wrap-up of a long existing plot, and that judging it as a standalone really isn't that fair. I do have some other nitpicks with the movie, such as Time travel being a pet peeve of mine and the plot in the midsection being a bit cluttered or predictable, but all in all nothing that really takes away from this film's enjoyability. The use of Time Travel does start to show some cracks if you think about it in a logical sense, but at least the film sticks to the rules it established for itself at the start.
Beyond that, however, acting, character writing, music, cinematography, and top-notch CGI effects come together to create a truly beautiful, epic finale of this longtime saga. While the plot and pacing, as stated before, do have to make some sacrifices to fit this massive cast, the Russo brother yet again manage to mostly structure the film out decently; The first hour dealing with fallout from last film and the heroes coming up with a plan, the second one being a really fun adventure, and the third one being just straight up balls-to-the-walls crazy before focusing on giving these characters a fitting sendoff. The six original Avengers are very much the focus of the story, and while I will admit that Hulk was somewhat less compelling than the others all six of them really do steal the show.
If you were a part of this generation, the people that grew up watching these films, then this is going to be one of those movies you'll never forget.
In a nutshell, I'd say Endgame is a perfect homage and embodiment of what the MCU is, in both good and bad.
DID I HAVE FUN? ABSOLUTELY.
The MCU is this weird bland of TV series and action flick that takes the best and worst of both media, and Endgame is the worthy finale of what has been done so far. I definitely had fun and shed some little tears at the end, because I'm a Marvel fan and also don't mind that the movie is not exceptional works but a good action-comedy film as well as a tremendous homage to the work that has been accomplished by Marvel Studios and all that have participated in this project.
Definitely worth a ticket.
Avengers: Endgame, the culmination of twenty plus movies and the follow up to Infinity War. It should be noted that this will not be the end of the MCU franchise as a whole; of course not. It is the grand finale of the Infinity Stones saga. Five years after the events of the previous film, when Thanos succeeded at wiping out half of all life in the universe, the situation is utterly hopeless. Memorials are made as a feeble attempt by the survivors to remember those that had disappeared, and while it is true that things are looking up, such as with whales returning due to the lack of ships, keep in mind that the Snap wiped out half of ALL life in the universe, so that whole thing with the whales is less optimistic especially if they were in danger of dying out before Thanos halved them. However, when the idea of time travel rears its head, it opens the door for the remaining Avengers that maybe they could undo what the Mad Titan had done.
The film was surprisingly moving, not to say that any of the MCU films could never be emotional. Even though society tried to continue onward after the Snap, it proves more difficult because they have to try to move on with the knowledge that their friends and loved ones are gone. The remaining heroes also have their own struggles with having to cope with the fact that they lost. But they are also shown to be completely willing to do "whatever it takes" to undo the Mad Titan's destruction, even if it may cost them dearly.
As for anything else, the action was great as is often the case when it comes to these films, but the third act in particular was probably the best part of the film IMO. How they pulled it off is incredible to say the least. Acting was good for the most part, and many lingering plot threads in the film series and character arcs were fulfilled here.
The only negatives I can think of is how time travel was implemented in the film. While many guessed that time travel would play a key role in the film due to behind the scene footage of the film, there are times when the logic with how time travel is done in the film gets problematic. Additionally, Chris Hemsworth functions as the comic relief in the film. But, I felt that the recurring jokes surrounding him were a little tired and shortly got irritating. And for all the talk that Marvel did in regards to Captain Marvel, she did not even appear that much in the film. She does appear in two pivotal moments, but is otherwise preoccupied. To me, it sounds as though there were more scenes dedicated to her but were likely scrapped from the final product.
Otherwise, greatly enjoyed the film, and I feel that it is a great send off to the Infinity Stones arc. With July comes Spider-Man: Far From Home, which will overall conclude the fourth phase of the MCU. Can't wait to see what else is in store.
Let me just get this out of the way: Avengers: Endgame is a BREATHTAKING cinematic experience. It has it all, brilliant direction, great acting from stars, awesome music (God bless Alan Silvestri) fantastic visual effects, and rewarding storytelling that is the culmination of 11 years of MCU in the best way possible. The Russo brothers weren't kidding when they say that this movie will blow our minds. Even though the plot can be predictable at times (I mean, many people already figured out that time travel will be involved), it makes up by the sheer enjoyment and fanservice that rewards long-time fans such as familiar faces, call-backs, and shout-outs that keep fans invested in the story. And the final battle is one hell of a memorable experience that I daresay that it's on par with The Lord of the Rings itself.
