I recently saw the much anticipated Avengers: Endgame on its opening night. There was not a single open seat in the entire Flagship Cinema in Waterville and I sat next to a guy wearing an Avengers sweatshirt. Earlier that same day, I had assured my close friend (who is an avid Avengers fan) that we didn’t need to get to the theater early because there was no way it would be hard to find seats. Little did I know, my friends and I wouldn’t be able to sit together it was that packed. As I walked into the theater, oblivious of the fandom I was about to encounter, I wondered what all the hype could possibly be about. They’re just superhero movies, right? Well, I was wrong. By the end of the movie, I had cried on three separate occasions and found myself emotionally attached to multiple characters. Before the movie, I was concerned that the lengthy three hour and twelve minute duration would be hard to sit through. However, as the movie finished I felt as though only an hour had passed and sat there wanting more.
As you’ve probably gathered, prior to this movie I was not even remotely an Avengers fan. I hadn’t seen any of the other movies in the franchise and had to be convinced to see Endgame. I’ve never been a huge fan of movies that stray too far from reality, so I’ve always discounted superhero movies. I never bothered trying to watch one because I figured they were childish, violent, and unemotional. I never found action movies particularly interesting; rather, I gravitated towards more realistic, emotional, character driven narratives that will leave me feeling something as the credits appear. If you have the same preconceived notions that I did, here are a few reasons that Endgame lives up to the hype and is not merely a superhero movie.
Going into Endgame, I was nervous that I would have no idea what was going on and would be bored out of my mind for three long hours. The Marvel franchise is comprised of eleven years worth of movies, all leading up to Endgame. I had only seen one out of the twenty-one movies that Endgame was concluding. Regardless of this, the plotline of Endgame was extremely accessible and understandable to a newcomer. I only had to lean over to my friend for explanations two or three times out of the entire movie. I don’t want to give anything away, but essentially the storyline is that the Avengers are twisting time in attempt to bring back half of the population of the universe, which Thanos previously destroyed. No big deal. Although this plotline did draw on events from past movies, the majority of the time it was building on actions that happened within Endgame itself. If you’re worried about being completely lost, don’t be.
The Social Commentary **spoiler alerts**
I was so terribly naive when I thought that superhero movies could not possibly be about anything pertaining to real life issues. Endgame proved me totally wrong as it touched on race, gender, and environmental issues. I’m going to include a spoiler alert here, nothing major but if you want to be surprised in every aspect then you should stop reading. In terms of the environment, Thanos’s main justification for wiping out half the universe is due to resource scarcity and overpopulation. These are huge issues we face today, and I don’t think they are coincidentally brought up in Endgame. On account of race, Marvel’s Black Panther famously presented a predominantly black cast, something that has not been done enough in major Hollywood movies. At the conclusion of Endgame, we watch an elderly Captain America pass off his famous shield to Falcon, who is played by Anthony Mackie. This scene sends a powerful statement to audiences about diversity. And finally, we see some serious girl power in Endgame. Captain Marvel, the newest addition to the avengers and a female superhero, saves the day for the male superheros on multiple occasions. She saves Tony Stark from space at the beginning of the movie and fights off Thanos on multiple occasions. Additionally, during the movie’s biggest fight scene where the whole franchise comes together to battle Thanos’ army, there is a point in which all of the women superheroes join to fight off Thanos in ways that the male characters could not. I loved the way this movie included important social commentary and had deeper meanings under all of the fighting, making it surprising and refreshing.
Characters and Comedy
My other biggest preconceived notion about action movies is that they aren’t funny. I love comedy movies, and I always figured that superhero movies were just about fighting and violence. Yet again, Endgame proved me wrong. The characters, although superheroes or immortal gods, were very human. We see Thor coping with his previous defeat to Thanos by binge-drinking, playing video games, and eating pizza. It was easy to sympathize with these powerful characters because of their very human, relatable qualities. Iron Man does not initially want to partake in the mission because he fears losing his family, and the Hulk embraces his appearance by taking selfies with fans. The characters are exceptionally likeable as we watch them grapple with human emotions. On top of that, many of the scenes are quite funny. I found myself appreciating the light-hearted humor intertwined with intense action scenes.
Essentially, The Avengers: Endgame lends itself to all audiences. I would argue it is appropriate for most ages, it’s funny, it’s relatable, it’s emotional, and it’s a very human superhero movie. As an outsider to the Marvel franchise and someone who prejudged the Avengers series, I could not recommend this movie enough.