This review was inevitable. On the way to being the highest grossing film ever made, the arrival of Thanos is sending the world wild. Does Avengers: Endgame live up to the hype? Here’s my spoiler review for Avengers: Endgame.
It’s been a little while! I was tossing up between doing this one and writing about some of our great experiences across New Zealand last year for all the travel bloggers out there, but having just seen the movie for the second time with the in-laws last night, I thought it would be worth doing a review of Avengers: Endgame. The New Zealand one will be coming soon!
Now that the movie has been out for a few weeks, I feel safer putting up an actual review and going into spoilers, because as you would know, you can’t even make it 20 minutes into the movie without substantial spoilers. So, you’ve been warned. Don’t keep reading if you haven’t seen the movie. You don’t want to ruin the experience by reading a spoiler review for Avengers: Endgame too early. Skip out on this one and come back once you’ve seen it. Here’s something non-spoilery before you go: it’s worth it.
I’m not really a comic book nerd. I read a few X-Men comics in my Grade 6 classroom about Onslaught, born from the fusion of Professor Xavier and Magneto with Juggernaut’s crystal that I always remember. Most of my Marvel knowledge comes from the 90s Spiderman and X-Men cartoons, as well as various video games, especially the Marvel Vs. series (with Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 being the crowning achievement). I’ve definitely enjoyed most of the Marvel movies to come out, too, and I’ve caught up on basic comic storylines on Youtube via Comics Explained and the Comicstorian. So I’d probably be a midrange fan when it comes to the material. No cosplay from me or complaining that the films don’t match issue 63 or 68 of the issues from the 2000s, for which I think the world will remain grateful. I just go to movies like this to enjoy it, to let it happen, and to take it all in.
I’m not sure if this one dethrones my favourite comic book movie, but wow, it sure does do a great job. It’s very rare to have a series where the 22nd one is any good, but they may have saved the best til last.
Are the no spoilers people gone yet? Good. Because 20 minutes into the movie…
An abrupt start
…Thanos is killed. A truly menacing villain, Thanos is literally living out his retirement plan following the events of Infinity War, when Captain Marvel assists the remaining Avengers in finding Thanos in space, with Thor going for the head. Thanos had already destroyed the Infinity Stones, content in accomplishing his life goal of universal balance, so the resurrection plan was not looking likely. I turned to my wife when we saw it for the first time and asked, “What’s the movie going to be about now?”. At this point, any expectations you may have had have been thrown up in the air, and I thought this was a great way to start the movie. I think this decision made the movie a blank canvas on anyone’s expectations and added to the overall enjoyment of the movie.
The movie then jumps five years into the future, where everyone is still in mourning over the great loss across the galaxy. It’s a sombre tone, garbage trucks have stopped running, crime is still running rampant, and Black Widow and Cap America in particular are struggling to let go. It was interesting to see the comment that there were actually some benefits to Thanos’ plan, with whales now being able to swim up the Hudson River. Even so, you get the idea that no one is happy with what’s happened.
Except Tony Stark, who’s finally had the long awaiting child with Pepper, and locked in his commitment with his new family.
The time skip was a really effective tool for adding a finality to what Thanos did in the previous movie. I’m really glad it was there because I think to just reverse it so easily would have ruined repeat watchings of Infinity War, which is an excellent movie in its own right.
This movie was fan service galore, and I think it was a great thing the film producers knew that was what people wanted. You had Professor Hulk, you had the return of Korg after his failed revolution and survival of the culling of Asgard, you had Captain America wielding Thor’s hammer and being worthy, you had most of the heroes and villains making their eventual return in one of the largest end fight scenes ever put together, and a gift wrapped love letter to every Marvel movie released to date. Hope you were paying attention during the other 22 films (or at least most of them… Hail Hydra), because this movie did nothing to explain who anyone was or what had happened previously. In doing so, fans of the MCU were able to be much more rewarded, but sorry to anyone who hadn’t seen any of the previous films.
I was hoping to see some of the X-Men or even an allusion to them, but as Wong put it after Doctor Strange was asking if that was everyone, “You want more?”. Guess we’ll see if the Avengers turn up in Dark Phoenix to set up the Secret Wars.
Not to mention, all the acting here was stellar. How far comic book movies have come.
I think my favourite part of the movie came during the final fight scene, when all the female Avengers (except Black Widow) come together to launch an all-out and mostly successful assault against Thanos. Scarlet Witch, Pepper Potts as Rescue, the ladies of Black Panther, Gamora, Nebula, The Wasp, Valkyrie, Captain Marvel, and hopefully I haven’t forgotten anyone else, all storm ahead to re-capture the Infinity Gauntlet and take it to the Mad Titan. I know a lot of stupid men online are complaining about this moment furthering this feminist agenda, but as a man myself, I have to say that’s completely ridiculous and this moment was amazing. The guys all get heaps of their own time, with Cap, Thor, and Tony all getting some great action in for the start of the fight, and the women have definitely earned their time to shine. Well done to all involved on making this happen. I don’t think there’s a scene like it in any movie. I always love seeing women support each other, and so it was only natural that I was stoked to see these doing the same.