That is to say, the movie is not without flaws. Like any movie dealing with time travel shenanigans, the movie's plot starts to fall apart when you start thinking about it. The concept of alternate timelines, while definitely not something new especially in comic book adaptational works, can be questioned to hell and back regarding how it works in-universe. I appreciate that at least the writers at least seem to put a lot of thought into it and make it as simple to follow as they could, and for the most part, they did it right. However, there's still that one last time travel in the ending that simply begs for viewers to question it, and that might take away some of the enjoyment of the movie when we can clearly point out an obvious hole in the plot.
Other than that, I have a grand 'ole time with this movie. It markets itself as the ultimate conclusion chapter of an arc that spans from since the first Iron Man in 2008, and Marvel delivers it beautifully. As long as you don't go out of your way looking for flaws in the story, this movie has everything you needed as a superhero fan.
PS. The only thing I'm disappointed in the final battle is that Nick "BAMF" Fury doesn't show up with the Helicarrier to participate in the grand finale as well. The guy STARTED the Avengers Initiative, dammit, why couldn't he be there at its ultimate conclusion? A huge wasted opportunity in an otherwise almost perfect finale.
The fact that this film even exists is practically a miracle unto itself. Managing so many characters and stories into one cohesive whole that culminate into one final point is, well, nearly impossible. Many have failed trying to do far less. And yet, here we are.
With that said, this is not a perfect film, but it is a perfect conclusion. The story is not self contained. You HAVE to know the MCU up to this point to understand the characters and their motivations and, more importantly, to understand the conclusions.
There are a few twists and turns, but when you know this is the culmination of over a decade of stories, there isn't much room for deviations from the number of conclusions that would be satisfying for long-time fans.
Even with those constraints in mind (come on... it's a superhero movie... a superhero movie to conclude all the other superhero movies) the film still manages to have some tension and doubt. There were still situations where I feared for the characters' lives, when the plan was in doubt. To do that even when I know they had to give everyone a satisfying ending or face a worldwide lynch mob, and yet draw me into the film and make me feel that, is amazing.
I could nitpick little things here and there. I could point out dumb decisions or minor inconsistencies. But at that point, I would be actively trying to sound like I know better. Which I don't. Because for every nitpick I can find, I honestly can't point to a way to change it that would make the conclusion more satisfying. It would be like hiking to the summit of a massive mountain and complaining that I chipped a nail.
Avengers Endgame delivers satisfying emotional moments but the plot doesn't withstand a lot of scrutiny. In the end that doesn't matter too much as the whole thing is a greatest hits review and a symphony of fanservice.
There are some shocking ends for some central characters, including at least three who have upcoming movies or tie-in series. Curious to see where that goes.
I think its a strategic mistake to jettison all the MCU tie-in material such as Agents of Shield, Defenders and Punisher. Those lower decks episodes served to humanize and make relevant some of the more cosmic events. They are mediating characters like the hobbits in the Lord of the Rigns.
For Phase II, now with Captain Marvel, Scarlet Witch, and Doctor Strange, we are at a power level where even the mighty original Avengers are really just Elite Mooks for some of the later-introduced characters. It puts a lot of pressure on Spider-Man if he becomes the only commoner among a galaxy of beings with godlike powers in Phase II.
I guess as a reader of the original Starlin Infinity Gauntlet back in the day, the main element missing from the story is the protagonist, Adam Warlock. If the bring him in now in Phase II, as is teased in Guardians II, how will that work?
I wish that they had not introduced the whole Timey-Wimey Ball mess, it was a clever narrative device to revisit best hits, and The Dark World for some reason, but they broke their own time travel rules already by the end of the movie. Hopefully that will be a one-time thing, so to speak, and will never be spoken of again.
But these are quibbles.
As far as the character arcs, I thought all the characters were handled well except Thor. I don't get how Thor is worthy of Mjolnir if he abandoned his throne and his people, and became a slob and a drunk and an internet troll doing stuff like threatening to tear the arms off some random fortnight player. Sort of funny but really did we need that? I would much rather have seen Thor being awesome and heroic and a true King of Asgard.
First night audience was surprisingly quiet except during emotional points, mostly low points and then final last stand and the glorious climax.
Cinematography was surprisingly dark and muddy. That and the close focus on individual vignettes in the Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny made it difficult to understand the progress of the battle and robbed the last hour of any real sense of suspense or strategy. Everyone scream and charge at once isn't a great strategy when you have normal squishy humans on the field with gods and superhumans. There was no sense of clarity, speed, direction, terrain, and momentum as in some of the car battles in Fury Road. I'd put the final battle more in the DCU Justice League category and that's not a compliment.
Definitely go see this in a theater as soon as possible. 4/5 stars.
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