Review: Avengers: Endgame.
Hello and welcome to Reservoirblogs,
It’s been a while but I’m back today to review Avengers: Endgame.
If you haven’t watched it yet you need to get on that, but also you need to leave this page because this review is gonna be full of spoilers!
Okay wow. I don’t even know where to begin with this epic, finale blockbuster of a film. I mean there were a few things that didn’t hit the right notes for me, but I’m gonna focus on all the good stuff first, of which there is a lot, so I apologise in advance if this review goes on forever.
Endgame begins with a stripped back scene of Clint Barton enjoying an afternoon of leisure with his wife and kids outside their rural family home. When he turns his back for just a second his family disappear and Barton is left confused, scared and desperate, just like the billions of others across the world. I absolutely loved this opening scene because not only does it take us back to the exact moment when Thanos triumphed over the avengers, but it immediately emotionally invests us as an audience and moreover, it reminds us that this reality isn’t just confined to the MCU superheroes, it has affected the entire world of beings and it reminds us what the avengers are fighting for in the first place. People. Families. Across the globe. Above all else, it is that theme that is carried through this entire movie.
Cut to the deep and endless cosmos, where Tony Stark passes his diminishing days in the stranded Milano by playing games with Nebula and recording goodbye messages for Pepper, helpless and unknowing. Robert Downey, Jr.’s acting in this scene set the tone for the rest of the movie. He is superb. I really have never seen such perfect casting as it is, but in this movie he really ups the anti and it has obviously paid off, because people are already campaigning for him to be Oscar nominated. When they are saved and returned to earth by the apparently always there at the last minute Carol Danvers, the bitterness between Stark and Rogers is so profound and severe that things look very bleak for the Avengers. Resentment is at an all time high. Again, the acting here is on point and I don’t know if he lost weight or if that was all make up and editing but woah, Stark looked ill as hell in those scenes.
Five years down the line and Captain America is taking part in self help groups, Hawkeye is an vengeful, self-managed assassin and Natasha still searches for a way to change the past. As the Captain himself states, “I keep telling everybody to move on. Some do. But not us.”
Elsewhere, Tony and Pepper have become parents to a sweet little girl called Morgan and Stark realises he is one of the lucky ones. The chemistry between him and the child actor, Alexandra Rachael Rabe was so pure and it portrayed a side of Tony Stark the audience haven’t really seen before. In hindsight, this relationship and some of it’s key lines like “Love you 3000” resonate very deeply when you know how this story ends. God damn it this film was emotional.
Once again, it is because of his family that Stark fears the proposition of time travel put forward by Scott Lang and the other Avengers. (Side - note, Antman is seriously under-appreciated in this film, he is literally earth’s salvation…Actually, he wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for that conveniently placed rat. Someone give that rat a medal)
Anyway, the whole next ten to fifteen minutes of the film is actually all very convenient. Bruce Banner somehow managed to combine himself with the hulk in one constant state of being with zero explanation and Tony Stark discovers how to time travel overnight with a drink in one hand. And to be honest, I’m still not convinced by this version of time travel at all. Regardless of that, this movie is very self aware and makes a lot of references to Back To The Future and the Terminator series because they know we’re all thinking it. At the end of the day, you could spend the entire three hours of this film trying to work out the logistics or you can just accept what they say, strap yourself in and enjoy the ride, and like most of us, I chose the latter.
Once the remaining Avengers agree that they “owe it to everyone not in this room to try”, they hatch a plan to travel through the Quantum Realm back to different times and locations, collect the infinity stones, bring back those who were lost in Infinity War and then return the stones to exactly where they found them. Seems simple enough. Also seems like a Marvel fan’s wet dream. This whole section of the film was incredibly fun, tense and packed full of easter eggs and references. Watching familiar scenes from different angles and a new perspective was really interesting to me. The Captain America vs Captain America fight was awesome and coined some of the funniest lines like “ I could do this all day” and “ That really is America’s ass”.
