Last Thursday I went to see Avengers: Endgame because my theater was sold out of tickets to see Little, so I thought, “Hey this is close enough.” And man, I think I speak for everyone in saying that things happened for 3 hours straight in a traditional beginning middle and end structure with…okay, joking aside, this movie was fantastic. It had the most amount of heart, emotion, tension and an ending battle scene that can make a claim for one of the best scenes of war in any movie. I cried no less than five times during my movie experience, but what do I think of it? Well let’s find out.
In order to do this properly though, I am going to be spoiling a vast number of plot points, scenes and characters. So if you clicked on this by mistake and don’t want to be spoiled, go back (I already have your view count). Just to be sure you don’t accidentaly read a spoiler, I’m going to post pictures of Corgi puppies. I’m literally going to post the first 5 I find on Google, so if you did want to see them but haven’t seen the movie yet, just Google “Corgi Puppies” and you’ll see all of these pictures.
So let’s get this out in the open: This movie will make you cry and cry and cry and will not let up. I lasted a good 2 minutes before the water works started as the movie began with Clint enjoying house arrest on a farm when his wife and three kids get snapped away to dust. It is a relentless juggernaut in pulling at your heart strings and does not care who you are. And that is one of the greatest strengths of the movie: it has more emotion and treats the severity of the situation like it should. Marvel movies aren’t typically darker in tone, which is why they have been so successful. But this movie goes to places most superhero movies/any movie won’t. It deals with the fact that the death of half the universe is something they will have to live with and it is interesting seeing everyone’s different way of handling it. Tony Stark becomes a recluse from the world and lives away from everything with Pepper and his new daughter, Steve Rodgers is trying to console others, Natasha is trying to bring order, and (in the funniest shock of the whole film) Thor becomes a fat drunken grief ridden slob who berates children while playing Fortnite. All of these choices are true to the characters and makes sense given the circumstances of how they would act and given what happened in the previous movie.
Another thing this movie does excellently is how it subverts expectations. Most of the marketing was the same few scenes on repeat, and it was a good thing because a lot of the best things are how the movie is different from what you would expect. I already mentioned fat Thor, but other surprises that were a joy included Bruce Banner staying in Hulk form the entire movie with Banner levels of intelligence. However one of the biggest ones that may cause some issues is how Captain Marvel was in the film for a very short amount of time. I would say in total she maybe is on screen for 10 minutes total, which given how prominent she is in the marketing and how she is supposed to be the new defacto leader of the new Avengers going forward, it was a little disappointing to see her not in it a whole lot except for the beginning and ending battle. But bonus points for giving her the shorter haircut.
So I’ve gushed about what this movie does right, but what is the movie? Well, if you have seen Back to the Future Part II, imagine that but with superheroes. Given that they even reference it in the dialogue, it should come as no surprise. At it’s core, Tony Stark with the help of Scott Lang discovers that time travel is possible via the quantum realm. So because Thanos destroyed the Infinity Stones, the Avengers decide to travel back in time to retrieve them from the past, have someone on their team snap their fingers to undo the snap and then put them back in their original points in time. So on top of being BTTF2, we also get a bit of a clip show as the Avenger relive some of their past experiences. Tony, Steve, Scott and Bruce go to New York City 2012 the day of Battle of New York City occured (they jokingly mention that one the right day there are 3 stones in NYC), Thor and Rocket go to Asgard 2013 when Jane has the Aether in her, Natasha and Clint go to 2014 to retrieve the Soul Stone and James (War Machine) and Nebula go to Morag in 2014 to take the Power Stone. It’s fun seeing some of the scenes from other points of view and with additions. It is hilarious seeing the Avengers make the Hulk take the stairs instead of the elevator in Stark Tower because of the weight limit and hearing Hulk yell, “Hulk hate stairs,” is such a funny line and surprisingly is an important plot point. But of course things go wrong because of Nebula’s cybernetics, Thanos from 2014 gains word of their plan and swaps Endgame Nebula with 2014 Nebula to infiltrate the Avengers compound to take all the stones in one go rather than stone by stone like her was originally going to. So the plot is a bit all over the place, but it never gets too bogged down to be confusing. The pacing and focus are amazing with this film and it is very easy to follow, if you understand the basic laws of film time travel and how they seem to use the Doctor Who logistics of time travel (time not being linear except for the Infinity Stones which must be).
