A *SPOILER* Review of "Avengers: Endgame"

A series finale over 10 years in the making – Avengers: Endgame is an epic conclusion to a cultural phenomenon, and a love letter to the fans who made it so. This is a spoiler review, so if you have not seen Avengers: Endgame, click away. This is a film you want to see completely blind.

Groot and Captain Marvel fall in love!

No, they do not. But hopefully that scared away anyone who should be avoiding spoilers.

Endgame truly does feel like a TV season finale – the big battle with the big bad and a wrap up of our heroes’ storylines. It is over three hours long, which is needed for the amount of people the story has to follow.

The movie is divided into three acts. The first is comprised of The Aftermath and Getting the Band Back Together.  In a three-hour movie, it is entirely too easy for the first part to drag on, particularly in action films. But within the first half hour, Tony and Nebula are rescued from space and Thanos is dead. That was a brilliant surprise that made it clear this was going to be one hell of a thrill ride. After this came a five-year time jump, which I had read would happen, but I was still surprised by.

At the end of Infinity War, over half of our beloved characters were turned to dust. This included almost all of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther, Spiderman, Loki, Falcon, Scarlet Witch, and Bucky Barnes, all of which have future Marvel projects lined up. Therefore, I had a feeling their deaths were not going to be permanent, so I was concerned we would not see the real effects of them being gone. Steve in a support group, Tony turning his back on the superhero life, and Natasha trying to hold down the fort at headquarters, it is clear that Thanos devastated humanity, and these characters. So, though heartbreaking, I was glad to see their deaths have an impact.

As much as Iron Man or Captain America is a hero of this story, so is Random Rat #3. Literally, the oreason that 90% of this movie happens is because a rat stepped on just the right button to bring Scott Lang, or Ant Man, back from the quantum realm. Contrived plot points like these really take me out of the story, so I have to say this makes my short list of things I disliked. But with Scott back, it is time to get the band back together. Bruce and Hulk have mind-melded into one green nerd. Tony is living a quiet life with Pepper and their daughter, Morgan. Clint has become Ronin, a murdering mercenary. And Thor… also on my list of things I disliked. Thor is suffering from depression and PTSD, leading to alcohol abuse, binge eating, and a lack of self care. This could have been treated as seriously as Tony’s or Clint’s, but instead, he is the comic relief, and all of this is a joke. It is regressive to his character and to the positive mental health messages Marvel has sent in the past. Not cool, guys.

Now with the team assembled – the core six plus Rocket, Nebula, Rhodie, and Scott – it is time for Act Two – the Time Heist. Yep, it is a time travel movie. I will admit, with just one watch, I do not quite have a grasp on the mechanics of MCU time travel, other than the notion that there is no Butterfly Effect, i.e. what is messed with in the past does not affect the present or future. Everyone travels back in time to retrieve the six Infinity Stones before Thanos got them. Rocket and Thor go to Asgard, circa Thor: The Dark World. Nebula, Rhodie, Natasha, and Clint go to space, specifically Morag and Vormir, circa Guardians of the Galaxy. And Tony, Scott, Bruce, and Steve went to New York, circa the original Avengers. The net result is that they retrieve all six stones. But a few important things occur – some awesome, some devastating. Captain America literally fights himself, leading to the instantly classic line, “That is America’s Ass.” 2012 Loki escapes with the Tesseract, opening it up to future Loki hijinks. And… Natasha “Black Widow” Romanov sacrifices herself for the Soul Stone. On one hand, they absolutely did not have to kill off the only female in the Core 6. They were well matched in terms of power and adoration, but Natasha meant something for representation and the history of women in the superhero genre. They even gave Clint the superhero slow-motion shot. But they established that Clint had a family to get back to, and this was Natasha’s goal, so within the story, it made sense. I am not a fan of this decision. However, I think the scene was written well, and it worked within the arc of the movie. Natasha died a hero – just as she desired.

With all six stones acquired and Past Nebula posing as Present Nebula to bring Past Thanos to 2019, (oof, time travel is complicated) it is time for Act Three: The One With all the Superhero Fighting and Wrapping it All Up. There is so much that goes on in the final hour of this movie that it is impossible to touch on all of it. So I have made a bulleted list of the most notable moments:

  • Avengers Headquarters being absolutely obliterated. I am not one for Michael Bay *Boom Boom BAM* explosion sequences, but it was awesome.

  • CAPTAIN. AMERICA. WIELDING. MJOLNIR. (Yes, that can only be said in all caps.) I think I almost shouted, and the entire theater applauded. It is a breathtaking, well-earned moment and he then proceeds to use it like the badass he is.

  • “On your Left.” I sat back as my watching companion sobbed, grinning ear to ear. I knew once Bruce/Hulk snapped the Infinity Gauntlet 2.0 that everyone was on their way, but there was no way to prepare for this. It felt like everyone who had ever appeared in a Marvel movie was there. And it made for a climactic battle sequence worthy of such a story.

  • I have not seen many people talking about the fact that Wanda “Scarlet Witch” Maximoff was literally about to destroy Thanos?!?! He had to call for literal laser beams or whatever those were to be rained down upon the entire battlefield so that she did not kill him. Wanda Maximoff might be the strongest avenger and she deserves all the praise.

  • Captain. Marvel. I did not honestly think we would see her again, which I was disappointed about, but not surprised. But that entrance – DAMN. She then proceeded to be the BAMF that she always is. Earth truly does not deserve her.

  • “Don’t worry. She’s got help,” says Okoye followed by every female Avenger (sans Natasha) showing up to fight alongside Carol (and Peter). It was such an incredibly powerful moment, both within the story and within the greater cultural context of the film. What I am saying is, a whole movie just about them? Yes, please.

  • Oh speaking, of Peter… Peter!!! The most haunting death at the end of Infinity War is the most exciting reunion in Endgame. He is as charming and funny as ever and continues to be a marvelous fighter – I cannot wait for Spiderman: Far from Home.

  • Tony. Motherf*cking. Stark. This man started this whole damn thing, and it was only fitting that he end it. That snap – followed by Thanos disintegrating – followed by, harrowingly, Tony’s death, is one of the greatest moments in cinematic history. It is Oscar worthy. And it was perfect.

The last twenty minutes or so wrap up some stories while leaving some room for others. Clint is back with his family. Pepper and Morgan Potts are learning to live without Tony. Valkyrie is the new Queen of Asgard, as Thor has joined the Guardians of the Galaxy. They seem to be heading out to find Gamora, setting up for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Peter Parker is back at school, T’Challa, Okoye, and Shuri are back in Wakanda… everything is back to some semblance of normal.

 

Lastly, someone has to return their six Infinity Stones to where, or rather when, they were found. Steve volunteers to do so. But instead of immediately returning, Sam Wilson finds him on a nearby bench, suddenly an old man. Rather than time travel back, he decided to take the scenic route, and stayed in the past to live with the love of his life, Peggy Carter. As an old man, he passes on the shield to Sam, opening up the Captain America storyline to continue. Some may disagree, but I thought this was the absolute perfect ending to Steve Rogers’ story. His fight was over, and it was finally time for him to get that dance. I sobbed as the credits rolled.

Avengers: Endgame is a cinematic masterpiece that well transcends the action or superhero genre. It is as funny as it is heart-wrenching. It is action packed and tender-moment filled. I wish I had some Pym Particles of my own so I could have that first-time watching experience again, and again. But I will just have to settle for buying another ticket – because this is a big film best seen on the big screen.