This was followed by War Machine and Nebula spying on Peter Quill’s beautiful rendition of Come And Get Your Love which lead to “so he’s an idiot” which really tickled me. Among the humour though, there was also sentimental value. Stark’s encounter with his father was really enjoyable to watch for a number of reasons. Both around the same age upon meeting and both new to parenting, Tony Stark bonds with his unsuspecting father and has emotional closure there, albeit through quite an awkward hug. But to me, the most significant part of this scene was Howard’s response when Tony ponders what would be so bad about having a son that turns out like him. Howard’s response being “the greater good rarely outweighs my own self interest” felt like the last piece of advice given to Tony Stark from his father that ultimately makes Iron Man’s later act of sacrifice more meaningful and a satisfying end to the character arc of Tony Stark.
Then there was the scene on Vormir between Hawkeye and Black Widow. Of course we all knew that Thanos had to sacrifice his daughter in Infinity War to retrieve the Soul Stone, so as soon as these two met with Red Skull I think we all knew it wouldn’t end well. It was a tense and emotional scene but to be honest I think it was a good way and time for Natasha to go. In my opinion, she had the least room to grow any further as a character and with Hawkeye having a wife and kids, it felt morally right to have him survive the journey. However, it did bother me that Nebula knew Thanos left that planet with the soul stone but not Gamora, so why wasn’t that discussed before the crucial one way trips. Also I can’t help but think how awkward it would have been if Rocket and Thor had gone for the Soul Stone. Those guys don’t even like each other that much, what would they have sacrificed?
Speaking of Thor…. why? Literally no one asked for that.
I know his character was meant to create comic relief, but to me it felt like they just shit all over Thor’s dignity in this film. Don’t get me wrong, the beer and Fortnite jokes were kinda' funny to start off with, but the beer belly and the complete mental deterioration was a bit far in my opinion. I have heard people say it was about mental health and I’ve also heard people say that it was a good message that you don’t have to look like a model to be a hero, but to me those sound like poor excuses for essentially using Thor as the punching bag of the film. If it had been handled more tastefully then it perhaps would have landed better, but it just felt like the wrong character for that risk. In Infinity War, Rocket pokes fun at Star Lord for being “one sandwhich away from being fat” and it’s hilarious, but in Endgame the joke is so far outside of our existing perception of Thor that the comedy doesn’t land. That’s my opinion anyway, I know lot’s of people disagree.
But now lets talk about that third act. Holy shit. Don’t you dare go for a loo break during this part of the film because you’re gonna miss a lot. It’s crazy to think how much the enemy has developed since the first Avengers movie and also how much the characters have grown through war and loss. I have never been so invested in Steve Rogers as a character as I felt in this movie and the scene where he picks up that damn hammer is b a d a s s .
It was a nice nod to the moment in 'Age of Ultron' when he just about manages to nudge it and it makes for the lead up to the main war. I got goosebumps all over when he tightens his shield, everybody who is fuckin’ anybody walks through those sparkly portals and then bam,
The entire war scene was amazingly choreographed and edited to be a very impressive final stand against Thanos. In that moment between Strange and Stark, it is implied that Stark is the one person that can finish this war and he does exactly that. After his final iconic words “I am Iron Man” and falling into Peppers arms who tells him “you can rest now”, Starks character comes full circle in a moment of poetic peacefulness, and that is when I really felt that this was the ending of something huge. The Endgame. His funeral was even more emotional as the camera panned across all those whose lives he had changed, and look, I didn’t cry, but I won’t hold it against those who did.
The Russo brothers really pulled this movie off and created a satisfying, emotional and exciting finale to this iconic Marvel chapter. It wasn’t perfect but it was pretty damn close and in my opinion that’s a triumph.
The characters in this movie definitely felt more human than they ever have before. They were damaged, desperate and in a situation where the strength of their character was more important than the strength of their punch. For me, that is what made this film so special. Just like it opened, Endgame finished with quiet, humble scenes. Families are reunited and the Avengers get the full circle moments and closure they deserve.
Thanks for reading,