Certified critic on Rotten Tomatoes. Member of the Houston Film Critics Society. Also writes for Bounding Into Comics and GeeksHaveGame.
A Hail-Mary for Humanity
There are no end credits for Avengers: Endgame and honestly that’s for the best. Not only do you not have to sit through 10-15 minutes of credits, but it’s also a choice that allows the actions of the film to feel all the more final. President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige has stated that Spider-Man: Far From Home is actually the concluding chapter in phase three of the MCU. However, Avengers: Endgame still feels like the final bow. Teasing what lies ahead would take away from how significant Endgame is for the entire MCU.
About three weeks have passed since the events of Avengers: Infinity War and there is a sense of hopelessness from the start. The heroes that remain after the snap are utterly desperate and the scope of Thanos’ actions has begun to settle in. Half of life everywhere no longer exists and The Avengers still intend to change that, but good intentions only go so far even if they come with the, “whatever it takes,” tagline. There is an attempt to rebuild the lives that were shattered and move on from the ash that was previously their loved ones. While certain Avengers are able to convince others of doing this, they’re never fully able to do that themselves.
A plan is put together to gather the remaining Avengers and take one last shot at Thanos (Josh Brolin). Some Avengers have never stopped trying to pick up the pieces while searching for a way to make everything whole again while others have moved on and started the family they’ve always wanted or have become a version of themselves that is better than they ever could have imagined. The goal is to reclaim what they lost without losing what they’ve gained since the snap. The plan is outrageous from the start, but sometimes the most insane ideas are just crazy enough to work.
Don’t go into Endgame expecting another Infinity War. There’s more of a strategy to Endgame. This is about preparation; rallying the troops and making sure everything is just right before storming off into battle. That’s not to say Endgame doesn’t have epic battle sequences because it absolutely does but in a way the strategic aspects of Avengers: Endgame makes the film feel like chess while Avengers: Infinity War had defensive maneuvers, not unlike the game of Risk. Endgame is extremely dialogue-driven, so there’s a lot of discussing how they plan to do things before they actually do them. Character development is key to Endgame, as well.
Nearly everyone has changed since you last saw them. Ant-Man’s arrival in this film is his most emotionally impactful thus far and Paul Rudd’s best scenes in the MCU to date. Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) has a hell of a story arc here and you only wish you got to see more of him. The personal favorite is Thor (Chris Hemsworth) who has pretty much been on this incredible streak since Thor: Ragnarok. Thor’s developments over the course of this film continue to make the character amusing and awesome for the potential future. Thinking about it now, Nebula (Karen Gillan) has one of the coolest story arcs of any character in the MCU. She has been through so much since her introduction in Guardians of the Galaxy and she’s only become more intriguing since.
Without divulging too much, nearly everything that comes to mind that has been teased up until this point in a previous Marvel film (that’s MCU and not 20th Century Fox) is capitalized on in Avengers: Endgame. Everything comes full circle while little teases are scattered throughout Endgame’s three-hour runtime for potential MCU films on the horizon and even a few television series headed to the new Disney streaming service, Disney+. The film itself includes what is usually found in an after-credits sequence and honestly the weight of Endgame and the conclusive way it ends nearly outshines those little moments that are tucked away taking place away from Thanos, the gauntlet, and the possible revival or permanent resting place of half of existence. It’s something that dawns on you after you’ve seen the film and something to look out for on repeat viewings.
Avengers: Endgame is the culmination of 22 films and 11 years of character development, triumphs and tribulations, and sentimental odysseys of heroes, anti-heroes, and even villains we’ve all grown to love over more than a decade. Endgame is the introduction of what lies ahead while also waving goodbye to the familiarity of what to expect with a Marvel superhero film. Does this mean the MCU formula will finally change for good moving forward? Probably not, but we can hope; if we could just get a few villains that survive longer than one film that would be a decent start.
Avengers: Endgame is an emotionally satisfying, desolation-infused, nail-biting finale that delivers anything and everything fans have been craving since the MCU began. Some may prefer Avengers: Infinity War or Captain America: Civil War in comparison, but with this much buildup and so much success before the film even opens it’s difficult to argue with Avengers: Endgame being the reigning and undisputed champion of superhero films
© 2019 Chris Sawin
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Raziel Reaper from Hyrule on April 28, 2019:
Yeah, definitely. I think there are some issues with the plot, maybe the pacing too, several characters could have received better arcs, etc. But... I dunno, man. It's just so impressive in every single way. It's not a movie that's supposed to work, but it does! And it does so well. Even with some inconsistencies and other problems along the way, I think it is a new pinnacle for movies in every way; relatively coherent plot with dozens upon dozens of characters as well as decades of materials and legacy, a visual spectacle like no one else, and a movie of such scope that was simply unheard of before.
Chris Sawin (author) from Houston, TX on April 28, 2019:
Agree on all accounts. It's weird, I didn't notice many flaws from a personal standpoint the first time. I'm wondering if I'll have any critiques in repeat viewings.
Raziel Reaper from Hyrule on April 27, 2019:
I cannot express how much I enjoyed this movie. What a magnificent achievement it is for cinema, regardless of its flaws. The MCU is such a special part of the current film and even wider entertainment industry, and this movie gave the franchise both a proper send-off for its decade-worth saga, and a solid jumping start for a new wave of stories.
Chris Sawin (author) from Houston, TX on April 27, 2019:
Well said. I didn't have a problem with the first hour during my first viewing. I'm seeing it again Tuesday though since my wife hasn't seen it yet. I had very little to criticize, but we'll see if that changes.
Saw it on the 25th on April 27, 2019:
Bought the tickets on Fandango the day they made them available and had the best seats in the theatre.
There was not an empty seat in the theatre, and where I live is nothing close to a city or heavy populated area.
Its a three hour movie, and despite being a fan, that first hour dragged, felt choppy, and even a couple scenes were forced and unneeded (Caps meeting with the boys to talk about handling the loss was the biggest of them, but I guess Russo having his cameo meant that much to him).
After that, it was easy to get lost in the movie, enjoy it, laugh, be surprised, be wowed, and feel sad at the moments that brought a finality to certain heroes' story arcs.
For some of the actors, they have been playing these characters for 10 years or more, and this really was 'End Game' … Marvel movies will continue, but their stories come to an end.
One day, I will sit down and watch all the Avengers movies in order (throwing Captain America: Winter Soldier and Civil War in with them as they tie in and push the Avengers storyline more than other solo movies do, might even throw GoG in there for good measure) and be blown away with the effort that went in to telling this story, and how well it was done.
There were a lot of cheers, moments of laughter, and crying in the theatre... it was a full house, this is the movie event of the year without exception.