ATTENTION: First, this review is GOING TO CONTAIN SPOILERS!!! If you have not seen Avengers: Endgame yet then you can check out this SPOILER FREE REACTION here.
With the release of the full Spiderman: Far From Home trailer, Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo, aka The Russo Brothers, have announced an end to the spoiler ban today. In honor of the ban being lifted, here is my full spoilerific review.
This section is for the people who went into Avengers: Endgame without seeing the previous twenty-one entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). If you’re someone who has only seen Avengers: Infinity War or is unfamiliar with the way these characters have developed over the past decade, and view Endgame as a standalone, then it probably hits you differently when it comes to your expectations. As a standalone film then I would rate this movie as a FUEGO because the first two acts of this film require you to understand what has transpired in previous films to understand the grasp of the situation. The rest of this review is for the people that have been there since Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) built his first suit in the middle of a cave
Act I: The Fallout
The first hour of Avengers: Endgame picks up right where we left off after the events of Avengers: Infinity War, half of life in the universe has ceased to exist, thanks to The Snap heard around the world by Thanos (Josh Brolin). The first twenty minutes of this film are captivating for various reasons. If you were expecting this film to start off with a bunch of explosions and superheroes doing all the superhero things then lo siento, you’re going to be upset about the start of this film. For a comic book film, Endgame is a masterpiece when it comes to humanizing these characters.
The film opens with Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) teaching his daughter the ways of archery, and then his family turns into dust. Hawkeye is wearing an ankle monitor because of the fallout from the events of Captain America: Civil War. Details like that are what can make or break a film because it shows that the filmmakers took their time and cared about continuity. Oh and Linda Cardellini stopped ghosting and returned as Hawkeye’s wife.
Fast forward twenty-one days, after getting a beatdown by Thanos on Titan, Tony Stark and Nebula (Karen Gillan) are playing a game of paper football. This scene conveyed a lot of development for Nebula because her personality has been humorless and sadistic, which Tony calls her the latter, throughout her appearances in the MCU. Just showing them playing paper football to pass the time as they’re drifting out in space was a great way to humanize both of their characters and create some sort of relationship between two people who are practically strangers. Tony’s heartfelt message to Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) would’ve been far more impactful if the film’s trailers didn’t have him in future scenes. At least that would’ve given off the impression that he died on the ship, but Robert Downey Jr. sells it well, so you’re caught up in the moment and convinced he won’t make it. Seriously, doesn’t this look like a man that’s about to die?
When he and Nebula are saved by Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) and return to Earth, the film becomes more dramatic. Tony and Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) finally reunite for the first time since the events of Civil War and the emotions are running wild at the Avengers headquarters. Thanos won in Infinity War and every single one of the living heroes in the room, individually, felt like they were the reason that he succeeded with his plan. The temperature in the room is somber, sad, bleek, depressing and the ego of Stark causes more friction between him and Rogers. Their superhero alias aren’t just names, they’re personality traits. Iron Man is a man who is extremely strong willed with his ego and his beliefs versus Captain America, the man that will do whatever he can in the name of freedom even if it isn’t always in the best interest of the universe. The pair squabble and there is a reference to a conversation from Age of Ultron, where Captain America says, “They’ll lose together too,” yet this loss has cost the team and the universe everything. Tony’s arc from the first Iron Man is that he wanted to put the safety of the Earth and its people before anything else, – whatever it takes – by any means necessary. Seeing Earth in this state and going through what he went through during his clash with Thanos on Titan has broken Tony Stark.
The one character that is taking things the hardest is Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and he is, arguably, the one that has lost the most. When Stark arrived at Avengers headquarters he even had to ask what was wrong with Thor. Pictured above, Thor has the look of someone who is poised, angry, focused, and ready to unleash a fury unbeknownst to anyone in the room. The ever so arrogant Captain Marvel wants to bring the fight to Thanos, she even tells the group they didn’t have her in their previous battles. The film has some self-awareness when a character wonders where Captain Marvel has been this whole time and she states that other planets in the galaxy don’t have Avengers. Whenever the eventual Captain Marvel II comes out, hopefully we get an in-depth look into what Carol Danvers has been doing over the past 20 years.
