Review: Avengers Endgame
We do not own any of these images - via IMDB.com
Film: Avengers Endgame
Release Date: 23rd April 2019
Directors: Joe and Anthony Russo
Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan
After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to undo Thanos' actions and restore order to the universe. (source)
We saw Avengers: Endgame on the 26th of April and although we had high hopes for the film, it still exceeded all of our expectations. Endgame was an emotional, heart-felt love letter and an honorable farewell to our original 6.
The first part of this review will be spoiler-free, the second half will include major spoilers but I’ll be sure to warn you beforehand so you aren’t at risk.
Please note that due to the secrecy surrounding this film, the spoiler-free part is relatively short.
Any spoilers will ruin the experience for you, so please stop reading when we tell you to.
The end of the Infinity Saga
Endgame is a funny, surprising and emotional celebratory love-letter to the past decade of the MCU. This closing chapter has a strong script which grants closure for some major characters, fulfilling their arcs in the most honourable and exciting way. By prioritising character-driven scenes, it allows some entertaining exchanges between various characters, unexpected but welcome team-ups and of course demonstrates the character growth each character has experienced since the very 1st Avengers film back in 2012.
Endgame is entirely different from Infinity War. IW’s fast pace and action-filled sequences reflected the chaotic nature of war and disaster, and we were barely able to catch our breath. Endgame has a much slower-pace to illustrate the aftermath of the Snap, and a cleaner structure which makes the story easier to follow. It is a lot more character-driven than its predecessor as we had to wrap up the character arcs for the original Avengers. Ultimately, this film focuses on their personal journeys.
The most cinematic Marvel film to date
We can always expect to be blown away by the special effects in the MCU: from the 1st Guardians of The Galaxy space sequences to the different realms in Doctor Strange & Ant-Man, the city of Wakanda in Black Panther and Captain Marvel wreathed in energy, Marvel is constantly upping its game in terms of visual effects.
Endgame thankfully put dialogue over action which allowed the big stuff to feel much more impressive and significant as we hadn’t been overwhelmed with action during the entirety of the film. The editing and visual effects also felt smoother and cleaner, particularly the last hour of the film: ‘Impressive’ is putting it mildly - the final action sequence was visually mind-blowing, and unlike anything we have seen in previous MCU films.
An intimate and character driven plot
As for the plot itself, it was surprising and clever. It incorporated plot details from the previous films, which allowed us to reflect on the journey the Avengers have each taken and how the landscape has evolved over the past decade (more in spoiler part of this review).
The film was composed of a handful of chapters, a good, well-rounded structure that enabled the writers to go into more details and take us deeper into the characters. It had clever plot moments and twists, and despite the large scale of the Snap & Infinity Stones plot, Endgame managed to be intimate and grounded thanks to the dialogue.
Overall, Endgame focused on the characters and gave us closure. It was full of surprises and although very moving, it was funny and surprisingly light-hearted too. A love-letter to the first chapter of the MCU.
The next part of the review contains major, MAJOR spoilers. If you haven’t seen Endgame yet, stop reading now!
Final warning: this part of the review contains major spoilers.
Spoiler-filled plot summary
Stranded in space, Tony and Nebula are rescued by Captain Marvel who returns them to Earth. Whilst Tony is recuperating, the remaining Avengers along with Captain Marvel venture into space to locate Thanos. Their meeting is brief: they learn that after using the stones a final time, Thanos destroyed them, preventing the Avengers from ever undoing the Snap. Thor decapitates Thanos, and they return to Earth. Five years pass. Tony and Pepper have a daughter and are living a happy, peaceful life. During these five years, Barton has become Ronin, slaughtering criminals on an international scale. The remaining Avengers continue to provide aid when and where they can, some in space and others on Earth. Thor, scarred by his failure to stop Thanos, has fallen into a rut - resorting to food, alcohol and video games. Banner decided to merge the best parts of himself and Hulk: his mind and Hulk’s physique.
One day, Scott Lang returns from the Quantum Realm to discover a solemn San Francisco, soon learning what happened during his time stranded there - only he wasn’t stranded in the Quantum Realm for 5 years, but only for a mere 5 hours. Scott arrives at the Avengers HQ and thus launches the main plot of Endgame: find a way to use the Quantum Realm to travel through time and space in order to locate the Infinity Stones from the past and use them to forge a new gauntlet, bringing back all those who were turned to dust 5 years ago. Unwilling to risk losing his family, Tony initially refuses to aid the remaining Avengers until a framed picture of him and Peter Parker changes his mind.
The Avengers (minus Captain Marvel who is aiding other planets) split into teams, each charged with locating an Infinity Stone and returning it to their present, but not all of them return due to the nature of one of the stones. Nebula, paired with Rhodes, experiences a memory sync between her past and present self, unwillingly revealing to Past Thanos their plan. The Avengers return to the present and succeed in recreating the gauntlet and bringing back all those who turned to dust, but Past Nebula returns instead of Present Nebula, and shortly after brings Past Thanos to the present - launching the beginning of a huge battle which reunites ALL the Avengers to take on Thanos once more, trying to keep him away from the Stones.
A final sacrifice is made, characters fulfil their destinies and Thanos and his army is defeated. Character arcs are completed, the passing of torches too. A chapter closes, and new ones begin.
