Avengers: Endgame (2019)
To fully delve deep into the latest installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the culmination of eleven years and twenty-one films’ hard work, without spoiling it, is a task in and of itself. However, having now seen the film twice, I can confidently say that it may be one of the finest superhero movies this world has ever seen.
Following on from the events of Infinity War, the entire universe is down all life forms by fifty percent. Post-snap, the team is left reeling, still stranded from each other across space. To explain the plot further would be a detriment to those who haven’t seen it – the darker you go into this, the better it is.
There is a fear, as a super-fan of this franchise, of high expectations. The Russos have not only revitalized the character of Captain America (Evans) in The Winter Soldier and Civil War, making him one of the most popular superheroes in the franchise, but balanced dozens of characters – plus one big superhero – into the behemoth that was Infinity War. To expect them to create yet another insta-classic in Endgame is unfair to both the filmmakers and writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and the pressure to create another iconic film should be too much to bear.
It is to their testament, then, that they manage to pull off this three-hour finale that is not only a highly enjoyable blockbuster, but a genuinely emotional, satisfying end to some of these characters arcs. It is exceptionally well-written; Makus and McFeely put to bed some of the looser ends the MCU has dangled so far, and plot points and character relationships are polished to an insanely gratifying conclusion - some call backs from movies previous make more sense now than they ever did before.
At three hours long (and there are no toilet breaks for this one), it may seem to be something quite self-indulgent, an overly long CGI-fest, à la Transformers, but it couldn’t be further from giant robots smashing into each other. Yes, there are thrills to be had when the inevitable action sequences come to the fore, but the film shines the most during its quieter moments, fully fleshed out characters the number one priority. It feels like a perfect runtime, just enough to wrap up the Infinity Saga as it should do, with not a moment wasted – there is no fat to be found on this.
Tonally, it feels very different from Infinity War. Marvel Studios originally stated that the third and fourth installments of the super group would be separate stories, and whilst this not be entirely the case, you can definitely sense a shift between the two. Despite the trailers giving off a somber vibe, it is actually a much lighter fare - with both Thor and Ant-Man getting some of the bigger laughs – and not as dark as you might think. That being said, there are some heavy emotional beats during this film, none of which will be discussed here, although upon second viewing, I cried like a baby.
Acting-wise, it has some of the best work from the recurring cast so far, particularly from the original core group. I swear every time Downey puts on the suit, his work as Iron Man is better, and I can’t think of another time casting was this perfect. Johansson also gets a lot more to do as Black Widow, her work in this probably her best in the role, whilst Hemsworth not only gets to further his comedic skills with Thor, but flex his dramatic chops as well.
There are minor quibbles I have with the film, although these are nit picks and to expect to get everything you want is futile. It is perfectly placed, beautifully written, excellently acted and wrapped up for you with a little bow on top. As it continues to dominate the cinemas this weekend, I hope those at Marvel Studios celebrate to their hearts content – it is well deserved.