How can one summate the entirety of a three-hour film into a few paragraphs of review? Well, we’ll try.
The promotional material for Avengers: Endgame leaves the audience with a lot of questions. The answers in the film are strange, bizarre, outlandish, but explainable. There are absolute bonkers moments in the film that outside of the context of those three hours, will seem like the fever dream of the most basement-dwelling of nerds out there. My apologies if I let a few spoilers out in the course of this review, but I’ll do my best to keep the mind-blowing stuff out for a spoiler post.
The film starts out with what everyone has seen in the trailers, a scene at the Hawkeye family farm. Clint Barton is training his daughter with some target practice, wearing an ankle device. The other members of the Barton family are getting ready for a picnic.
And then it gets worse.
We’ve seen in the trailers the team wanting to go after Thanos and getting the stones back to undo everything. But this fast and furious mission to eliminate the Mad Titan is within the first 10 or so minutes of the film. If you’re guessing it doesn’t go as planned, you’re probably right, but it would be spoilers to say too much about it. It would also be spoilers to say anything specifically about the next 2 hours and 40 minutes. Just know that they are going to attempt to fix it.
A Long Story Seems Short
The pacing of the film made it feel like it went by quickly. It didn’t feel like a 3-hour movie when viewing it, and that’s a praise to the writers for keeping it interesting enough for audiences to stay engaged for the length of the movie. And it wasn’t all action and plot contrivances. There were also scenes where there were pauses in the action and character or story beats needed to be addressed.
I appreciated the slower moments just to take a breath and help get a grasp of what’s going on. In Avengers: Infinity War, it felt like we were going at a rapid-fire pace, from one end of the galaxy to the next. It was mostly Thanos on a quest for stones to eliminate half the population of the universe. For Avengers: Endgame, it feels like quite the opposite for our heroes. The focus is mainly on their quest to undo the snap, whatever it takes. And it also took risks in doing deep dives into the characters’ emotional states after the snap.
I vaguely recall making a tweet, telling everyone that Ant-Man and the Wasp is essential viewing for this film. If you’ve seen it, then you’ll have a better idea of the plan the team comes up with. And that Captain Marvel wasn’t so much. I’ll stick with that statement.
And while we’re on the subject of Carol Danvers, I was happy with how the Russo brothers addressed Brie Larson’s character. I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say she is not a Deus Ex-Machina for the purposes of plot progression.
A Resolution to 10+ Years of the MCU
The film is appropriately titled. It culminates the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, beginning with the first Iron Man film and all the movies leading up to the first team-up effort in Avengers. And what Avengers: Endgame manages to do, like the previous Avengers entry, is give proper homage to all of the films that led up to it.
With that said, there are two kinds of tears that I shed tonight. The first set was of sadness, the second of joy. I hate seeing things go, but I totally lose it when I see things go right. If you’re the kind of person who starts up the water-works for any of those two scenarios, then this movie will deliver on those points.
Also, if you’re looking for mind-blowing action sequences, then this film delivers. If you’re looking to laugh out loud, this film will give that to you as well. I’ve had my share of emotions with Avengers: Endgame, and ultimately its goal was accomplished. It entertained me. Avengers: Endgame satisfied every nerdy nerve in me with visual cues that made my jaw drop. I wanted to jump out of my seat at certain moments, and bawl in my chair at others. And Marvel has done quite a number on cultivating their audiences to do just that.
There are going to be some character arcs wrapping up in this film, so prepare your box of tissues.
Having said that, I’m going to say that having a greater knowledge of the MCU library and comics will benefit greatly going into the film. My girlfriend only saw Infinity War, Captain Marvel, and Ant-Man and the Wasp. A number of comic book references, easter eggs, and call backs to previous films in the MCU library went over her head.
The Main Characters
This is pretty much a story of the survivors. We are following the original members of the Avengers, and their tale of navigating through the world after the snap. When it comes to Rocket, Nebula, War Machine, Okoye, Captain Marvel, Ant-Man, and others, they serve as minor points to the main members’ journey.
Having said that, there were a few relationships I didn’t buy, and some that really hit home. Black Widow and Hawkeye’s relationship felt like something out of the past that needed to be fleshed out more. I know they were assassins working for S.H.I.E.L.D. and whatever other outfits in their heyday. However, the assumed deep past they share together comes to a head for a particular plot point, and it just felt like a revisit to a more rushed emotional connection between Star-Lord and Gamora in Avengers: Infinity War.
The Other Members
I had some issue with Karen Gillan’s Nebula as well. After evaluating the movie on a critical scale, her character served as an unwilling double-edged sword for the team. It made me feel sad for Nebula, that despite her best efforts, she unwillingly managed to entangle herself in a mess just like in the last movie. In fact, in pretty much the same way. It just felt like an easy way for the writers to throw a wrench in the plans.
There were payoffs in other relationships that really moved the plot in the right direction. Rocket has beats of emotion while serving up his usual snide but funny comments. Thor is continuing in that character direction from Thor: Ragnarok to almost ridiculous levels. Iron Man chews up the scene whenever he’s in frame. There’s an emotional beat from his character I wasn’t quite expecting, but it was humbling to say the least. Captain America’s role in the film is satisfying, and I’m not kidding when I say get ready for a treat.
I won’t say too much about Mark Ruffalo. There’s some mind-blowing stuff about his character and I had a problem trying to wrap my head around it. Not that Banner didn’t deliver on laughs or action. But it was too much of a leap for me to fully get what was going on with him.
Paul Rudd serves well as a character adjusting to his new surroundings. He’s sharing screen with a talking raccoon, among other things. However, he’s been riding on the backs of ants and entered a realm outside of the boundaries of physics, so anthropomorphic raccoons shouldn’t be too far-fetched for him.
Avengers: Endgame is a feast for the nerdy eyes. For the most part, the film delivers on creating a real environment for our heroes to interact in. Whether a charred landscape, the vast vacuum of space, or on some grassy park location, it feels like we are there with them. Although, I would say that some CGI work for a few scenes needed to be touched up before sending it to the movie houses. Some keen eyes might spot a few of these scenes.
The action scenes deliver in a way that makes my comic book senses tingle with excitement. There’s one scene in particular, where the payoff is so well-worth it that I couldn’t help but jump around in my seat. However, another part just seems like a lot of stuff is going on, and sometimes less is more. It gets too cluttered, and there are too many things crammed in that your eyes get overwhelmed. Not that overwhelming is a bad thing, it’s just it needs to be timed in a certain way that we aren’t taking everything in at once. Maybe everything over an extended amount of time. Not in just a single shot pan over the horizon.
These are just nitpicking of a great work, that perhaps a few more hours in post could make it even better. However, the work stands solidly despite these minor flaws.
Avengers: Endgame delivers answers in the most outrageous ways, but it needs 3 hours to do so. It will have you laughing, crying, cheering, and ultimately satisfied. There are some character arcs that needed to be looked at more, and some developments in characters that needed to be fleshed out more. With the CGI, the work in the graphics department for the most part is pretty solid. There were only a few bits of production work that needed to be looked at as well. Comic book nerds and those who have followed the MCU for these 10+ years will have a better understanding of some of the beats and lines in the film. It will deliver on some characters arcs and put closure on a few.
As an Avengers movie, it will mostly focus on the original members of the team, paying homage to all the films that took place prior.
- Spectacular Action Scenes
- Comic Book and Film Callback Moments
- Getting in-depth with Original Avengers
- Some CG work needed polishing
- Character used as plot device same as last film
- A few character developments needed more explaining