Avengers: Endgame Review

Avengers Endgame

Well, here we are then. The big finale to a story arc that started 21 films ago, and once again the Russo brothers and the whole team behind the film have somehow pulled it off. They managed to make a film with lots of depth of character, great callbacks to previous entries in the franchise, and then wrap it all up with an extremely satisfying final fight. Excitement, drama, even getting emotional at times… it was a great experience, one I’ll always remember. So without further dancing around spoilers, let’s take a deeper look at the film then!

Official Synopsis:

After the devastating events caused by Thanos, the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to undo his actions and restore order to the universe…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

Avengers Endgame 3

Note that all these pictures come from the trailer, hopefully I’ll get round to some more relevant pictures down the line… If i remember (I still haven’t done that to my Infinity War review yet…)

Tony Stark / Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) – Tony Stark has been left all alone on an alien world, knowing that the premonition he’d been fearing for years came true after all. All hope seems lost…

Steve Rogers / Captain America (Chris Evans) – Steve and his sense of pride can’t quite fathom how he and his allies failed to stop Thanos from wiping out half of the universe, but unlike a lot of people, he’s not going to give up, not now, not ever!

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) – Thor lost his home and his family even before Thanos’ finger snap of death, so to once again fail to defeat the tyrant has really hit him hard. His Earth-based pals are literally all he has left… that and revenge…

The Hulk / Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) – Banner felt like he let everyone down during the big battle in Wakanda. His powerful alter-ego The Hulk refused to join the fight after getting soundly defeated for the first time, and his attempts to help were far less than it could have been…

Thanos (Josh Brolin) – Thanos has a crazy master plan of halving the population of the universe to save it from over population, and … he pulled it off! He actually achieved his crazy scheme and so has decided to retire to a peaceful life, knowing he’s done the universe a great favour…

Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) – Black Widow did her best during the battle with Thanos and his army, but in the end she saw many people she loved or admired turn to dust, and countless others did the same on countless worlds. Now all she wants is revenge… or a way to undo the tragedy, one of the two…

Clint Barton / Ronin (Jeremy Renner) – Clint lost everything in the Snap, and he wasn’t even involved in the battle. Now he just wanders the Earth in search for… something, anything to take his mind off the tragedy.

Ant-Man / Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) – Scott is trapped in the Quantum Realm thanks to Thanos’ snap eliminating his allies back on Earth. Should he ever escape, he’s in for a shock…

Carol Danvers / Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) – Carol has been busy fighting wars in space and saving the lives of the Skrulls these past few decades, but she hasn’t forgotten her time with Nick Fury on Earth, nor what it means when she finally receives a pager message from him…

James Rhodes / War Machine (Don Cheadle) – War Machine is another survivor of the battle of Wakanda, and another person who almost wishes he hadn’t. Half of the Earth’s population has gone, and there is nothing anyone can do about it…?

Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) –  Rocket lost his best friend and his crew to Thanos, and is now stuck on Earth, a planet he knows little about. Still, at least he made some new allies, that’s… something.

Nebula (Karen Gillan) – Nebula, much to her surprise, is in morning for her sister, as well as just generally angry at her father Thanos, which she was before he wiped out half of the universe, to be fair, but it doesn’t take long for her new leaf to stay turned over…

And many, many… many more!

The Good:

Avengers Endgame 2

“Which insect-man was this one again? … Oh well, I guess it doesn’t matter any more…”

Where to begin, that’s the question with a three hour long film… really I’ll just run down the film and talk about some of the great moments… So the film begins with Clint seeing his family turn to ash (well, loses sight of them for a second and then they’re gone) before we get to see Tony eventually rescued by Captain Marvel, followed by a scene with Tony chews everyone (especially Cap!) over their collective loss. We soon see Marvel and Nebula tell everyone where Thanos is hiding, so everyone leaves in hope of using the Infinity Stones to un-snap everyone back to life. They find him, restrain him, but find out he snapped the stones out of existence using the stones themselves, so Thor chops his head off for the hell of it and we jump forward five years. It’s a world in mourning, fractured and barely holding together. The first act is a great showcase of scene setting, making sure the full effects of Infinity War is shown, otherwise the inevitable turn around will feel cheap.

