Avengers Endgame is the final film in the Avenger’s franchise, and because this review is spoiler-free, that’s all I can say about the trajectory of at least this segment of Marvel’s movie properties. So no, I’m not going predict what I think will come next movie-wise, but methinks anyone with an IMBD.com penchant can figure that out themselves.
Yes, I enjoyed the film. Immensely. This comes from someone who is neither a comic book nerd nor even much of a film geek. What qualifies as a good movie for me is a simple rubric: did I find it entertaining, is the story at least decent, is the writing good, are the characters well-developed or at least relatable? My answer to all questions is yes.
Before I forget, there is NO post-credits scene in Avenger’s Endgame. I waited with a few dozen other people for all the credits to roll thinking there may be a nugget of some kind, as is the Marvel way, but there was nothing. So unless you want to keep your numb tushie plastered to the seat for an additional ten minutes, there’s no need to stick around.
Fears this movie is somehow leftist or social justice propaganda are unfounded. In fact, one could argue the villain, Thanos, is the most leftist component of the film. As spelled out in Avengers Infinity War, Thanos seeks the betterment of the universe through population culling, extinguishing half of Earth’s populace “in order to save” Earth. Which sounds an awful lot like a diehard environmentalist calling for population control and abortion. The Avengers lost to Thanos in Infinity War and hope to undo what was done by Thanos in Endgame. So if you’re really determined to view Endgame as some kind of propaganda wing of Disney’s Marvel, sorry. I didn’t see it. The good guys are fighting an environmentalist. There’s your angle.
Actually, the film will do you one better.
One overarching theme of Endgame is the importance of family, how crucial it is to our humanity, and what good men and women will do to ensure the protection and propagation of families. The film takes quite a literal stand here: from the opening to the final scenes, love of family is what motivates our heroes. Every single one of them. So again I say, if you’re thinking (or maybe in some cases, hoping) Endgame is leftist propaganda, no.
Without going into specific plot points (no spoilers, I promise), the story was compelling if not a little predictable in following tropes of films past, which Endgame kind of excuses during a brief character exchange wherein they reference other popular films to bolster their plan. The same kinds of films from which Endgame borrows its main plot device. How’s that for vaguely specific?
Knowing the film followed a common science fiction trope, Avengers Endgame did throw in some creative twists to heighten suspense and throw the characters some curves. God I wish I could be more specific. You see what I’m doing for you people?
But remember, we’re talking about a comic book movie here, not Citizen Kane. Predictability is somewhat expected. Endgame is not Inception. Your mind will not be blown, there is no clever sleight of hand, no giant plot twist that’s going to leave you guessing.
Avengers Infinity War was packed with clever dialogue and plenty of laughs, epitomized in exchanges between the Chrises, Hemsworth and Pratt. Endgame has more feeling, less funny, but that isn’t to say it lacked comedic moments. It had them, but the film was trying to be more serious as it dealt with the loss of half of Earth.
If anything, I think the film suffered a few places in trying to make us feel more than we needed to. Yes, Thanos won. We saw that in Infinity War. But in a few spots of Endgame, characters kept reminding us how much they lost. It felt redundant and only slowed the film. Considering Endgame has a run of over 3 hours, I think more judicious editing could’ve been exercised in some of these “We’re very sad and mourning the loss of our people” scenes buffered at the beginning of the film.
Now, the characters themselves. Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel was flat and boring. I say that not as someone who simply dislikes Larson because she’s an insufferable B, but because the character of Carol Danvers was flat. She received zero applause in my theatre filled with mostly fanbois. Not to worry, though, Captain Marvel’s screen time wasn’t high. So if you’re avoiding Endgame in order to boycott Brie, I think you’d be better served to just avoid Captain Marvel. The movie mostly revolved around the character arcs of the original Avengers: Hawkeye, Black Widow, Hulk, Thor, Captain America and Iron Man.
While Hawkeye was featured more in this film than in previous movies, his storyline is hardly fresh. Sure, we see more of his personal side, but I think his character suffers a little too much from common tropes.
We see slightly more emotion from Black Widow, who recognizes the Avengers are her family, and while I found her storyline somewhat satisfying, her personal growth throughout the entire franchise was less dramatic than say, Iron Man.
The character of The Hulk did evolve a bit, but his storyline wasn’t much of a focus so much as a footnote explained in a couple of lines. Which is pretty much all I can say without spoilers, sorry.
Thor, similarly, falls into somewhat of a predictable storyline, but the writers took some fun in turning Thor’s situation into comedic fare, physically transforming him into something he’s never been before: mortal and below average. The move pays off, as Thor’s personal struggles don’t feel so heavy as they do provide laughs.
Captain America always does the right thing. He always has done the right thing. And he continues doing the right thing up until the very end of his role in the film. For which I think he deserves some credit: I’d argue Thanos was nearly defeated in Infinity War in a fight with Spiderman, Iron Man and Doctor Strange, only for the plan to unravel because Chris Pratt’s Starlord couldn’t wait five seconds to be an emotional, vengeful dick.
No spoilers still, but Iron Man by far had the greatest character growth throughout the franchise, and Avengers Endgame is mostly Iron Man’s story. Make that Tony Stark’s story. Where once a rich playboy obsessed with big toys, collecting stuff he didn’t need, and spiffy gear, in Endgame we saw a more vulnerable, moral Tony Stark without the suit. Yes, Tony was a little more muted with the one-liner quips, but still felt very much like the Tony Stark we’ve come to love.
Here’s the ending sum up without giving anything away: if you’re a fan of these movies, you’ll like this one. If you simply watch the comic book movies for light entertainment fare, you’ll enjoy this movie. If you’re hoping for some great catharsis and having your world changed, go see an indy film. If you’re looking for a movie you can love to hate in order to own the libs from your car, best of luck but this movie still isn’t for you. Endgame is a big tent film with a broad appeal and delivers. It’s a fun, visually delightful, not overly dramatic, not terribly complicated, colorful film. And if you’re fine with a movie being just those things, you’ll enjoy Endgame.