Marvel Studios has managed to wrap up the Infinity War saga that they spent the whole of the last decade building. This ‘Endgame’ was the culmination of nearly two dozen setup films. We might easily think that “patience” and “perseverance” is well understated when used to describe this body of work. Even if Marvel threw in the towel today and called it a career, that is a first ballot hall of fame effort, and bronze is not the metal we are using on this bust. Marvel Comics spent most of its ‘heyday’ in what is referred to as the “Silver Age of Comics.” But this series of films and other superhero genre films over the last 15 years may very well be referred someday as the ‘Golden Age’ of Superhero Movies.
Avengers: Endgame has put me in one of those rethink the superhero list mindsets. It has shaken me to the core, how the hell did they pull this off? By now you have figured out my sentiment towards this grand finale to the epic saga of the Avengers. This movie was nothing short of brilliant; it is a masterpiece in the genre of super hero films and is good enough to transcend the action movie sphere.
There were a great many reviews suggesting the movie was long. But was it? Making reference to its length tends to lead the reader to believe that it dragged on. This film does not drag on, not at all. Never once during the entire 181 minutes, yes friends that is a minute beyond the three-hour mark, did I get that feeling of “this is a long movie.” Not one time. Is it a long movie? No, no it is not. It is a three-hour movie that blows by like a two-hour movie.
I still can’t wrap my head around everything they were able to convey without losing the audience and without overwhelming it either. I have to say that the scene stealing in this movie is from an unlikely character. The Hulk literally steals the show. Thor is amazing as well but he is not what you expect this go ’round.
I will have to view it again to really soak it all in but I will say it was not a perfect film if there ever is such a thing. Hollywood loves to do stupid stuff and Endgame is no exception. Tony shows up in an Audi E-Tron which is an all-electric vehicle and it is like other electric vehicles, silent. The director decided to have a roaring engine noise dubbed over for “effect.” But Audi’s E-Tron badge is enormous and in no way subtle, so it is just STUPID to have it roaring in like that! There, that’s my complaint 😉
It is hard to compare Endgame to movies in the past as I have the advantage of having seen those films before versus when I walked out of the theater after seeing Ironman in 2008, there was no Avengers to compare it to. I was comparing it to the movies that had come before it. Ironman was the first of the 22 films in the Avengers MCU Saga. Part of how these movies rank in my view is how I felt about the film after first seeing it. But also it is about how I feel about it later on, even years later. I still love Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman, THIRTY YEARS LATER! That is why that film still rates so high on my chart. This movie however is tough to gauge because it is not a stand alone story. It stands on the shoulders of 21 films that came before it. It is also in effect, a “Part II” of the Avengers Infinity War. I feel like a major shakeup is coming on how I view these films and the impact they have. There are better films than this one if we separate the films from their companion films and look only at its stand alone value. Part of what makes this movie so good is the reference we have from the previous 21 films. When we look at the film as part of the totality of effort across all the associated and supporting content, Endgame is absolutely, Top Tier. All by itself however, not as much. But therein lies the reality, it does get the benefit of those prior movies.
I still feel that Guardians of the Galaxy flows better and is more “fun.” But this movie isn’t supposed to be fun, is it? Yet in spite of the gloomy atmosphere that is the post Thanos Infinity Stone apocalypse, this movie is in fact fun. The movie will pay homage to the 21 MCU films that preceded it with a variety of scenes scattered throughout. It is rare to see an action oriented film that can produce moist eyes from tears of both joy and sadness as well as laughs like it is a good stand up routine. The movie weaves the plots of previous films into this film using what is likely some cutting room footage and it all manages to tie together nicely. Although there are a few hopelessly predictable scenes and outcomes, there are some genuine twists in how the Avengers manage to “undo” what Thanos had done. During the process of “fixing” things, Marvel manages to create some amazing scenes that are homages to the past, the way past in fact, and I’ll leave it at that since the movie is still fresh. I do not want to induce any spoilage in the experience.
This movie feels like an end, it really does. Yes, I know there is a Spiderman movie this summer and there will be a Guardians of the Galaxy III and a whole “Phase 4” of MCU, but it is a bit of an end. This film genuinely wraps up the whole MCU into a delicious burrito, dripping with cheese, and soaked in spicy sauce. And we the audience, just ate it all up. In the immortal words of Porky Pig… “Th-Th-The, Th-Th-The, Th-Th… That’s all, folks.” There were no special scenes during or after the credits roll. There will never be another original “Stan Lee” cameo. There is an almost foreboding finality to it. This really brings to close what may someday go down as the greatest series of motion pictures ever made. 22 films over 11 years all collectively formed into one epic saga the likes of which we have never seen before. It is quite possible, we will never see anything like this again. WOW what a ride! Thank you Stan Lee, may your stories and characters remain forever entwined in our hearts and culture.