REVIEW: Avengers Endgame – Spoiler-filled observations

CLICK HERE FOR A SPOILER FREE REVIEW

There aren’t adequate words to describe what a visceral and emotional and thoroughly satisfying movie this is. From the visuals, to the writing choices, to the way it ties literally every prior MCU movie into its grand scheme (in big and in small ways), Endgame is a film like no other. It’s huge, epic, and but for one minor complaint, entirely satisfying.

There were multiple moments during the third act where I thought to myself “if this was the last MCU movie ever, job well done.” I couldn’t have said that after Civil War or Winter Solider or Guardians of the Galaxy or Thor: Ragnarok. Great as those movies are they couldn’t have been the end of the franchise. Too many things would be left hanging, too many character arcs would be unfulfilled.

With Endgame, this felt like the end, the series finale, the final chapter. I know there are more movies coming; Black Widow is getting a prequel film, The Eternals and Shang-Chi are on the docket, Dr. Strange 2 is coming, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is back on the menu. Still though…

it feels like an ending.

If nothing else it feels like a reset. Two of the “big three” (Iron Man, Cap, Thor) are out of commission, two of the other three big Avengers (Natasha, Clint, Hulk) are too. The rest are mostly newbies with only one or two films under their belt. It’s going to feel lean, at least until X-Men and Fantastic Four finally debut. Endgame is, as its name sounds, very much an end to the core team of heroes we’ve enjoyed over the past eleven years. It’s fitting and wonderful then for it to be a movie that celebrates all that came before it.

You can check out our spoiler free thoughts on the movie HERE.

For those who have seen the movie, here are random reflections as I look back on the MCU’s big sendup to its ten year history…

CHARACTER ARCS

Captain America

Endgame at times, especially at the end, felt like the final Captain America movie more than an Avengers film. The arc of a hero lost in time (The First Avenger), who lost his faith in government (The Winter Solider), lost half his family (Civil War), lost an unloseable war (Infinity War) and finally won and decided to lay down his arms. Speculation before the movie surrounded whether he or Iron Man would die (or both); Cap’s exit was better than a noble death. He got to be the noble hero and then start over and just be a noble man.

Thor

His was the most surprising and yet absolutely fitting of the three. Of course the overly emotional Thor would have a breakdown after all he had gone through. He lost his mom, his dad, his country, his hair, and when he finally had his big moment to be the hero…he failed (and then failed again by getting to Thanos too late). All of those losses happened in such quick succession there wasn’t much time to process it all. Five years later he’s fat, drunk and done with it all. Of the big three, he was always the most likely to survive since it seems like his writers have only now finally cracked his character. His arc from cocky to defeatist to humbled would have been enough to carry the movie all by itself; remarkably it was just one of many satisfying plot threads.

Iron Man

Fittingly the movie ends where the franchise began. In hindsight it always made sense for Iron Man to make the sacrifice play. His character arc over the movie was probably the film’s best realized plot thread; Stark ended up the only man in the world whose life seemed to improve after the snap. He retired, settled down, and started a family. The writers did a great job giving Stark every reason to stay grounded and not get involved in the plot…until his old obsessions kicked back in. Giving him everything he ever wanted and then forcing him to have to sacrifice it all to save the day made for the perfect close to his arc.

THE PLOT

Even knowing the basic gist of the plot and having been spoiled by a rando on Reddit that Tony dies after snapping Thanos, I was still incredibly surprised throughout the movie.

There were so many cameos, little moments, and other winks and nods, not to mention some of the WAYS they went about the plot. I didn‘t see FatThor killing Thanos in act one happening. I didn’t see the Stark/Roger’s reunion starting off so bitterly, with an emaciated Tony basically throwing out an “I warned you about this!” before retiring to a happy ending before the five year jump.

I wonder though, what would have my response been had I gone in totally blind. It was the biggest love letter, fan servicey movie I’ve ever seen (in the best way) but the biggest part of that fan service was known to me a year+ ago (how the heroes were going back to past movies to gather their own stones).

I cant imagine how surreal it would have been to see “NEW YORK 2012” pop up mid-battle without knowing it was coming.

It was crazy enough knowing about it.

Bonus thumbs-up to Ant-Man running around the Battle of New York since he was originally supposed to be a Phase One hero and thus should have been there in the first place

As for the way the story broke down, it’s interesting the choices made in the story: The heroes get a victory over Thanos early on, but it was a hollow one. It was pyrrhic. Then, when they finally beat Thanos “for good” it’s not the one who actually caused their misery; it was the Thanos from six years before the snap. It wasn‘t phyrric but it still felt slightly unsatisfying all the same.

That’s really my only complaint with the movie, and it’s very minor as I understand why it was done and how it serviced the plot: Killing Thanos in Act One was hollow because it accomplished nothing; that’s fine because it’s Act One and the heroes need to start off on the wrong foot (that‘s good drama). But killing Thanos in Act Three was also hollow because he didn’t even know those heroes or the struggle they went through in the previous movie.

Case in point is Wanda. She pops down in front of him and says “you took everything from me!” He replied: “I don’t even know who you are.” That moment would have been more cathartic if she had been able to get back at the Thanos that killed Vision, and not some past version of Thanos that had no emotional connection with them.

But, as I say, that’s a minor gripe, not worth worrying about.

As for the basic heist plot in the middle of the film: It was executed perfectly. Drama (Stark and Stark), comedy (Quill singing without the soundtrack), action (Cap vs Cap), surprises (the first Sorcerer Supreme and ALL the cameos), you name it. The whole sequence was the very best of Back to the Future II, mixed with the very best of every previous MCU film, sprinkled throughout, in big and small ways, from beginning to end.

There really aren’t adequate words to describe what a visceral, emotional and thoroughly satisfying movie this is. It is, simply put, the best possible way to conclude a decade-long story. I am blown away.

10/10 – Bravo.

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