11 years is all it took for Marvel and the superhero genre to completely change our entire outlook on not just blockbuster films, but the culture of cinema in general. Expectation was never a powerful tool as it is today, it had its moments but now every film wants to ride its wave. Some have fallen into expectations wake, but the MCU’s balance of expectation has been consistent. And with the culmination of everything that has come before, Avengers Endgame is a send-off with fan satisfaction being the highest of its priorities that wraps up 11 years in a few surprising ways.
Avengers Endgame acts like two films, the latter of which is your traditional superhero genre combined with epic film elements. The first half is very character central often focusing on how the sorrowing events of Infinity War have affected their lives. I was relieved that it also branched out to a worldwide perspective, this is not a tunnel vision look into ‘The Snap’, in the world of the film, it was a universal event and I’m glad that the film took the time to tell you pieces of information about how people have come to comprehend what happened. The second half is a very action-packed affair that includes the ever-improving quality of special effects. The fighting sequences are entertaining, they are probably the most emotional fighting sequences we’ve had in an MCU film thanks to the first act. We know what the characters have lost, we understand how they’ve coped with that loss and losses in the past, so the action felt like the stakes were heavy not just for story but character as well.
There were a lot of surprising, new character threads being sewn on. The two characters I was most surprised by were Hawkeye and Thor who both took equally unique and extreme changes which I won’t spoil here. Even though you’ve been invested in these characters for a long time, Endgame has proven that the creative minds of the Russo brothers still have one or two tricks up their sleeves. The Russo’s exploration of grief is a blend of solemn wittiness, even in the film’s darkest moment, it can still find a way to crack a joke that creates big laughter. The lightness that has become more apparent in the MCU is used masterfully; you can clearly see why other superhero franchises want to replicate this.
So it is at this point where I have to look at a plot device that I have a very strong 50/50 opinion. This major plot device averages out in most films and it does so here, but one slip up, and the house comes crumbling down so to speak. As soon as the words were spoken, I was put on red alert because I was reminded of all the ways how something like this can wreck a narrative, and having to come off the back of everything that had come before, the stakes to get this right was exceptionally high. I still believe that this device is quite lazy, but I could tell through its usage that the Russo’s have taken extreme precautions to assure that it is done with the utmost care. In a way, it tries to turn the disadvantages into advantages.
Avengers Endgame was so, so close to becoming the perfect send-off for Marvel fans. The fan satisfaction will still be through the roof, but with an abundance of characters and star power to juggle around, there are some who get preferential treatment over others. Hawkeye as previously mentioned is one of such characters alongside Nebula (Karen Gillan) and War Machine (Don Cheadle), whereas characters who we were really looking forward to learning more about like Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) are left in the dust (no pun intended). The point is as much as the characters felt more human than they ever have done, however, I felt some were more human than some, the rest felt too traditional to the genre.
Speaking of traditional, and I’m sorry to say this because it was the biggest part of me liking Infinity War, Thanos disappointed me. In Infinity War he was a motivated villain, you understood why he felt the need to wipe out half the universe because of what he experienced. In Endgame, he felt too safe, too typical when they should have taken even bigger steps to explore the aftermath he caused, what that did to him psychologically.
Although technically the MCU is going to continue, Endgame is an “end of an era” type ordeal, I was debating whether It was going to reach the point where they would pass the torch onto a new generation of MCU fans. It certainly gave that impression but never followed through with it. There are now 22 films in what is essentially an epic saga, you’d think there would be an “out with the old an in with the new” feeling by the end. Endgame was the opportune moment and the film didn’t take it.
Endgame is essentially a passionately written love letter and thank you note to followers of the MCU and to those fans their passion and commitment to this film franchise will be handsomely rewarded. Overall, I would say that Infinity War was more consistent than Endgame, but the surprises were more subtle. Fans and critics will have a big grin on their faces once the credits roll on a highly successful and profitable franchise, but one man up in heaven will have the biggest grin of all. Excelsior!
Final Result: 8/10 – Very Good
Have you seen Avengers: Endgame? What did you think? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.
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