Whatever it takes. This was the tagline for the newest installment in a long list of Marvel Cinematic Universe titles, Avengers: Endgame. Twenty-two movies, spanning over 11 years and a slew of characters to keep in the fold, interconnected through crazy storylines and webs of complex character interactions. A lot has happened in these movies, and it all led up to this. We now know that this was closing a chapter on some of Marvel’s most beloved characters and the actors that played them. Avengers: Endgame is the biggest, boldest and easily, one of the best of the bunch, by far. Somehow, Endgame made three hours feel like we were traveling in the Quantum Realm and had only spent 3 minutes instead; it was that good of a movie.
Spoilers ahead! Beware…
Endgame takes place almost immediately after the events of Avengers: Infinity War. We open Endgame on Clint, aka Hawk-eye, hanging out on house arrest, playing baseball with his kids. His wife, cooking hot dogs, is asking about an assortment of condiments, when suddenly, silence. In the background, we see the ash/dust of his family floating in the wind, as a result of Thanos and his snap heard around the universe. Clint is stunned and bewildered. His family was gone, in the blink of an eye. This opening scene was incredibly appropriate and gave us some insight into what our old friend Hawkeye was up to and the reality of how people might have experienced the snap. The quietness of the theater was amazing and set the tone for the rest of the film. This movie was not playing around. It was clear that the Avengers had to do what they do best, which is avenge.
The remaining Avengers are spread throughout the world and the universe. Tony and Nebula ,drifting in space, eventually get saved by Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel. The team eventually gets reunited and figures out how to locate Thanos. They formulate a plan to go, get the stones back, and undo the mess that he made. A quick space trip later, we have all of Earth’s’ Mightiest Heroes breaking down the door, kicking ass, and taking names. The immediate confrontation with Thanos shows a broken down, beaten and almost dead version of himself. He is living all alone, his face and arm are disfigured, and he was not looking to put up a fight. In the confrontation, the heroes find out that Thanos had destroyed the stones and there was no way to get them back. Queue angry Thor chopping off the head to the big, purple Mad Titan. That is the last time the Avengers all assembled for five years.
Major effects of Thanos’s snap were felt all around the universe, prompting the Avengers to demand that justice be served. Our Avenger team changed drastically since the last film and was only a shell of its former self. Major players in this film are Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Thor, Hulk, Ant-Man, War Machine, Nebula, Rocket, and Hawk-eye. They are our primary focus, however a ton of other characters that come in and out of the mix throughout. When we get the time jump, our characters are all in different places, with different haircuts, living very different lives. All of them seem broken, except Tony, who is married and has a daughter of his own. This was a cool aspect of Endgame, and changed up what we might be expecting from our beloved heroes in this movie.
The primary idea of the rest of the film was summed up in a couple of words, put really nicely by Paul Rudd’s character, Ant-Man, in that this entire movie was a “Time Heist.” When Thanos snapped his fingers, the Avengers were helpless and hopeless until a random rat freed Ant-Man and allowed for him to reveal the idea of going back in time and getting the stones to undo what Thanos has done. It was a genius plan, which needed a bigger brains than his own, namely Bruce Banner and Tony Stark, to make them happen. Obviously, they are successful in their time travels, but the rest of Endgame revolves around this idea of a “Time Heist” and getting back all those who they lost.
This movie had a ton of great scenes, in which I think highlight and show off the range of emotion that Endgame can make a person feel. I don’t feel the need to recap the entire events of the film here, but some scenes are worth mentioning. They were either incredibly awesome or exponentially important. These scenes all have one common theme though, and that is the relationships that these movies have formed with the viewers. The re-connection of characters, the redemption arcs, the final moments all really hit home in a way that most comic book movies have not done before. The jeers and the tears in my movie theater were all real and raw, and I absolutely loved it.
The first series of scenes I loved in the film was when Hulk and the gang were trying to get the remaining Avengers back together. We get a scene with a new Thor — aka Fat Thor, The Dude Thor, or even The Big Thorbowski. Thor had been in a self-destructive state since lopping off The Mad Titan’s’ head and his body, and his demeanor showed it. Thor is now drinking, eating and hiding all of his sadness and anger away with his buddies, all while not being the king he needed to be for the Asgardians. This Thor was a hilarious take but showed some of the serious effects that these events had on our characters and how they handled that trauma. Even so, the scene where Hulk and Rocket go to get him and Korg was playing Fortnite was hilarious. Being bullied online by a 12-year-old is something we can all relate to, right? It brought back some of that great Ragnarok humor and allowed for us to check in on how those characters were doing as well.
Another fantastic scene was the meeting of the Starks, Tony and his dad Howard. Tony has been a staple of the Avengers since the beginning, and this was just such a nice moment that was well deserved. All of the bad that Tony had to put up with, really made this moment special. A touching reunion with his father to reaffirm his personal beliefs and show him that he was making the right choices. It also gave Tony a bit of closure, which the poor guy needed after all of the traumatic events over the past 11 years. At the same time, Steve sees the love of his life, Peggy Carter, for the first time in a very long time and it ultimately reaffirms what he wants out of life: a family. Both interactions were incredibly important for the development of Endgame, our two main characters, and how it all ends up shaking out.
And of course, the coolest, most badass part to this film was the final battle scene. We get braided-beard Thor, we get 2014, not dead, Thanos, we get Cap with Mjolnir, we get Captain Marvel, we get the ladies of Marvel holding it down and last, but not least, we get Tony Stark saving the day, holding the Infinity Gauntlet and eventually dying. That coupled with just about every Marvel superhero to date to come and fight this battle was like something out of Lord of the Rings. It was incredible. This was the ultimate battle sequence and really pulled the whole movie together. If I were to describe how this movie eventually wrapped up in one word, it would for sure be satisfying.
Although this movie was an amazing experience and clearly is in the top three of the MCU, this movie was not without faults. The time travel stuff was confusing, even to the point where Endgame got metta and made fun of it all (“Is your whole plan basically Back to the Future?”). That coupled with an incredible amount of luck and some pretty comic-y parts, there is some cheese to this film. Another aspect I did not like about this film was how we were not introduced to many new faces. No Fantastic Four, no X-Men, no new threat. Just the ending to a great saga of movies but nothing on the radar for the future, at least villain-wise. We get Thor with the Guardians, which better happen or we riot. We get Falcon as the new Captain America. We might get a new Thor movie starring Valkyrie, but I wasn’t too jazzed up on any of that because it was nothing new to look forward to. No big bad to look at like we have about Thanos for so long. No direction. I am hopeful with the end of Phase 3 in the new Spiderman: Far From Home movie, we will see some sort of a new direction for our heroes. Marvel and Disney will keep making money; it’s just a matter of how.
Avengers: Endgame was tremendous. It was epic. It lived up to the hype, and that train is full steam ahead into the future, even if there is no destination as of yet. I have seen Endgame two times with a chance of seeing a third this upcoming weekend. It is the movie event of this decade and has already passed 1 billion dollars at the time that I am writing this review. From the epic story to the fact that somehow the Russo brothers neatly wrapped up a 22 movie arc to the fact that Captain America was able to swing Mjolnir (!!!), this was the ultimate movie experience, the blockbuster to beat all blockbusters. And for that reason, this movie deserves all the recognition, awards, and money it is going to make. If you like good movies, if you like superheroes, or even if you have three hours to kill, whatever it takes, go see this movie.