Endgame went in a totally different direction to avoid the ‘easy’ way out. Our God of Thunder fell into a dissociative slump after he killed Thanos, he hit the lowest of lows. It was a welcome twist, after-all with the full force of an Asgardian God at their side the Avengers’ mission would have been made much easier. Thor still had all of his powers in Endgame but it was state of mind that was holding him back. The film illustrated the gravity of the past events by showing that even the Gods are not immune to mourning and self-doubt. This mental block meant that Thor could barely hold his ground against Thanos in the final fight. Though a huge setback for Thor, it served a purpose. In that split moment Captain America was pushed to a whole new level. There was a collective gasp from the audience and wave of excitement as Mjolnir soared into Steve’s hand, as we finally had confirmation that Steve Rogers from Brooklyn was worthy to wield the hammer of Thor. Cap peaked in that moment, fulfilling his destiny as a renowned leader, fighter, and totally awesome superhero. The Universe will remember Captain America’s stand against the Titan Thanos.
Thor’s slump wasn’t the only surprise in Endgame. Bruce’s choice to merge the best parts of Hulk and himself was surprising but worked really well. It not only allowed for some great comedic moments, but it was refreshing and new, opening new doors in terms of story-telling.
Endgame also introduced Captain Marvel to the Avengers, yet her screentime wasn’t as long you would expect: she appears at the beginning and end of the film, however she isn’t depicted as the hero-who-saves-the-day. Yes, there is no doubt her presence is vital for their victory against Thanos - but she is one of the reasons they are victorious, not the only one. It IS a team effort.
Celebrating 10 years of story-telling through the time-travel plot
By time-travelling through the Quantum Realm, each character (and the audience) was given a chance to reflect on their personal journeys and all the changes they have experienced over the years. The biggest character growth by far is Nebula, who had a huge role in Endgame. This plot also allowed the audience to relive iconic scenes from previous films, celebrating each one. It also allowed us to see long gone characters once more: from Alexander Pierce to Rumlow, Loki to Gamora, the Ancient One, Howard Stark, Peggy Carter and even Jarvis - it celebrated these characters and their legacy, a love-letter to all of them and their stories.
Saying good-bye to some of the original 6 Avengers was emotional and difficult to say the least, but Endgame gave them the most honourable, iconic and moving Ends possible: it wrapped up their character arcs and brought closure, it celebrated their achievements and most of all their legacies. It depicted the strength of the human mind and spirit, that even in the face of magic and titans, humans are capable of heroic deeds. No one will forget Tony Stark, his influence, sacrifice and legacy will live on through the future generation of Avengers.
Major spoiler alert. Natasha sacrifices herself for the soul stone: it’s her choice, she is willing to do it. Yet you can’t help but feel like the MCU failed Black Widow, the plots over the years constantly limiting her from truly reaching her full potential (except for The Winter Soldier & Civil War scripts) aswell as the general lack of focus on her character. Natasha is undoubtedly a great character: one of the original 6, she led the Avengers alongside Captain America, helped defeat the villains in previous Avengers, and yet we can’t help but feel let down by her overall character arc. One of the most significant moments of Endgame is a single shot of all the female Superheroes working together to get the Gauntlet across the battle field and away from Thanos. A true thrilling and exciting moment we have been waiting for for so long, and it’s tragic that Black Widow was not there to witness it. What we can appreciate however, is that Captain Marvel and Black Widow worked together for those 5 years after the initial Snap, and that Natashas’ influence and legacy will also live on through the female superheroes that remain.
Beyond Endgame: Disney +
It’s a melancholic time, the MCU has closed its first chapter and said good-bye to some of its most iconic characters. Where do they go from here?
Endgame beautifully lays out clues for future stories: Peter Quill and the Guardians are back on their ship, starring at a screen which is attempting to locate Past Gamora, (who fought Past Thanos in the final battle) a Gamora who has yet to meet the Guardians. Thor has decided to join them on their venture, and already him and Quill are butting heads: this comedic scene sets up the plot for GOTG3, in what we can hope to be a comedic yet touching threequel.
Endgame ends on an incredibly moving moment, paying tribute to Captain America. Steve Rogers returned the Infinity Stones to their rightful place in Time, and decided live out the rest of his days with his first and one true love, Peggy Carter. He returns to the present day Avengers HQ as an old man, where he gives Sam Wilson his shield, thus passing on the mantle of Captain America. In this moment, Sam Wilson turns to Bucky Barnes, who stood back, knowing full well what his childhood and greatest friend is doing. He nods in approval. With a Disney + show on the cards entitled The Falcon & The Winter Soldier, what can we expect from this great duo? Other Disney + shows include a live-action Loki show and Wanda & Vision show:
"These shows will be on the same level of quality that you've come to expect from Marvel Studios," said Marvel Studios' president Kevin Feige during the Investor Day presentation. "These will be both new and continuing stories, and one of the things we're most excited about, is that these will be major storylines, set in the MCU, with ramifications that will be felt both through the other Disney Plus series we're producing and our features on the big screen." - ThisIsInsider.com
The next MCU film is SpiderMan: Far From Home, due to be released on July the 5th 2019. And the rest? We’ll have to wait and see.
Rocket and Hulk travelling in the back of a truck together. War Machine. NEBULA. Natasha, Tony and Banner at Avengers HQ trying to plan their mission. Scott Lang’s enduring enthusiasm. On your left. Re-assemble. Pepper Potts. Pepper Potts in her armour. All of the Female Superheroes in One Shot. Steve Rogers wielding Mjolnir. I Am Iron Man. Asguardians of The Galaxy. I love you 3000.
Steve and Peggy dancing.
Steve and Peggy dancing.
Steve and Peggy dancing…