Avengers: Endgame – a nostalgia-tour for die-hard fans
After 11 years, 11 tv shows and 21 movies, Marvel ended their Infinity Stone arc in a cataclysmic conclusion.
Avengers: Endgame is the 22nd installment and the final culmination of over a decade’s worth of build-up through one of the most impressive franchises and ambitious cinematic experiences of the modern era. The final conclusion to this generation of the Marvel cinematic universe is a soul-lifting story filled with deep moments of love, grief and family, all perfectly balanced with the wit Marvel writers are well-known for.
Endgame begins a mere month after the devastating events of Infinity War, where over half of the generated superhero roster, as well as the known universe, were turned to dust with a snap that rang throughout the cosmos. The team is down and out, barely functioning under the weight of an unfathomable loss. After a failed attempt to bring their loved ones back, the film quickly thrusts the audience forward five years to a world that is struggling to cope with their misery.
This movie truly takes viewers through the five stages of grief and carefully shows the myriad of reactions to trauma. There is a gorgeous single long shot locked on Chris Hemsworth’s face as he transforms from an alcoholic frat boy to a war victim struggling with survivor’s guilt and a broken soul at the mere mention of Thanos. The acting is divine.
An interesting thing Endgame does differently than other Marvel movies is actually letting the audience marinate in the despair, not only acknowledging and validating the character’s heartache but the audience’s as well. In other movies, the main hero is usually only down and out for a few minutes before they rush immediately into planning mode to defeat the evil. Here, these heroes whom audiences have known and loved have suffered and lost on a scale unparalleled to anything they’ve experienced before.
These heroes are not the ones we know and love; they are broken. They’ve lost all hope. They’re shown dealing with their agony and bonding over their shared traumas. It’s rich with character development and connection unlike anything the MCU has shown before, which is, of course, unfortunately lost as the movie adds more and more characters.
This is possibly the first marvel movie where character interaction and emotional payoff are more important than plot in a mildly confusing yet immensely satisfying way. In a movie that is 80% fanservice, the Avengers go on a delightful romp through time in a move similar to flashback episodes of sitcoms like Friends and Fresh Prince of Bel Air before their grand finale.
While longtime fans will be rewarded for their loyalty, it’s doubtful people who have casually seen one or two films from this franchise will have nearly the same visceral reaction to this emotionally charged movie. Fans were hit with wave after wave of nostalgia not only from references and call backs, but literally taken on a tour through scenes from The Avengers (2012), Thor: The Dark World (2013) and Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) all over again from a new perspective.
Regrettably, the time travel mechanics aren’t very well explained. The best reasoning the audience gets is characters hilariously listing every time travel movie known to man with Dr. Bruce Banner discrediting them as not realistic; as if time travel isn’t something he and Tony Stark started tinkering with a few days ago. Instead of explaining how this new technology works, the writers would rather explain how it doesn’t. There’s also the concerning fact that, now they’ve introduced time travel into the universe canon, the MCU can, essentially, do anything it wants.
There are plot holes abound and offshoot alternate realities curated by the dozens, but in the heat of the moment none of that is able to detract from the jaw dropping pinnacle of the MCU.
Once again, our heroes face Thanos head to head. The mighty three, Captain America, Iron Man and Thor, go toe to toe with the mad titan in a battle that made everyone in the audience hold a collective breath, only to be exhaled in a scream that shook the theater floor as Captain America was left alone to fight Thanos in a one on one battle.
The camera panned back, getting the full scope of a ravaged battlefield, as Thanos released his massive army. Aliens dropped from warships. Thanos’s deadly children entered the arena. Missiles aimed at the man with a target on his shield. It was a gorgeous second of Steve desperately trying to catch his breath, but refusing to back down as he alone stood against the greatest army he ever faced. It was a impassioned moment that represented Steve Rogers in a way no words could.
Endgame is a powerhouse of a movie that shakes your hand and thanks you for investing so much time and love into these characters.
Directors Anthony and Joe Russo took on a mammoth of a task in ending this arc of the MCU, but they did it with love. The brothers utilized wide angles and long shots to fully establish the heavy weight of this film. Some characters had more satisfying ends than others; some get funerals and others only get remembered. Their goodbyes are not made equal, but they are all important; they all hurt the same.
Nobody likes saying goodbye, but Endgame makes it a bit easier.
The next Marvel movie will be Spiderman: Far From Home, in theaters July 5, 2019.