“Avengers: Endgame is the best comic-book movie ever made,” says some people. “Screw that, it’s the best MOVIE ever made,” others claim. “Are you guys kidding me? This is the best thing to ever be put into existence, PERIOD,” you’ll hear from a select few.
Let’s all just slow down for a second, shall we? The movie literally came out a day or two ago. Don’t you think it might be just a *little* bit too early to start putting this at the top of your all-time best lists? Maybe?
That being said, and who are we kidding here, Avengers: Endgame slaps. It slaps so frickin' hard, you guys.
One year after Avengers: Infinity War left us with the dust pile cliff-hanger heard around the world — which was then followed by two less urgent but still mildly entertaining outings in Ant-Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel — and eleven years after this whole MCU thing began with the first Iron Man, Directors Anthony and Joe Russo have returned with their conclusion to this whole series — Avengers: Endgame.
I mean, you should probably take the word “conclusion” with a grain of salt, though. While they’re promising this is the end to this whole franchise and everything, Spider-Man: Far From Home is literally being released in two months time, so how final can this thing really be?
Just a quite note: there, obviously, won’t be any spoilers for Avengers: Endgame in this review because I’m not, you know, a monster. Any plot synopsis I give will be left as vague as the trailers themselves. That being said, the only way to properly talk about Avengers: Endgame is to reference some heavy plot-details from Infinity War — meaning that if you’re one of the four people in the world who somehow DIDN’T see the third Avengers movie, you’re going to want to stop reading now.
A lot has changed since Thanos (Josh Brolin) snapped his fingers and sent the world into utter chaos. And while Thanos himself might argue those changes were necessary, the surviving Avengers don’t exactly feel the same way.
While Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) are still floating around in space by themselves, Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Rhodey/War Machine (Don Cheadle) are stuck on Earth to deal with some of the more practical sides of the fallout.
Most of them — scratch that, ALL of them — aren’t taking it too well, either.
I mean, can you blame them? This group of extraordinary individuals was given one job — protect the planet at all costs. Looking around to see that half the population has been killed and that there’s nothing left but grief and sorrow, they have to deal with the fact that they’ve failed. They failed their loved ones, innocent civilians and strangers alike. They’ve straight-up failed.
Not quite as fun as you remember Infinity War being, is it?
It’s not until a few others who weren’t there for the meat of the last battle last time — Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) and Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) — show up and demand they take another shot at Thanos that the idea of hope begins to crawl into the superheroes’ minds.
Of course, hope is an incredibly dangerous notion in times like this. While they’re all dealing with the loss in their own ways (most of which are pretty unhealthy), giving the world hope and then losing again could prove to be even more catastrophic than it was the first time.
Yet, they have to try. They owe it to everyone — that being Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland), T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Star-Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and a billion others (I listed them all in my Infinity War review, I’m not about to do it again) — to do everything possible to bring them back.
Which can only mean one thing — it’s time for the Avengers to assemble one last time.
As strong of a track-record that Marvel has, I still went into Avengers: Endgame with plenty of reservations. As enjoyable as Avengers: Infinity War is — and let’s be honest here — there isn’t a whole lot on that movie’s mind other than Thanos’ character arch and the cliffhanger that left everyone on the edge of their seats. Other than those aspects, the entirety of that movie pretty much just boils down to ‘team-up meet cutes’ and ‘giant space battles.’
That still works for Infinity War because it was the first time we’d ever seen something like that on such a large scale. Now that we have seen it, though, my worry was that Avengers: Endgame was just going to be the exact same thing, which is what I didn’t want. Give me something with a little more substance this time around, please and thank you.
For the first, oh, fifteen minutes or so, Avengers: Endgame feels a lot like Avengers: Infinity War, too. From the zippy one-liners and the lack of stakes to the rapid pacing, the film doesn’t get off to a very good start and had me worried that I wasn’t going to enjoy this thing at all.
But then, something happens. Something that, again, I’m not going to spoil, but something that sends this movie spiraling in a different direction. After that fifteen minute-mark, the capes and shields are put on a shelf to collect dust (ha) for nearly the next hour of the film, allowing us to spend time with the actual characters and the ways in which they’re dealing with everything.
That’s when Avengers: Endgame really found its stride and elevates itself into something much more thought-provoking and memorable. With shades of HBO’s The Leftovers, we find ourselves facing an MCU that has real stakes, real emotions and real contemplation. There’s still a few jokes thrown in there, sure, but even humor isn’t just throw-away nonsense — they actually use it for the purpose of exploring the character’s doubts and short-comings.
The second act of Avengers: Endgame does eventually come around, which is when the comic-book and science-fiction aspects begin to pick up speed. While the first bit of the movie is still better than anything else, the Russos constantly find ways to sneak these ideas of loss into the rest of the movie, too. Given that it’s almost always somewhere in the back of the minds, the “heroes” are constantly dealing and conversing about how un-heroic they feel after everything that’s happened as they try and figure out where to go from there.
I don’t think it’s giving away anything in say that there is some kind of battle in the third act of the film. While I desperately wish I could go into more detail than that, as I’m DYING to talk about some of the things that happen, I won’t. Instead, I’ll just say that it’s glorious. Sure, they might lose some of that heavier tone during the climax, but I was so enamored by what I was seeing that I didn’t really care. They find a way to tie it all together in the end, anyway.
There are far too many actors to personally call out and commend, but, as was the case in Infinity War, there are a few that I want to highlight here in Avengers: Endgame.
Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans. Both of them have been in this thing since the beginning. Since 2008, we’ve watched them both grow through different character arcs and whatnot. While I find their whole feud (and the whole movie, really) in Captain America: Civil War to be kind of forced and pointless, seeing them both on-screen again and discussing the idea of what being a hero means together is something that’s really pretty special.
Mark Ruffalo and Paul Rudd. Marvel is overflowing with comedic relief characters who are constantly battling for the last laugh. Gracefully, though, Avengers: Endgame isn’t just a joke pissing contest and instead allows Ruffalo and Rudd to carry the humor instead. Not only are they both funny in the movie, but they also have their own, personal moments to revel in too, nearly all of which land pretty well.
Karen Gillan. Nebula has never once worked for me up until this point. She’s tolerable in Guardians of the Galaxy, but an absolute lesson in patience in Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2. Finally, instead of forcing her to make jokes about unripened fruit, Marvel finally figured out what makes Nebula interesting as a character and are able to run with that in a really clever direction.
There’s still problems with Avengers: Endgame. While I think we need to let this movie sit for a month or two before we start ranking it or whatnot, you’re not going to find me in the camp who puts this above The Dark Knight or even Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, for that matter. As much as they’ve done for this franchise, the Russo brothers still don’t really know how to shoot hand-to-hand combat, and the way Thanos is kind of thrown to the sidelines despite his presence in Infinity War was somewhat disappointing.
That being said, Avengers: Endgame is top-tier when it comes to comic-book movies — mostly because this isn’t just for the die-hard fans. Even the pretentious film critics who demand that everything has to be taken seriously can find something to latch onto in here. Granted, The Leftovers and a hundred other titles still might examine grief in a more potent way, but this is still one of the most mature things we’ve seen from this studio yet.
Mature, and yet still capable of providing one of the nerdiest, most badass battles you’ll ever see put to screen in recent memory. How they’re able to pull that off is beyond me.
Watch the trailer for Avengers: Endgame here and then let us know, in the comments below, what you thought about the film!
'Avengers: Endgame' - We love you 3,000, Avengers [REVIEW]9