Avengers: Endgame, a Superhero film, is the 22nd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s directed by the Russo Brothers and is the direct sequel to Avengers and Avengers: Infinity War. It’s the second to last film in the Infinity Saga.
Ok, lets get this out of the way:
Yes, Endgame is really three hours long – not that that matters because you and I know you’re going to sit through every second of it and it won’t feel like three hours at all. And no, there is no intermission so you don’t get a pee break. Moving on…..
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 11 years, isn’t it? By now, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU in common parlance) has become this well oiled machine that has functioned so well, you’d think Stark himself built it. Barring a couple hiccups, that Marvel intro might as well be the “Nintendo Seal of Approval” of the movie world right now. You know what you’re getting: great (if not at times, unconventional) casting, high production values and the right combination of humor (but not to the point of irreverence) and seriousness (but not to the point of dreariness). And Endgame is no different in that regard. If there’s any departure it’s that, as the culmination of the aforementioned 11 years and 21 movies, we get even more of that than usual.
But moving on to the movie proper, for all of the talk of “Avenging the Fallen” plastered on the promo material, the film seems to start as a low key refutation of this sentiment. It’s as if Endgame is saying to the audience, “We appreciate the furor, but lets keep this in perspective”. Act one’s gut punch (and they don’t stop there) is that of insufficient catharsis. While big set pieces and large explosions will put butts (namely, mine) in seats, that wasn’t the secret sauce that made the previous 21 films good. That my friend, was the fact that the movies were, at their core, character pieces with the villain plots in the negative space and the continuity bits in the margins. It was watching the characters mature and grow as people that made the previous films so enjoyable and Endgame front loading it’s story with how sad and broken Infinity War’s event has left them works wonders as a sobering reminder of what’s truly important.
If you’re in the know about comic book plots, then you know that they can get zany at times. What we get here, is what could’ve, by all means, been a standard comic book plot. However, the MCU being what it is, we get a grounded and self-aware version that drives the story. But don’t think you’re getting some somber affair. Quite the opposite. Marvel takes this chance to pull out all of the stops, revisiting plot threads for closure you didn’t know you needed until now, making some unconventional team ups and treating the audience to what can only be called a kegstand of fanservice.
Overall, Endgame is something akin to a graduation ceremony: it’s bittersweet. It’s a celebration of everything we loved about these people and this cinematic universe, but it’s also readily apparent that it’s the dawning of a new age and that nothing is ever going to be the same. There’s two things we’ve come to expect from Marvel movies – of which one is going to happen for the last time and the other not at all. Seeing, as well as not seeing, them is a sobering reminder of how much things are changing. It’s a thrilling, uncertain time, folks.
Endgame doesn’t disappoint and you owe it to yourself to, if you’re not caught up, at least watch the first two Avengers movies and then dive in.