Scott Lang appears back in the real world thanks to a wandering rat stepping on his control device, and eventually informs Captain America and Black Widow that the Quantum Realm has time travel possibilities, leading to getting what’s left of the gang back together for a run at collecting the Infinity Stones from the past to use in the present. Tony eventually helps despite now having a young daughter, and a Bruce Banner who is now in his Hulk body but in full control (“Professor Hulk”) eventually helps bring Thor back, though its a Thor that has a large gut and no interest in fighting any more…

This bring us to the middle of the story, which sees  three teams of Avengers travel back to past moments in the MCU and try to gather the Infinity Stones for themselves. Cue Cap, Tony, Hulk and Ant-Man arriving during the Battle of New York from the first Avengers film, with Cap ending up in a fight with his old self (who thinks he’s Loki impersonating him) but eventually getting the Staff, and Hulk persuading the Ancient One to surrender the Time Stone when she finds out her successor had surrendered it to Thanos willingly (and therefore must have a plan in place). Ant-Man and Iron Man fail to get the Tesseract, leading to Cap and Tony taking an extra trip to the 70s to get it there (during which Tony meets his Dad and Cap sees Peggy Carter, from a distance). Meanwhile, Rocket and Thor get the Reality Stone from Asguard at the time of Thor: Dark World, which includes Odinson getting some motivational advice from his mother (and Mjolnir back!). The former Hawkeye gains the Soul Stone thanks to Black Widow sacrificing herself (a death that has apparently stuck…) and War Machine returns with the Power Stone from just before Peter Quill grabbed at the start of the first Guardians film, though with the twist that Nebula, who was with him, getting replaced with her past-self who is still loyal to Thanos…

Avengers Endgame 1

I wonder how many different suits Iron Man has had in the past 11 years…

It was a great celebration of the MCU, and there were some powerful scenes in it. They assemble their own Infinity Gauntlet and Hulk snaps back to life all those who were snapped away five years ago (meaning half the population of Earth is now five years younger than those who were left behind, which is a weird twist!) but before they could celebrate the Nebula of the past has used their own tech and the time travel tech to bring Thanos from the past to the present so he can get all the stones at one time. This leads to the big climax, as soon not only the surviving Avengers, but damn near every MCU character alive, pre-existing or re-existing after being re-snapped to life, plus a whole shit-tonne of Wakandan soldiers, sorcerers and what’s left of the Asguardian race, all appearing thanks to the old portals from Dr. Strange and cue massive full-scale battle with amazing sweeping shots, lots of great moments and character interactions. It was quite the sight to behold, honestly, and is the kind of spectacle you were hoping to see from the finale of 22 films…

So we get to the end, and after a few characters have had a go at Thanos (including Captain America using Mjolnir!) Tony manages to get a hold of the Infinity Gauntlet and snaps Thanos and his army out of existence, but at the cost of his life. Very nearly teared up as Pepper (who had donned some armour!) says her goodbye, reassuring Tony that she and his daughter will be safe. We then get a series of endings, including Tony’s funeral (with tonnes of shots of MCU characters all together with sad music playing…), several passing of the torches between several old and new characters, and finally Captain America using the time travel tech to put the Infinity Stones back to the same place in time they stole them from so as not to cause any paradoxes or timeline trouble, but then decides to take a side step and live his life with his old love Peggy, with old man Steve Rogers appearing in the present, before we fade to Steve and Peggy dancing in the past, leading to the credits…

So everyone is un-snapped back into reality, but at the cost of Black Widow and Tony Stark, plus Captain America is also off the active roster, so this will certainly still have ripples down the line, and it’s definitely an Endgame to the story of the past 22 films given two of the leads are now gone along with the previously ever-looming threat. The best praise I think I can give it is that is was a great film in of itself, it somehow never felt bloated until the big climax, and that’s is a scene you want to be bloated (and frankly a CGI fest I’ll never forget watching with my mouth wide open), it focused on a few characters and their conflicts and it was just really well written and acted. Oh, and it was funny too! Some properly laugh out loud moments spread across the film, mostly with Ant-Man providing the laughs, but it stopped it from being a three hour mope-fest. There are some great cameos as well, not just from MCU films past, but at least one TV character getting on film as well (no, not that one I’m afraid, but it was still good!)

So in summary: they somehow did it… they tied up 22 films worth of storylines in a satisfying way, and still left room for some drama and humour, plus one HELL of a finale. Top marks all round.

The Bad:

Avengers Endgame 4

Clint using his bow skills, a rare sight in this film, despite his key role…

Honestly… can’t really think of any. There are nitpicks, like some of the first hour was maybe a bit too slow, though I do feel it was necessary to make sure Infinity War’s soon-to-be-classic ending still has impact, and the de-aging on Michael Douglas during the 70s time visit wasn’t as good as it had been in Captain Marvel, but really, given how it could have gone, the film is miraculously good!

Overall Thoughts:

Avengers: Endgame is a fantastic full stop to a 22 film series, giving us some closure to an era of cinema, but still leaving a well-lived-in Earth for new adventures to be created going forward. The end battle will live with me for a long time, and some of the more tender and emotional moments are worth applauding given how easily this could have just been an all-action marathon. I can’t recommend Endgame enough, but then if you’re already following the MCU then I doubt you were planning on skipping it anyway!

I can’t see this kind of long-form storytelling via films being done again, certainly not this well, so it does feel like I’ve watched a significant moment in cinema, and you should go out of your way to get that same feeling. Top marks, for so many different reasons…

5 Star Watch

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