For the people who come for action, Endgame rewards you around the fifteen minute mark. Personally, I enjoyed the slow burn because if the film rushed into the action it would have undermined everything that happened in Infinity War. The emotional journey of creating everything as bleak as possible early on is what makes the third act remarkably rewarding.
When Thanos used the Infinity Gauntlet, he did what he said he was going to do: sit down and watch the sunset. This was his destiny. He has a planet to himself, he’s gardening, retired his armor and used it as a scarecrow, until Carol and the gang ambush him and eventually kill him. After the Mad Titan tells them that he destroyed the stones, Thor unleashes all of that pent up anger and “goes for the head” the same way Thanos told him that he should’ve done in Infinity War. That action works two-fold because it gives the audience a reason to laugh and fits the narrative of the film. The first act of this movie does a good job at intertwining humor with its dramatic tone without it ever feeling misplaced.
Five Years Later
Fast forward five years and no one has come back to life since Thanos destroyed the stones, half of life is still gone, all hope has been lost and our Avengers are back to coping as best as they can. The always optimistic Captain America is hosting counseling meetings for the survivors of The Snappening in a similar fashion to Falcon (Anthony Mackie) working with veterans at the VA. During this scene the Russo brothers, in the most bottom of the barrell way humanly possible, introduced the first gay character in the MCU, and one of them even used that character as an opportunity to make a cameo.
While Captain America is helping others, and finding different methods to cope with the events that have transpired so far, Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) is out there looking like an ACTUAL WIDOW. Of all the characters we’ve seen so far since the five year time jump she is looking the most disheveled. Her red roots have grown out and she looks like she’s doing her best Rogue impression. I’m not sure if that was on purpose, but it is fitting that one of the world’s best assassins, who has been known to go rogue, ends up looking like Rogue. The scene of her eating a peanut butter sandwich just adds to the stress that Black Widow has to be feeling, she went from shwarama to peanut butter sandwiches – no jelly. Just look at her:
Again, the film knows when to mix in the humor to lighten things up without overdoing it. Thanks to a mouse, which had to be a play on Disney’s flagship character, Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is saved from the Quantum Realm. Ant-Man’s reunion with his daughter five years later is one of the most heartfelt scenes in the film – if you’ve seen the other Ant-Man films then you’ll know why. When he goes to Avengers headquarters and reunites with Rogers and Romanoff, the three of them bounce off of each other well. The chemistry between Evans, Rudd and Johanson picks up right where it left off in Civil War.
To counter Roger’s selfishness and Romanoff’s sadness, Tony Stark has moved out to the countryside, raising his daughter with Pepper Potts. Just seeing Stark living in a log cabin is such – sorry for the pun – a stark contrast to how the futurist has been living throughout the rest of the films in the MCU. This is Stark’s second chance to have a family and live out his life. When Stark was trapped in that cave in Iron Man, Yinsen told him “don’t waste your life” which is why he tells Rogers and Romanoff that his main concern is his wife and his daughter. Stark has finally found happiness and he is going to do whatever it takes to keep it and this begins the transition to the film’s second act.
Act II: Time Heist
The second act is where the film’s tone and moods start to shift into a more plucky and optimistic role as our heroes come up with a plan to save the universe. Rogers, Lang and Romanoff eventually got Stark’s help to devise a plan to commit a time heist and travel back to the past to fight Thanos. Romanoff recruits Barton, who is in Japan acting as a vigilante named Ronin, and he’s killing criminals as a coping mechanism for The Snap that killed his family.
After getting the green beat out of him during Infinity War, Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) has become one being, known as Professor Hulk. Hulk went from being ostracized from Earth to being a loveable figure where kids come up to take pictures. Instead of saying cheese, Hulk says, “green,” it’s again another way the film effortlessly blends into comedy without disrupting its flow.
Unlike Banner, the past five years have not been kind to Thor. He is far from the angry demeanor he had early on in the film. Now the God of Lightning looks like The Big Lebowski’s stunt double and this is one of the best things that Endgame pulled off. It makes sense that Thor is taking things even harder than he was earlier in this film. He killed Thanos with Stormbreaker but everyone is still dead. He feels like the ultimate failure. Asgard experienced Ragnarok, his parents, step-brother, and half of the people that he was supposed to look over are all dead.