Standouts would be Scarlet Witch having one of the best exchanges of the whole movie –
Wanda: You took everything from me
Thanos: I don’t even know you
Wanda: You will
And also to Captain Marvel’s clash with Thanos, with his headbutt just bouncing off her face. It took a full on Falcon Punch from the Power Stone to knock her back, but this takes nothing away from this moment.
Speaking of Thanos, what an absolutely menacing setup he was given in this movie. When they go back in time to the events of Guardians of the Galaxy, Thanos learns of his success in the future, and his eventual demise. He then returns to that future to not just try to wipe out half of life, but this time all of it, and because he was successful in the last movie, you actually had a tangible sense of dread and threat once he had purposed to remake the universe. He did it before, he could do it again. The moment he discovers the new future was when everyone’s tension levels rose back up to the top, ready for whatever he had in store next. Fantastic twist to keep this villain in the picture and maintain the sense of threat.
Josh Brolin did an absolutely fantastic job in bringing this character to life, and the film producers made him look like an absolute boss in the final fight, whilst also somehow giving everyone else enough of a time to shine. Forget Vibranium, they should have been making stuff out of the same material as that sword of his that was able to cut almost everyone down to size, including Cap’s shield in seconds. I was expecting Nebula to be the one to finally defeat him based on the comic, but Tony doing so made the most sense. And even in defeat, he sat there and took it like a man, accepting what had happened.
Thanos could be the best realized big bad in a film ever. The most comparable I would have for him would be Ganondorf in Ocarina of Time, another villain who successfully achieved what he wanted, making the final confrontation all the more weighty and consequential. As Thanos turned to dust at the end, a little kid in our first session yelled out “Yesssssssssssssssssssssss”. Internally, I also let out a “Yessss”, but a yes of “well done, movie, for what you did with that character”.
Although not really a major character in this one as much as the original six Avengers, I feel like Bradley Cooper’s Rocket was so well acted that I think he would be the MVP for the good guys for me. He somehow could be charming and sarcastic throughout all his delivery and felt absolutely real. Standout moment was when Antman was getting all excited learning about the Infinity Stones, and Rocket compares him to a puppy. Still really great and sincere.
If you’ve read my blog, you know I love big themes and realism in my movies, and I thought the story arc of Thor was a powerful picture of what happens to a lot of people. When loss is too great and a sense of failure is all pervasive, we shrink back. It was played to comic effect (and I loved that he retained his Thor: Ragnarok personality) but it was a real picture of where many of us get stuck. Great loss mixed with even the greatest of success can still leave us feeling inadequate and remorseful. I’ve seen that happen in the lives of many people and I think it’s a more relatable outcome than most people would admit. I loved how even though he felt that way, he probably demonstrated what moving on meant the most, and also bonus points for being the one to defeat Thanos Version 1.
Looking forward to (hopefully) seeing him in the next Guardians movie with the Asgardians of the Galaxy.
This far in and I haven’t even gotten to the time travel! This seems to be the point where most people got stuck in believability. I had no problem with it or the time travel rules, mainly because they just use the time travel rules from Dragon Ball, where time travel creates alternative realities rather than reshaping the main one. I was just waiting for Future Trunks to drop in and warn the Avengers about Androids 17 and 18, and Zamasu.
The Russo Brothers also confirmed Cap returned to the original timeline for the final goodbye, so Internet, please stop plotholing a great movie.
The most expensive scene ever
The funeral at the end had so many massive actors in it, I can’t believe they could actually afford it. Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfieffer, Evangeline Lilly, Samuel Jackson, Jon Favreau, Gwynetthe Paltrow, in addition to all the Guardians, the crew of Black Panther, and all the Avengers who were still alive, it was something you would only see in a shot at the Oscars with everyone sitting down. Even seeing people like Natalie Portman and Robert Redford return for roles shows just how committed so many people were to making this movie happen. Too bad Hugo Weaving didn’t want to be Red Skull again but his replacement more than holds the role.
Finality and multiverses
It was nice to see a comic book movie with an ending. Cap got the girl after living his life solely for others, Iron Man made the sacrifice that showed how much he grew as a man, people paid the ultimate price and didn’t come back, and everyone’s got a future to move forward into. The post-Endgame trailer for the new Spiderman movie has shown us where Marvel is going next with the Marvel multiverse, which will open a whole realm of possibilities. Guess we’ll see what happens in that one and on the many series starting on Disney+, including our new Cap in Sam and the adventures of Loki.
It also wrapped up with one of what will undoubtedly become one of the most well known movie lines of all time: “I love you 3000”.
Overall, this was a very satisfying movie. I’m looking forward to watching Infinity War back to back with Endgame when it gets a home release because it feels like they probably should be watched like that for maximum effect.
So there’s my spoiler review of Avengers: Endgame. I really hope if you read this that you’ve seen the movie, because I think you would have been robbing yourself greatly by exposing yourself to spoilers.
What did you think of the movie?