I am the author of three middle-grade children's books, and I blog on the side. My favorite topics are movies, writing, and pop culture.
A Little Background
***Warning: Spoilers Ahead***
I’ve said in the past that despite being a superhero movie fan my entire life, it took me a long time to get on board the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Captain America: The First Avenger was the first film that struck a cord with me and got me exited for the first Avengers film before promptly falling flat again. Then, over time, I started to get more and more excited for each entry in the series. Not all of them struck gold for me, but those began to get fewer and fewer as time progressed.
Then, last year, all of the films culminated into Avengers: Infinity War, and I was psyched on hearing the rumors that so many characters were going to share the screen at one time and face the ultimate villain that the films had been teasing since 2012. And despite its devastating ending, I felt that familiar disappointment that it didn’t meet my expectations. Luckily, that didn’t kill my desire to see Endgame. I was reading the fan theories and wringing my hands with the rest of the diehard fans. Because deep down, I knew that the waiting would pay off. I just didn’t know how satisfying it would be.
When a franchise as massive as the Marvel Cinematic Universe has done so much right in their long and successful history, fans of every degree have learned to trust them with their precious material. So, when half of their characters turned to dust at the end of Infinity War, the response was proof of that trust, that like the title suggests, they would be avenged. It would just take one long year to see it happen. When it did, it would blow the already massive hype straight out of the water.
That trust is also why, despite numerous trailers leading up to it, they gave very little away in terms of the plot of Endgame. The cast members brought the same clip to every talk show, the Russo brothers begged everyone on social media not to spoil anything, and fans, for the most part, respected it. Everyone wanted to be surprised, and doing so put an enormous pressure on the filmmakers to not only fulfill expectations by catering to fan theories but by coming up with enough fresh and unexpected ideas to provide that surprise factor without bogging down the plot or characterization.
A Tightly Packed Story
It’s astounding what the script was able to accomplish. Having a full three hours to play definitely helped to give them room enough to split the film into three sections. The first hour is spent finding and killing Thanos, only to find that the stones were destroyed and that all hope is lost until Ant-Man pops up with a theory and access to the quantum realm. The second hour is made up of a scavenger hunt to find the stones and return to the future in order to snap everyone back into existence. The third hour is comprised of the Marvel battle to end all Marvel battles with room at the end to wrap up several characters’ storylines and stay goodbye to the MCU as we know it.
There’s something to be said about going out on top. So many franchises have worn out their welcome, squeezing the blood from a stone that runs dry way before they are able to wrap up. Critics, and even fans, have been wondering when time will be up for the superhero movie genre as a whole. It can only get so big before it implodes on itself, but what they don’t realize is the rock hard structure on which these MCU films rest.
The best of the genre always put emotion over spectacle (Civil War), they course correct when needed (Thor: Ragnorok), and they experiment with different genres to attract new audiences and keep things fresh (Spider-Man: Homecoming). Best of all, though, they follow a continuous story with relatively the same cast, choosing actors who come to play, to shape a character and not just pose in funny costumes, and who fit seamlessly with their costars, both in front of the camera and on the press junkets.
Cap ready to fight.
This film takes advantage of its long history and services its roots, not only be revisiting classic MCU scenes but by paying off years of build up for multiple characters in multiple moments. Most of these moments come in the final battle. Little nods such as Wasp’s look when she confirms, “We’re on it, Cap,” and Sam’s coming over the radio with an “on your left” says so much in so few words. Getting to see Pepper and Tony battle back-to-back in their Iron suits or watching Spider-Man catch a lift with Valkyrie are moments that you never expected to see while Cap wielding Thor’s hammer and Tony getting to save the literal universe with a snap and his famous last words, “I am Iron Man” are moments that you could only dream of.
While it is the most incredible sequence in the entire franchise, this film is not just worth seeing for its final battle. Even the quieter moments are intense. Every single character is damaged from the past five years, and it takes a lot to convince them all to team up again for the narrow chance of success. It takes that much pain to try something so reckless, especially to those characters who still have a lot to lose. The pain, anger, and isolation that each character is wrapped up in illustrates the family dynamic that they have built with one another. It’s not just about failing to save the universe but grieving over those who vanished and the survivors who can’t move on.
Time Travel Like We've Never Seen It
I have to admit, the time travel element did concern me. Afraid that it would reset the entire universe such as in X-Men: Days of Future Past, I was hoping that the film wouldn’t erase the events of the past 11 years. While some changes are bound to have occurred as a result of the second act events, it was a relief to not use the same tired premise of change the past, change the future. There is enough sacrificed in this film without having to sacrifice their entire history.
Starting from scratch would have been a potentially disastrous move in terms of the franchise’s future. It was not only a brave move but a clever one on the filmmakers’ parts. Like I said above, despite any plot holes or confusion that fans will pick apart for years to come, they make sure to cover all bases when crafting each story in the MCU, especially one so important to the franchise as a whole.
My Rare and Gushing Assessment
Even thought the ending is sad and dramatic, we know that the franchise will continue. The demand is still there, and the quality is still high. We also live in an age when we can revisit the other movies as often as we want. It's an advantage that few generations have had access to.
Yet, we're still sad because change is hard. What I took from this movie is that even with all of the problems in the world: overpopulation, violence, selfishness, we still prefer it to the world that the Avengers have to live in at the start of the movie. There is always a chance for things to get better as long as we have the people who give us purpose.
Endgame has shot off the charts as my favorite MCU movie of all time. It’s rare for me to come out of the theater singing nothing but praise for a movie. It usually takes me time to analyze every detail and let the movie as a whole sink in before I decide whether or not I like it. I loved the risks that they took, the major moments that they let happen so organically, the way they were able to give every character a moment to shine, whether large or small, and the slow but deserving ending that it gave to their most popular characters. I went in giddy with anticipation and came out bursting with devastated fulfillment.
What did you think of Avengers: Endgame? Take my poll, and leave a comment below!
LaZeric Freeman from Hammond on June 29, 2019:
There were women sobbing in the theater when at Tony's last scene ... Well, I think it was women.
Michelle Clairday from Arkansas on April 28, 2019:
It was a wonderful, heartbreaking ride. I agree with your review. You make an excellent point about X-Men. I am so glad they didn't cop out and taje that route. There's a reason Kevin Fiege is so successful. He is a risk taker.
Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on April 28, 2019:
Hey, Laura, I found Captain America very repulsive. I ask myself: how can a human being play such a role? James Bond seems right and okay. But the avenger or CA?