Before this review gets started, I’ll say that this review, like all of my others, contains NO SPOILERS, so read away with no worries of ruining the story. These are merely my lasting impressions.
About a month ago, I wrote a pretty negative review about Captain Marvel. One of the biggest takeaways from this review was that I began to feel as if I was suffering from “Marvel Fatigue”. That is to say, I felt as if there were more Marvel movies being produced than I cared to enjoy. The majority of them were only entertaining at best, but did nothing in terms of great filmmaking. They were largely ‘popcorn films’ – something you can sit down and watch, and know you’ll have a good time watching it, even though it’s not anything groundbreaking. They all followed the same basic format, and utterly, it grew quite old to me.
That is, with one exception: ‘Avengers: Infinity War’. Infinity War to me was the piéce de rèsistance of the MCU. I find myself still watching that movie over and over again, whereas I’ve still only seen most other Marvel movies one time. But I digress – point of the story is that to me, Infinity War was the climax of the series, and left me incredibly excited for Endgame. Captain Marvel just simply didn’t deliver on what I wanted from the MCU.
THE NEW PIÈCE DE RÉSISTANCE.
Avengers: Endgame is truly the thrilling conclusion we all signed up for back in 2008. None of us knew it back then, but this is what we were waiting for. I’ll actually keep my descriptions of it more brief than usual, since I know spoiling anything in the MCU – let alone a proper Avengers title – is basically a death sentence.
I was ultimately left speechless by this movie. Where the MCU typically left me wanting more – wishing that the stories would be developed deeper, that there was more of a richness or diversity to the arcs we saw – Endgame fulfilled tenfold.It truly was the Super Bowl of the MCU, the great single climax we’ve all been waiting for.
In my initial draft of this review, I listed my only ‘con’ as the runtime. I mentioned that at times, even though I wasn’t bored, I was wondering if this runtime was truly necessary. Now that I’ve had more time to think about it – yes, it absolutely was. Every aspect of this film was necessary, and the runtime was definitely a key player. I might even be able to say I find no ‘con’ in this movie,which is not an honor I throw around very lightly, and certainly not for a movie in the MCU.
There are moments that feel the same as when we first saw The Avengers in 2012, with all the giddy joy of seeing them come together on screen for the first time. There are moments that feel the same as Thor: Ragnarok, which was notable for its lighthearted fare and comedy throughout. And there are some moments that feel the same as Infinity War, with all of the depressing realism of coming to terms with the fact that you can’t win every fight.
If you enter Endgame seeking an end to the arc we began in Infinity War, you will find it. If you enter seeking a newer, bolder story, you will find it. If you enter wishing to reminisce on the nostalgia of all of your favorite Marvel characters, you can do so.It really is a cinematic spectacle the likes of which has never happened before, and might never happen again.
The most I’ll give away is this: pay attention to the score. It can often be overlooked in action movies, but I thought the soundtrack of Endgame was masterful. When utilized fully, the soundtrack can be the biggest single tool in the directors’ arsenal to help tell a story and create their masterpiece – Endgame definitely does this. There are actually a few times in this movie where the score is a big focus, and I don’t recall that being as much of an emotional moment at any other time in the MCU.
Now, while I did absolutely love this movie, I don’t think it’s the most amazing movie I’ve seen. I think initially I would be quite hesitant to put it at the same level as some of my favorite movies – The Favourite (2018), Birdman (2014), La La Land (2016), etc. But I also don’t think that’s what it was trying to be. It wasn’t your typical Oscar-nominated spectacle-of-theatre that you know will be looked back on as a classic. Or was it?
The performances were great. Robert Downey Jr. brought new depth to his role in this film alone unlike anything we’ve seen. And he’s not alone. Hemsworth, Evans, Ruffalo, the whole team were at an elevated level of performance. The storytelling was great. The music was great. The visual depth and experience were great. It’s not your typical Oscar selection, but I think it certainly manages to prove its worthiness as one.
What it did do was subvert every expectation I had of what an action movie could be. 11 years ago, I never thought I would care about what Thanos did, or who War Machine was. But Kevin Feige and the entire Marvel team have crafted a cultural moment unlike any other. I’ll be the first to say I haven’t enjoyed every stop along the way – like I said earlier, I got bored. Retaining the audience’s attention for this long was surely a daunting task, and it wasn’t always a successful one for me. Regardless, time after time, I showed up. And I’m very glad I did.
Endgame manages to do something right in the MCU. That is to say, it takes every boring and action-heavy flick in its roster and kicks them to the curb. Every low moment of the MCU we slogged through for the past 11 years was worth it for seeing the Avengers come to life on screen one last time in Endgame. Whatever it takes.
As a funny bonus, this movie was so engaging that my heart rate went a little crazy.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
To say that Endgame is a great movie is actually kind of difficult. First a different question must be answered; Is it truly great, or is it great only built off the success of the 22-film MCU?
I’m a big fan of Harry Potter. And I think that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is a good movie, and ended the series off in a way that I was fine with. But you certainly could not watch ONLY Deathly Hallows Part 2. I think you might be able to watch ONLY Endgame (if you somehow hadn’t seen anything else in the MCU).
Really, I don’t think I can answer that original question. In fact I would be hard-pressed to find anyone who actually could. It seems as though the entire world has seen at least most of these movies, so it would be very difficult to find someone who will watch Endgame with absolutely zero prior knowledge. So I think that invalidates the question. To ask if Endgame is good is to, by association, assume whomever you’re asking has prior knowledge already. And that actually makes this easier to talk about.
Endgame is a great movie. It certainly doesn’t make any groundbreaking leaps or bounds in terms of cinematic filmmaking. But it does completely change film history. Never before have 22 films culminated to one thrilling, rollercoaster of a conclusion. And I think something like this may never happen again, or at least, I hope it doesn’t.
While I definitely enjoyed this wild 11 year ride, I’m ready for it to end. In a perfect world, this would be the end of the MCU, and we would be able to look back fondly on this crazy journey and reminisce the time of year a new Marvel movie would come out. Unfortunately, I know it doesn’t end here. They’ve already announced films like Spiderman: Far From Home, and Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3, and who knows what else is in the works.
But if I’m being honest, after Endgame, I’m actually looking forward to whatever happens next. I’m ready for it to end, but something about the masterminds at Marvel Studios has left me curious about where we go from here. So the MCU shall continue, seemingly endlessly into the horizon, as new stories are told and new heroes are born. But for now, Endgame signifies a brief moment of rest. I no longer know what the future of the MCU holds, but I’m ready for a whole new adventure to begin.