Released: 24th April
Seen: 24th April
On the 25th of April 2018, celebrating a decade as a cinematic universe, Marvel released Avengers: Infinity War. A true box office smash, the film broke records and defied expectations and at the 2-hour 5-minute and 41-second mark, Thanos snapped his fingers and eradicated half of the MCU in a sequence that was instantly one of the most iconic things in modern cinema. It was meme’d into oblivion; it was a moment of cultural shock that is easily the ballsiest thing that a movie studio has done in a long time. They made us love every single character, and then they killed them in front of us in a 3 minute sequence that was designed intentionally to destroy the audience… and then they said “Come back in a year, we’re not done tearing you apart yet” and sure enough, they came back and they were not even close to done tearing us apart.
If you thought reviewing Infinity War without accidentally dropping spoilers was hard, doing that with Endgame is impossible. I dare not even attempt a semi-plot synopsis because this is another case of “Literally the first shot of the film is a spoiler”. So, I’m not going to try. I couldn’t bring myself to even give you an idea of how this film is set up because doing so would hurt a lot of the impact. Here’s what I’m going to say, without spoiling anything, the film picks up a few days after the snap and starts making everything very clear. Half of life on the planet is just gone, it’s done, it vanished into dust. Thanos won, The Avengers lost and their consolation prize is that there was nothing on earth they could do to stop it. The rest of the film beyond that setup basically tries to deal with the effects of the snap and avenge those who were lost, making this possibly the first time that the Avengers actually did some actual avenging.
Infinity War was like a juggler who was expertly juggling half a dozen balls. It’s obscenely hard, takes a ton of work and is beyond impressive when it’s pulled off. Endgame took those balls and replaced them with chainsaws, it’s stepped up that much. Everything in this movie is bigger than before. This movie is a love letter to the fans who stuck around for a decade and it delivers on its promise. This is the endgame; this is the movie that they have spent a decade building too. This is a film that you NEED a decade to build up to, there would be no way on earth you could justify this movie without pointing to ten full years of being a cultural phenomenon. This movie is Marvel screaming “LET’S PARTY!” and throwing themselves the biggest party you have ever witnessed.
Every scene in this film is perfect and I can’t stress enough how insane it is that they managed to do that. Every single scene, even the ones that are almost just created for a joke, serves the overarching plot of the story or advance character in some way. If it’s not pointedly advancing character, it’s taking a giant scoop of fan service and throwing it in the audiences face. If it’s not throwing fan service at you, it’s destroying you emotionally in a way that I didn’t know one could be destroyed by a superhero film. You thought you cried when Spider-Man said “I don’t feel so good” but you haven’t even begun to cry over what these characters go through. Avengers: Endgame wants you to go through every emotion it can think of, it wants to make you laugh, cheer, cry, applaud and scream like there is no one else in that packed theatre and it will not rest until it gets that reaction.
I lost count of how many times the audience I was with broke into thunderous applause because there was no other possible way to react to what we were seeing. Marvel put everything on the line and threw absolutely everything that it had into the mix. Marvel basically already owns the Comic Book genre as it is right now, yes DC has been improving steadily over the last few years by embracing the idea that these movies should actually be fun and enjoyable but this movie is Marvel staking its claim as the master of the genre, and they earn it. The scene where they earn this title of “Ultimate Comic Book Movie” is deep within the film, but it’s the kind of scene that is just Marvel showing off and I’m very OK with that.
Every single solitary character in this movie gets their hero moment unless they’re a villain… in which case they get a badass villain moment. Everyone gets a moment and it’s glorious and gratuitous and is Marvel showing off and I love it. This movie touches on every possible thing that has ever delighted an audience member, from just how freaking cool giant Ant-Man was to how great Captain America’s ass is… those are the two things I can drop as examples that don’t spoil a damn thing, cut me some slack here. I am in genuine awe of how much content is stuffed into this movie; enough content for three or four movies of their own and they have managed to stuff everything into this one film that never slows down, not even for a second. The weird thing is that even though I could easily see where you carve this movie up into three different full-length films just with the story content alone, they throw them all in here and somehow make the film just fly by. You don’t have time to worry about (SPOILERS) because we have to move on to the (EVEN MORE SPOILERS) before we meet up with (ALL THE SPOILERS) and (SPOILED THE SPOILEY SPOILERS).
Avengers: Endgame had exactly one job to do, it needed to send this portion of the MCU out with the biggest bang that it could come up with and it went above and beyond. It calls back to things from the franchise, it ties up loose ends, it throws everything it can think of at the wall and then grabs the kitchen sink to place delicately in front of that wall, almost just to show off that it can. This is the kind of movie that you can only do after you’ve had a decade of success taking over the cultural landscape, there is no other way to get to this movie other than to take 10 years to build up to it. I have no idea where the MCU goes from here, I assume it’ll be somewhere completely different and in a decade we’ll be talking about the movie they made to celebrate that achievement but for right now? This is what I wanted when I got out of Infinity War, I wanted a movie to not only finish the story but to remind me why I loved every one of these characters. Endgame did that, it did it with style and grace and the kind of pure joy that only comes with loving the material. Here is what we’ve been waiting for, here is where this road ends and now we must wonder where the road goes from here.
To make this clear, the only reason this is getting a 5 is because I don’t want to make the graphic that would give it a 6
No end credits scene, but you probably will still be in shock and unable to move.
Now, if you’ll all excuse me, I need to prepare to go back and see this film again. Expect me to flail more about this film at the end of the year when I’m actually able to talk about the content of the film without anyone being able to give me grief for spoilers.