The tragedy of Thor, perfectly coincides with his depression, PTSD and weight gain. When Thor reunites with Rocket and Hulk after creating bonds with both characters in Ragnarok and Infinity War, respectively, the drastic shift of his personality is just as seismic as his weight gain. The way that Hemsworth and the Russo brothers pulled this off is one of the film’s greatest feats. Hemsworth is just as hilarious as he was in Thor: Ragnarok, but the humor is laced in the grief that he has experienced in Infinity War.
Forget What You Know About Time Travel
Time travel in films can be tricky and can create problems the size of a Chitauri worm if the film breaks its own rules. Endgame addresses its audience by using a conversation with its heroes to establish the rules of time travel. The characters tell us to forget everything you know about time travel and the film ends up creating a time heist that uses alternate-realities and universes versus the traditional paradox method.
Captain America goes back to 2012 and fights himself; he also goes back to 1970s and captures a glimpse of Agent Peggy Carter; Thor goes to 2012 gets to see his mother and wields Mjolnir once again; Nebula gets to confront the atrocity of her 2014 self; Iron Man has one last conversation with his father in the 1970s and Black Widow makes the ultimate sacrifice for the Soul stone in 2014.
Seeing the Ancient One assist the Avengers in 2012 was a welcomed, small touch but it makes you wonder why she did not do more if she was there for the attack on New York. The 2012 version of Loki (Tom Hiddleston) manages to escape custody, which opens up ideas for a future show/movie. The second act for this movie is vital because it was a way to fleege out the Marvel Cinematic
Uni- MULTIVERSE. Another reason why Endgame is such a vital film and changes everything about the MCU and what we’ve seen so far.
Act III: AVENGERS . . . . ASSEMBLE
The third act is where Endgame excels more than any other comic book film in the history cinema. Tensions have risen as 2014 Thanos ambushes the Avengers at their own headquarters. It is symbolic of how Iron Man and company ambushed Thanos on his home planet, Titan. Seeing Thor, Iron Man and Captain America do their best at trying to defeat the Mad Titan leads up to one of the best moments in comic book film history. Captain America wields Mjolnir for the first time in the MCU and this scene is shot in a jaw dropping way. Rogers is in center frame as the powers of Thor course through his body and he attack Thanos with the hammer.
Unfortunately, the Mad Titan wasn’t easily defeated and this builds up to the emotional checkpoint of the film. Captain America, a man who can do this all day, has his back against the wall, it is just him and Thanos until he hears Falcon say “Cap, I’m on your left” which is another call back from Winter Soldier. When the rest of the heroes returned from the dead and did their hero pose on the battlefield, that’s when things got real. Captain America finally said the words that fans have been waiting for…. “Avengers.. Assemble”
A moment that felt overwhelmingly rewarding when I saw this movie the first time. This is a feat that a decade ago seemed impossible and for this
movie franchise to build up to this moment in time could not have been executed any better. Marvel Studios was able to project the imagination of every kid that plays with toys onto the silver screen. When the dust started to settle and the action sequences began to reach its conclusion, the man that kicked off the MCU was the one that ended up snapping to defeat Thanos. At the start of the film and at the end of the battle, Thanos stated that he was inevitable, and after snapping, Stark told Thanos, “I am Iron Man” which is a call back to the end of the first film in the MCU. This was the best way to kill the Iron Man character. Having Stark’s last words being a quip was a marvelous choice by the film’s editors and they deserve a huge raisethe film’s editors and they deserve a gigantic raise.
A masterclass in character development will be something that many will overlook about Endgame. Like the reactor he created in his first film, Tony’s character arc is one of a kind yet it might be the best character arc of any character over the course of multiple films. This 3 hour and two minute film wasn’t just about Tony, other characters have some type of closure to their character arc as well. Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow, War Machine (Don Cheadle), Nebula, Hawkeye and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) all have moments that further develop their character or complete their arc from previous films. The build-up from 21 other films is what makes Endgame such an enjoyable film and I cannot wait to see what’s next for these heros in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
[All Mames Wey]
Avengers: Endgame was released in theaters April 26, 2019