Well… This was quite an ending! Bigger, bolder and badder… This 3-hour monster was worth the wait and watch. Look, it’s hard not talking about it without NOT talking about it. So, seeing as how sensitive some of you are, I’m going to be as vague as I possibly can with this review. Not that I’ve ever spoiled anything, or would intend to do so, but you get the drift.
For starters, in my AGE OF ULTRON review I stated how MCU’s landscape had drastically changed. Compared to now, that’s way beyond an understatement. In that same review I mentioned how there would come a time when Marvel story-lines would get a lot more inclusive with its characters, there wouldn’t be a screen big enough to display all of them at once. And… compared to now, that too is way beyond an understatement. Fact is, so much has happened since May, 2008 when Marvel Studios began its journey with the release of IRON MAN. The film was a huge hit with fans and critics and would serve for years as the stepping-stone (no pun) from which Marvel Studios would harness and build an empire that’s produced many of the top-grossing films of all time. In the 11 years since the release of IRON MAN (prior to ENDGAME), Marvel Studios has opened a record-breaking 21 films at #1, with 6 grossing over a billion dollars, and from the looks of it (based on early ticket sales), the machine doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
ENDGAME has been the underlying cliffhanger movie that’s been eating at its fanbase for the last year. All the hoopla about the Infinity Stones has been the common denominator behind everything we’ve obsessively endured till INFINITY WAR. Assembling the greatest ensemble of superheroes was the job of directors Anthony and Joe Russo, who were tapped by Marvel Studios’ President, Kevin Feige to tackle the studio’s largest and possibly most intense masterpiece movie to date. Assembling a team that includes members from every MCU franchise, the Russo’s INFINITY WAR and ENDGAME exposes the Avengers at their very best and worst as a unit.
AVENGERS: ENDGAME picks up after INFINITY WAR, ANT-MAN AND THE WASP and CAPTAIN MARVEL with the Avengers having been soundly defeated by Thanos (Josh Brolin), who, after collecting the six Infinity Stones, imposed his menacing will on all of humanity and randomly wiped out half of the universe’s population, including many of the Avengers. In the aftermath of the destruction, the remaining Avengers are faced with their biggest challenge yet – finding the will to get themselves up and find a way to defeat Thanos once and for all.
That said… There aren’t enough words to describe the spectacle ENDGAME turned out to be. Truthfully, I wasn’t prepared for it. Visceral and brainy, most of the intensity is STILL generated and carried out by the story’s villain. (A fully-developed villain with method to his madness.) A villain who seemed to be diplomatic and respectful the first time around, is a complete monster in ENDGAME. A demigod with an attitude, Thanos pulls no punches in this one. A villain who till the release of IFINITY WAR has only been quickly touched upon in prior films, Thanos’ existence comes full circle in this one. A stand-out moment is a toe-to-toe throwdown with an Avenger that had the crowd gasping. A lot more menacing than Ultron, Loki and Killmonger together, Thanos’ overall agenda grants this Avengers film the ability to be three times darker in terms of tone and narrative compared to its predecessors.
On the flipside, the build-up to ENDGAME’s finale is one that exposes continuous growth among characters, and unlikely pairings among surviving Avengers (along a couple of newbies) who were fun to watch while working together. Some having more chemistry than others, the execution that goes into this epic plan to make things right doesn’t go with knowledge that trying to fix the past will affect the future. The now. Realtime. A risk that leads into what could be the best trip down memory lane during the second act of the film. Leading to some hard-to-swallow moments, the outcome obviously doesn’t go without uneven footing.
The Russo execution is one of which gives you A LOT to devour and digest as it boils down to its climactic battle. Not only does it follow up with prior films (hope you’ve been paying attention), it answers a couple of questions, but generates others. The film itself can be overwhelming. It’s a lot to digest considering some plot holes that erupt. Plot holes I hope Marvel fills up in the future. However, going from one scenario to the next, I advise keeping your ears and eyes open. But these scenarios pay off well. Once in gear, it’s an epic battle between good and evil with an edgier, darker, angrier build-up to an even harsher ending than we got with INFINITY WAR.
With so much emotion-tapping going on, screenwriters Chris Markus and Stephen McFeely don’t steer away from providing humor. Humor that’s appreciated at times, but may seem off in other times considering how much darker this movie is; but welcomed considering you’re all sucked up within the spectacle the film is as a whole. ENDGAME is a film that will need more than one viewing. It’s got it all: story, great action-sequences, outrageous battles, unforeseen twists, odd parings, courageous acts, and sadly… death! Look, I’ve been vague with this review but you can’t all be so naïve NOT to think some serious changes aren’t on the rise. Overall, it’s a piece with a lot of heart, attitude, and a radical push towards a new phase, making this the heaviest MCU flick to date. It doesn’t go without flaws, but it’s a satisfying end to an epic era.
Grade: A | Genre: Sci-Fi, Action-Adventure | Rated: PG-13 | Run Time: 3:00
Starring: Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, Don Cheadle as War Machine, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Danai Gurira as Okoye and Bradley Cooper as Rocket. Gwyneth Paltrow also returns as Pepper Potts, along with Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan, Benedict Wong as Wong and Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie. Josh Brolin also returns as the film’s infamous villain, Thanos.
Directed by: The Russo Brothers (Anthony and Joe)