The latest instalment of the now 22-movie long Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is breaking all the records it can lay its infinity-sized gauntlets on. Following a $1.2 billion global five-day launch, it’s now a question of when, not if, (not that it was ever really in doubt) Marvel’s tentpole will make it to $2 billion. While it might have the legs to race past Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ global tally, the $2.7 billion total of James Cameron’s Avatar might just be out of reach.
However do not underestimate the money-making potential of a metal man, a dude with a hammer, a soldier in tights throwing a metal frisbee and 11 years of consistently decent to great filmmaking, with only a couple of relative duds.
This is a movie, the scale of which we might not see again, combining characters from the 21 movies before it, wrapping up stories built up from the very first movie in the franchise and acting as a direct sequel to Avengers: Infinity War which had ended with a monumental cliffhanger. The directors, Joe and Anthony Russo had a huge task ahead of them having to meet the expectations of millions of fans while still crafting a compelling story that ties up all loose ends.
So after all the hype, sweat and (literal) blood, is Avengers: Endgame any good? I’ll take a look at various aspects of the movie featuring no spoilers.
With a significantly smaller main cast than Avengers: Infinity War in which we were constantly jumping from ensemble to ensemble. Although the Russos handled that large task really well, especially with the time taken to develop the big baddie, Thanos, some fan favourite characters were shunted to the background. The smaller list of A-listers available to them showed in a good way with a more significant focus on inter and intra character development.
The first act, for the most part, revolves around the heroes who survived ‘the snap’ and how they are coping with failing to save the universe. The interactions between the characters and the impressive dialogue keep the movie afloat in a virtually actionless first hour, a big risk for a superhero movie. The evolutions of the characters seem like natural, unforced progressions.
Even particularly risky changes to certain characters, including a beloved one in the previous movie which, on the face of it, were really jarring made sense for those characters in the moments they were in. Introductions to new (and old) characters throughout the movie never seemed out of place. Emotional connections audiences have had with certain characters throughout the run of the ‘Infinity Saga’ of the MCU were ramped up making their eventual climaxes even more tear-jerking.
This was always the most important thing heading into Endgame; how would the survivors undo the snap? Suggestions that they might not manage it never even came up given confirmed Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-man, Black Panther and Doctor Strange sequels. Simple really, let’s get them back and in Cap’s words, take that s.o.b (language!) down.
While a number of people might have been expecting the direction the movie takes, enough surprises and twists in the second act to keep audiences invested. The movie acknowledges that while the big plan is not an original one, it’s different enough from the others to stand out and keep nitpicky fans active. While anyone could find flaws with the plans if they looked hard enough, the filmmakers gave enough leeway for those relatively minor points to be overlooked.
The final act
If the first act was filled with ‘slow’ character building moments then the final act was the complete opposite. This was one of the most fulfilling conclusions to any movie or franchise you’ll ever see. The movie throws so much at you and yet most of it sticks. While the action is a bit frantic when it kicks in with so much going on that you will definitely miss something, there are many ‘heck yeah’ moments that make this one of the best climaxes to a Sci-Fi/Action/Fantasy/Superhero movie ever.
Avengers: Endgame is a feat in movie making. The acting, writing and directing elevate the movie from just another action movie to a piece of art that will live long in the memory.
Avengers: Endgame is currently showing at the Silverbird Cinemas
★★★★☆ – 4/5