Spoilers for ‘Avengers: Endgame’ included.
‘Avengers: Endgame,’ marks the 23rd and most ambitious movie of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (M.C.U.) so far. Most fans, having witnessed the shocking twists in ‘Infinity War,’ went into the film having a general understanding of how the story would end but were unclear about the path it would traverse. After the death of many of the Avengers’ most up and coming members, most notably the heroes Black Panther and Spider-Man in ‘Infinity War’, it fell to the original six Avengers (Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, Hulk, and Hawkeye) to defeat the villain Thanos and restore the lives of those who had perished.
Though the plot was largely predictable, as many viewers were expecting the revival of the characters killed by the ‘snap’ in ‘Infinity War’, ‘Endgame’ did a good job of adding twists that most audience members did not see coming, and creating a moviegoing experience that left viewers on the edge of their seats.
At the time of writing, the film has grossed over $2.71 billion in the box office, against a budget of $350 million, already holding the biggest box office opening of all time. Holding the title of the second highest grossing film of all time, ‘Endgame’ has the possibility of overtaking ‘Avatar’ as the highest grossing film of all time. It holds an incredibly strong 95 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is considerably higher than most previous Marvel projects.
The film, which boasts a run time of three hours and two minutes, packs in a plethora of fast-paced action, amusing comedy and slower heartfelt scenes which all come together to create an entertaining cinematic experience. The film also ventures into the realm of time travel, something relatively untouched in the M.C.U. Time travel in ‘Endgame’, despite being confusing and rushed at times, provides an interesting narrative that takes us to past Marvel films, allowing fans to reminisce about simple times and indulge in some nostalgia from the past ten years. The film was also filled with small nods to past M.C.U. films which was a treat for many fans. Though rife with the usual superhero clichés like the team pep-talks and cheesy one-liners, ‘Endgame’ veered away from the normal cookie-cutter plot structure by showing the effects of the Avengers’ loss in ‘Infinity War’ and bringing our heroes back down to Earth.
‘Endgame’ shows audiences that favorite superheroes possess the same flaws and vulnerabilities as the average person. This is a contrast to the image that past films and comics have painted of divine, invincible, all-powerful beings. One of the strong points of the film was the transformation of Thor, who went from an almighty and powerful god in ‘Infinity War,’ to the overweight, alcoholic, ‘Fortnite’ playing man we find in ‘Endgame.’ Though often the butt of jokes in the film, Thor’s journey exposes some of his best qualities as a warrior and shows viewers that in order to be powerful you don’t have to be in perfect condition mentally or physically. Emerging from a lifestyle filled with beer and cheese whiz, Thor grows as a person as his journey also attempts to make a powerful cultural statement: no matter your current state is, you are still worthy and powerful.
While the movie had a lot to pack into the three hour run time in terms of the plot, ‘Endgame’ took time to do characters justice and develop the roles, which was an element that felt lost in ‘Infinity War’ which had to focus on a larger cast, and introducing a new villain. This element made ‘Infinity War’ feel longer and more drawn out, as the movie took place in several galaxies and therefore had many more characters and settings to explore. While ‘Endgame’ deals with a similar thin spread problem, the period of time when characters were apart is much shorter, and the end of the film revolves around the coming together of characters for a massive finale. This made for a much more satisfying ending as it felt more conclusive, compared to the frustrating cliffhanger that was the ending of ‘Infinity War’.
Some of the strongest scenes in the film are the quieter scenes that highlight the characters that the M.C.U. has worked to build. The scenes between Tony Stark (Iron Man) and his daughter Morgan, and Nebula highlight why so many fans fell in love with his character in the first place. Even in the more action-packed scenes, the things that make them memorable are the small moments between characters.
‘Endgame’ had several endings, as the screenwriters had several character arcs that needed to be tied up. The most heartbreaking of these was the death of Iron Man. The M.C.U.’s first hero, and a fan favorite, sacrificed himself to end the battle with Thanos and end the conflict that had accumulated over past movies for almost a decade.
Another major character who will not play a large role in the M.C.U.’s future is Steve Rogers, Captain America. At the end of the movie, we find that Rogers had stayed in the past to live the life that he always wanted. This ending, along with the death of Stark, marks the end for two of the first heroes brought to life in the M.C.U. Going forward, it will be interesting to see which of the remaining characters will take up the roles of leaders of the franchise.
‘Avengers: Endgame’ marks the end of an era of Marvel movies that have shaped generations. Not only is it a three-hour long film that takes audiences through the ups and downs of their favorite characters, but it’s also a grand send-off for some of the most beloved characters. The epic movie signals a fundamental change in the characters who will lead the next generation of fans, as ‘Endgame’ also marks the beginning of a new era for one of the largest movie franchises ever.