A Spoiler Review: Avengers Endgame

I walked into the final Avengers movie a different man to what I walked out as.   You see, I was just a simple boy, a cockeyed optimist if you will, who got his dreams mixed up with what would be his reality.  Dreams of superheroes in space, devilishly evil villains, and the fate of the world hanging in limbo.  A dream of our Avengers, the world’s mightiest heroes, hunting down the destroyer of half the universe, and battling it out over an intense three-hour saga.  The reality, dear readers, was in fact quite different to the optimistic dreams of a simple comic lover.  The reality was a three-hour long movie in which I was bored for majority of its lengthy run time. 

After I walked out of the film, I pondered on what my expectations were for Avengers Endgame.  And I pondered some more.  I had very little expectations.  Though my excitement for the film was unlike any other in recent memory, thanks to the extensive twenty-one movie anthology, I had no idea on how the movie would turn out.  No idea how Tony Stark would make it back to Earth.  No idea how The Avengers would track down Thanos and bring back half the universe he wiped out in the film prior.  But fifteen minutes in and Thor has sliced off Thanos’ head as easy as dipping a spoon in some vanilla ice-cream; I knew this wasn’t the movie I wanted.  What little expectations I had quickly faded into like dust, this time not at the click of fingers, but at the simple swing of Stormbreaker.  So I sat in my recliner seat, Maltesers in hand, ready to go along for the ride.  I had at least another two and a half hours to get through. 

I won’t do a beat for beat playback of the film.  The movie is far too long, and I don’t expect that level of dedication from my readers, nor do I want to write that kind of review. And I’m not saying that Avengers Endgame is a bad film by any stretch of the imagination, it’s just not what I wanted.  I’m a comic book fan from way back, I’ve seen every MCU movie bar Ant Man and the Wasp, and I’m a big enough fan to know what I don’t like in my comic books. My pet hate is multiple realities and different versions of characters.  Not once has the idea of a multi-verse/multiple dimensions been introduced in the series. The idea of multiple reality versions of our favourite heroes has not been established within the twenty-two films leading to Endgame.  Nor has time travel been a movie theme. Not even in the most fantastical films like Thor, Doctor Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy.  But it’s been introduced now.  At the finale of this ten-year film journey, the script writers have introduced a foreign theme in this universe. I can deal with space travel.  I can deal with a thunder god battling demons.  But as soon as comics, and comic book films, dabble in multiple realities, I switch off.  DC Comics have used it as a trope to bring back dead characters, video games like World of Warcraft use it extensively, and it’s just not my bread and butter. 

And that foreign theme, time travel and multiple realities, takes a while to set up.  Hence the three-hour run time.  We meet our characters in the film, almost immediately after the events of Infinity War.  They kill Thanos, who has just mentioned that he destroyed the Infinity Stones before Thor takes to his head like a knife to butter, and we jump in time another five years to see our heroes split and broken.  Now we must build this world, the directors need to show the audience how our characters are dealing with this new world, and what’s changed in society.  This takes time.  Hence the lengthy run time.  So we meet all the characters who aren’t dead, wait for them to convince each other to come back as a team, and wait for them to figure out how to get the stones back.  The solution: time travel, thanks to Ant Man’s quantum physics.  Now all of a sudden, we are in a heist movie as our heroes split into teams and travel to different eras of time, all of which we’ve seen in previous MCU films.  The idea is fine, it’s something straight out of a comic book, but it’s not what I want to see when the stakes are so high. The foundations set from the previous twenty-one other films now relies on a bullshit heist.  A heist movie is something you do for a bit of fun, not to close out a saga unseen in modern film  Especially when Infinity War was such a strong opener to this finale. It flowed impeccably from beat to beat.  It moved from solid character interaction to stress inducing encounter, back to another solid character interaction.  Where Infinity War delicately strides from scene to scene like a poised duchess, Endgame jumps from scene to scene like a toddler stomping in rainy puddles.

In saying all this, Endgame is a love-letter to the comic book lovers, and the fans of the MCU.  I can appreciate that. We see scenes from previous movies in a different perspective, and it’s satisfying to see how characters have grown when compared to their past self.  Especially Captain America whose interaction with his past self is comical and amusing.  Though it’s the Captain’s ark that annoys me the most.  I like Captain America when he’s the ‘always do good’ character, like in Civil War.  I do not like the Captain America who can wield Thor’s hammer.  The Captain is not a god, he might be a worthy human, but he’s not god.  It’s so ‘comic-bookey’ it’s as if a seven-year-old imagined it and drew it on a piece of paper for art class. 

Rehashing old scenes was comical at times, but also did the movie a disservice.  Particularly when Black Widow and Hawkeye travel to that planet where Red Skull is, (pardon my laziness for not Googling the planet’s name) in order to retrieve the soul stone.  The same planet where Gamora died in Infinity War.  Gamora’s death was a shock because we didn’t anticipate how that scene would end.  But here’s two of our heroes travelling to get a stone, in which one must die before obtaining.  We already knew how to get the stone, eliminating the emotional impact from Infinity War. In the scene’s obviousness, the emotion was gone when Black Widow sacrifices herself for the stone.  The quick battle between Hawkeye and Widow was cool, but I did not care who died in that situation.  If Hawkeye died, I wouldn’t care – because all the emotion we have invested with that character is related to his once-seen family.  And Black Widow, in fairness, has always been a side piece thanks to her never getting a solo movie. 

The end battle was awesome, I’ll give Endgame that.  Realistically, the last third of this movie was some of the best superhero action to ever grace the big screen.  It’s just a shame that the journey was convoluted and a bit choppy.  As Spiderman, Doctor Strange, Starlord, Scarlett Witch, Black Panther and the rest of the superhero ensemble were brought back to life, the audience cheered and clapped.  And I cringed.  I fucking hate when people clap and cheer in movies.  I hate it more than time travel in a comic book movie. And they clapped once again as the end credits rolled.  They clapped and waited in hope for an end credit scene.  Chums. 

It’s not my favourite Marvel movie, but I appreciate what it does. It’s not the best Marvel movie either, people are just caught up in some strong hype.  Endgame is a cinema movie, I’d be hard pressed to find three-hours to sit down and watch this at home.  And I don’t know if I would even want to. 

If I had to score it, I’d give it a high six out of ten.  Maybe a low seven.  

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