This film is anchored by it’s cast, which stays focused on the original six Avengers and all have their stories come to a great conclusion. But I need to talk about one character’s resolution before talking about the final battle, Black Widow. While her and Clint are trying to get the Soul Stone, the same rule applies where you need to make a sacrifice of someone you love to obtain the stone. Rather than last time, where Thanos throws Gamora over, Clint and Natasha actually fight each other to see who will die so the other can return the stone. In the end, Natasha sends herself down so Hawkeye can bring the stone back. And just like Gamora, the stones cannot be used to bring her back. It creates one of many moving moments that gives a fitting end to the first female Avenger.
So now the moment everyone was waiting for, the final battle with Thanos. After he jumped forward in time with his entire army to retrieve the stones and completely demolishes the Avengers compound after Hulk had snapped his fingers with a new Infinity Gauntlet to undo Thanos’s original snap, the final fight starts off with a three on one fight with Iron Man, Captain America and Thor fighting Thanos. Both sides are made to look strong and all heroes are given some great moments. But the one that made everyone cheer in my showing involved Captain America. Going back for context, when Thor went back in time to get the Reality Stone with Rocket, he also brought back with him Mjolnir, his hammer that was destroyed in Thor Ragnarok. Thor was using both Stormbreaker and Mjolnir in the fight with Thanos. So, in the final battle, Thanos is about to plunge Stormbreaker in Thor the same way Thor did to him in the previous movie. But out of nowhere, Mjolnir comes flying by and smack Thanos across the face. We then see it fly into Captain America’s hand with Thor saying, “I knew it,” a wonderful call back to Age of Ultron. My theater and myself included went nuts at this part. Shortly after this happens, Thanos uses his sword to actually chip away and practically destroy Captain America’s shield and he calls upon his army to join him on the battlefield. It creates an amazing visual of Captain America being the only Avenger left on the battlefield stand against Thanos and his entire army. And Cap being the person he is, tightens his shield straps ready to take everyone on. But before he can, we hears a call from Falcon.
This marks the halfway point in the fight and where it get absolutely insane because we then get all of the Avengers who were snapped away to return via transportation portals from Doctor Strange and the sorcerer army. But we also get the Wakandan army, the Ravager army and the New Asgardian army to join. And then all sides are equal and we FINALLY get Captain America to say, “Avengers Assemble!” At this point, my theater is going nuts and it matches what is one screen. 20 minutes of pure action battle goodness. I cannot begin to properly describe it, but it rivals any onscreen battle in cinema history.
Now the sad ending. At the end of the fight, Thanos has regained the new Infinity Gauntlet and is ready to snap away everyone to create a new universe. Several people try to remove the gauntlet, but none can. Doctor Strange said that there was a 1 in 14,500,000 chance they could beat Thanos. That one involved Tony Stark removing not the gauntlet, but the stones, putting them on his own Iron Man gauntlet and snapping away Thanos and his army. This action causes Tony to lose his life and what proceeds is 8 solid minutes of crying during the epilogue. We go through the funeral of Tony Stark and a final message from him which is incredibly depressing. Thor leaves New Asgard in control to Valkyrie and runs off to join the Guardians of the Galaxy, where Peter Quill is trying to find a way to get Gamora back. Steve Rodgers volunteers to return the stones to the points in time where they grabbed them, but makes a detour. During the stone heist, Steve and Tony had to make a detour to get the Tesseract and had to go to the 70’s to get it. While there, Steve saw Peggy Carter, a woman he promised a dance to in the 40’s, working at the location of the Tesseract. So rather than returning, he stays back in the 70’s to grow old with Peggy. The movie’s final shot is him and Peggy sharing a dance as a married couple as the screen cuts to black.
And that was Avengers: Endgame and holy cow does it deliver on everything it promised. It had action, it had heart, it wrapped up every major story line from the first 6 Avengers and I couldn’t have asked for a better movie. That being said, the complicated plot and a few plot holes do keep it from being my favorite of the MCU, but it is still number 2 right behind Infinity War. Overall, it is a movie I will hold in high regard. Now if only the Academy would do the same.