WARNING: This piece contains heavy spoilers for AVENGERS: ENDGAME. If you don’t want to be spoiled, DO NOT READ THIS UNTIL YOU’VE SEEN THE FILM!
Having been forewarned, and accepting the conditions above for continuing to read this piece, welcome to it.
This has to be one of the most WTF rides I’ve been on, thus far, in the MCU. Thankfully, it’ll be my last as it pretty much ends the entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe for me. Avengers Endgame is the capstone to the entire run of movies up until now. From the first Iron Man to Captain Marvel, it’s been a decent run with some shaky and dodgy films along the way. However, Endgame sums it all up pretty nicely, and also doesn’t quite go over the social justice edge that it threatened to.
Going in, I had my reservations. Full knowing where Kevin Feige wants to take the MCU moving forward, I went into this prepared for the worst. Brie Larson and Chris Evans’ marketing ploys and vastly negative comments notwithstanding, I expected nothing less than a dumpster fire burning with green plasma from a breached warp core. I avoided all of the reviews from the best channels in the fandom, and now that I’ve seen it… well, I could put down my pitchfork and flaming torch with ease.
This movie’s run time was just shy of three hours. Filmmakers take note: this is how you do a three hour movie and hold the interest of the audience. There was no need for an intermission, nothing was too slow, nor eye-twitching. In fact, I was quite satisfied with the overall outcome of the movie.
The film had three basic plots to it. A plot: Take out Thanos (Josh Brolin). B plot: Get the infinity stones from the past. C plot: Take out Thanos… again. There were some bumps and temporal bruises along the way, but I’ll get into those in a moment.
For those of you who were hoping that Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) would get the kill shot, sorry to disappoint: she doesn’t. In neither the A nor C plots does she even come close. In fact, in both instances, Carol Danverse gets used as the wax to the tile floor as Thanos lets her get a few shots in before he wipes the floor with said wax. In the instance of the C plot resolution, it would seem that Thanos takes quite a beating from Captain Marvel, but lo and behold, he walks it off like someone walking out of a horrific car wreck after wearing their seat belt.
No, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Iron Man (fittingly for the latter) get the kills, with Thor pulling off a Mortal Kombat fatality on Thanos to end the A plot right then and there. After Thanos’s head rolls, we spend the rest of the transition into the B plot with our surviving heroes trying to convince Tony Stark (Robert Downy, Jr) to go along with their mad plan. We see that Tony has settled down with Pepper Potts (Gweneth Paltrow) and are raising a daughter together. So of course, Tony has everything to lose by correcting the timeline.
With a little bit of confusing temporal goboldy gook from Dr. Hulk Banner (CG’d Mark Ruffalo), we are introduced to the MacGuffin – in the form of the entire character of Ant-Man (Paul Rudd). With some comedic back and forth between Hulk, Ant-Man and Captain America (Chris Evans), we see that time travel is a very fickle science.
Meanwhile, back at the Stark ranch, we have a tender moment between Pepper and Tony. With Tony’s mind fully focused on the challenge, Pepper gives him a little encouragement to head to Avengers HQ and help Hulk out, which he does.
In a moment straight out of STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, Tony gives Hulk the missing element to fix the time machine and the B plot can move forward (referencing the scene where Spock came aboard the Enterprise after a warp drive malfunction to introduce a critical mathematical element to fix it). This is where the white Avengers uniforms were explained: Avengers variations of the Ant-Man suit so the Avengers can go quantum and pull off some time travel.
In the past, we are confronted with a multi-prong story which sees our heroes having to jump through some hoops and challenges in order to get the infinity stones for the new gauntlet. It’s here we say goodbye to Black Widow (Scarlet Johannson) as she exchanges her soul for the soul stone.
There are some elements I’m not going to comment on because this thing is long enough.
Back in the present, through some switcharoo magic with certain characters, Thanos busts into the present, destroys Avengers HQ and a Game of Thrones style battle ensues (comparing this to, as of the date of this writing, the 8th season battle of GoT, Avengers did this 100% right!), after Hulk gets the gauntlet on and has his own snap – undoing Thanos’ snap from Avengers Infinity War.
It’s a slightly delayed reaction but Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) gets a call from his family, brought back by the Hulk snap. Before he could enjoy it, Thanos takes out HQ and the poo hits the fan.
The return of those who were undone in the snap is a bit delayed, but they appear in the nick of time. All of our favorite heroes return to kick some serious bad guy ass, but Thanos is just too much for them all. He brings his alien fleet down to finish the job.
A severely injured Tony Stark has other plans as he gets the stones onto his own gauntlet and snaps Thanos and his minions out of existence – shortly before his death.
After Tony’s funeral, Captain America goes back in time to return the stones. As Hulk says, Cap will take all the time he needs to get the job done but only five seconds will pass for us in the present. He was right but those five seconds passed in a completely different way.
Five seconds later, we spot Cap sitting by a lakeside on a bench, in his 80’s or 90’s. He carried out the mission but in the 1950’s he married Peggy Carter and was a widower when we see him again in the present.
Roll credits, but we are treated to another STAR TREK-inspired sequence. Autographs of the main character actors appear over a photographic montage and an epic orchestral of the Avengers theme (STAR TREK VI: THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY and the closing credits from that movie is the reference here). It’s a very beautiful sendoff to the MCU, as I feel Disney knows they’re about to lose a great deal of their fanbase moving forward.
Avengers Endgame was not as I had feared. There were “woke” elements to the film, including the feminist heroes gathering during the final battle. But, nothing was over the top political here. Chris Evans’ comments regarding half of the fanbase notwithstanding, he was good in this film. I also like how Carol Danverse was all arrogant, “Because…you didn’t have me.” Then, going up against Thanos, she gets pasted.
Served her right. The beating she took didn’t even soften up Thanos, much to the relief of many (including the story). As far as I’m concerned, Brie Larson’s involvement with this story was fair. She did come in at the end to be the “greatest evar,” but then Thanos (again) beat the piss out of her, which made the ending more fitting. Thanos was so strong that it took a snap to defeat him (RIP Tony Stark).
In the end, Avengers Endgame is the perfect ending to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yes, there will be a next phase, but I will only be watching with extreme prejudice. I will probably read the spoilers/see spoiler reviews of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 before going to see it, and Spiderman Far from Home. Other than that, the MCU saga has been completed and I am very satisfied with this ending.
Even my six year-old son sat through the second half of the movie with me and he loved it as well.
The movie gets 3.5 out of 5 score. The temporal mechanics were garbage (Nebula NOT dying when she kills her younger self, the snap not being undone when the infinity stones were removed from the timeline, etc.), but the story was well told.
Avengers Endgame is directed by the Russo Brothers, starring Robert Downy, Jr, Chris Evans, Scarlet Johannson et’al, and is currently playing in theaters worldwide. Produced by Kevin Feige under the Marvel Studios banner, distributed by Walt Disney Corporation. Check your local listings for feature times.