Review: 'Avengers: Endgame' ties up loose ends and unties many more
The most hyped film of the year is finally upon us, probably the most hyped film since Star Wars came blasting back on to screens after a decade’s hiatus in 2015.
The film has been guarded with such close secrecy, and with the internet so rife with would-be spoilers and leaks, you probably feel you know at least 10 different versions of the plot by now.
We won’t credit any of those spoilers with the honour of a confirmation or denial, and we certainly won’t reveal that Batman parachutes in from the DC Universe in a shock plot twist, or that it ultimately falls to oft-forgotten 1980s Brit super hero Banana Man to restore order to the universe through judicial use of potassium-heavy smoothies.
What we can reveal, plot-wise, is what is already widely known. The film picks up where Infinity War left off. Half of all life in the universe, including half our heroes, has been killed off in “The Snap” by the twisted villain Thanos, and our remaining heroes are trying to pick up the pieces and, hopefully, find a way of undoing the massacre.
We also know that in between those two films, Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel has been introduced with her own origins film, and that she will play some role in the events of Endgame.
When the main section of the movie gets under way, five years after the events of Infinity War, our remaining heroes are coping in a variety of ways. Some have tried to continue their good work in a reduced capacity, some have slipped back into what remains of regular society or taken to attending Snap survivor support groups, and some have simply fallen apart.
Thor (Hemsworth) in particular, is doing a great job of channelling Jeff Bridges’ The Dude, the lovable layabout from The Big Lebowski, in an amusing and entirely self-aware manner.
Naturally, this being a superhero movie, a slim possibility of reversing the past comes to light, and a core group of Avengers, led by Captain America (Evans), Black Widow (Johansson) and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) have to try and reassemble the old team which, things being as they are, isn’t easy.
The film is less bombastic and more sombre in tone than many of its predecessors, understandably given recent events in the Marvel Universe. The gags are still there but they’re an occasional light relief rather than the comedy roller coaster of an Ant Man or Guardians of the Galaxy instalment.
The huge action set pieces that are synonymous with Marvel are foregone for much of the film too, in favour of more intimate moments. With the Avengers working in small teams for much of the movie, we get to learn more about some of the peripheral characters and the relationships between them.
Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) in particular, who has become something of a running joke among fans over the course of the previous 21 MCU films for being at best a peripheral character, and at worst a pointless one, finally gets some much-needed padding out. He even finally does something useful.
But when the set pieces do come, audiences won’t be disappointed. The final battle scene is a climax worthy of bringing this monumental 22-film chapter in the MCU to a close, and makes the epic final Wakandan battle of Infinity War look like a BBC period drama in comparison (that is no disservice to either BBC period dramas or Infinity War. This is simply on another level).
As for if, and how, our heroes manage to work their way out of their predicament, we’ll leave that for you to find out yourself. Suffice to say that any number of the theories circulating could claim some degree of truth, such is the twisting and turning nature of the story.
And the theories that many of our favourite characters would be killed off for good, regardless of efforts to undo The Snap? Again we're giving nothing away. But we will say that while the film certainly successfully acts as the closure of one chapter, it also leaves plenty of avenues open for a new one.
For all the Russo Brothers’ undoubted talent, they’ve set themselves a huge challenge by releasing a film that clocks in at over three hours for mainstream audiences. As someone that watches many films, I generally subscribe to the common theory that two hours is plenty of time to spend sitting in a cinema.
When films cross that barrier, I find the most objective way of judging how well events are holding your attention still is at exactly which point you check your watch after that crucial 120-minute point has passed (or sometimes before). In this case, it was right after the final credits rolled.
At the world premiere on April 22, the stars of the movie took to a Thank You Cam, to thank the fans.
Check out what the likes of Chris Hemsworth, Danai Gurira, Paul Rudd and Elizabeth Olsen saying their thank yous here:
Updated: April 24, 2019 10:19 AM