Wrapping up a saga that has spanned over a decade with almost 2 dozen films, multiple tie-in comics and TV Shows sharing the same continuity with an ensemble of ensemble characters in an expansive universe is a feat in cinematic and storytelling history, and this movie does just that. This movie is more than the latest instalment in a huge slew of films. It marks the end of something iconic, something that is to be engrained in pop culture mythos for generations to come. Something that the youth of this generation will reminisce fondly upon as they tell the story of Iron Man, Captain America and their friends to their children and grandchildren.
Before I get teary-eyed and start ranting all over the place, let’s start off talking about the film.
That deserves a pause right there, because – What. A. Film. With expectations soaring sky high, the film had to be perfect. There was so much emotion riding on it’s back and it is probably the last we see of some of the main characters in the MCU who have been a mainstay all these years. The stakes were high, both in-story as well as in real life. And the Russo Brothers delivered!
Forget all that you have seen in the trailers, forget all the rumours you have heard because you are in for a crazy ride. The runtime exceeds 3 hours by a minute – the longest for an MCU film thus far, but there isn’t a moment that you are left drifting awry because the pace is furious. To cram so much story into a 3-hour film is crazy but it just feels right. The film begins with an aesthetic not very dissimilar to the ending minute of Infinity War. A retired soldier spending time on his farm. Only this soldier has to come to terms with his family vanishing during the snap. It just is a callback to the horrific events of Infinity War and sets the mood for the rest of the film. Just how high the stakes are even for someone who wasn’t directly involved in the conflict.
Cut to space, where Tony is recording a message for Pepper. Yeah, the one that dropped in the trailers and had us all bawling our noses out. That one. What follows is freeway ride covering a lot of ground. From callbacks to some of the best moments in MCU history, to surprisingly delightful cameos – a lot of them! Many easter eggs from some of the most iconic moments in comic books make the rest of the film fan-servicing to the highest degree without taking anything away from the story. You realise the stakes are real, but you laugh at the corny lines and gags strewn all over. You see Tony and Natasha, Cap and Rhodey at their worst, still trying to come to terms with what has happened. You see the world still reeling from the shock, and learn from Captain Marvel that it is the same everywhere. In every planet in the Universe.
Another interesting thing about this film is that the buzz is mostly fan-generated. With Comic Cons becoming bigger and better each year, and Comic Book Movies proving to have enough material to please comic book fans, serious and casual moviegoers alike, it isn’t something unprecedented. When the whole world is looking forward to your movie, tickets get prebooked like hot cakes in a bazaar and everyone leaves the theatre with a smile on their lips and a tear in their eye, you know you’ve done a good job!
For all the positives I can list, the film isn’t without its faults. Messing with time always leaves plotholes and this is no exception. For a movie that spends a lot of time making fun of time travel movies before actually turning into one, the film comes surprisingly in the same wavelength. But if we have come to know Marvel and the Russo Brothers over the years, all will be addressed very, very soon. I think the small faults of the film take nothing away from the experience that is Avengers Endgame, simply because everyone is completely invested in the film at that moment. Eyes transfixed on the screens and the mind thinking only of what is happening. And I think, that is a filmmaking feat. To keep the audience spellbound and occupied till the last frame of the film.
The resumes of the performers speak for themselves, to be honest. There are characters like Iron Man, Hulk and Black Widow that we have known for a long time seeing their best and worst and the actors that play them embody those characters to the finest degree. How a self-centred, billionaire playboy becomes a hero, a husband, a friend, a brother, a father. How an orphan trained to be a ruthless assassin becomes the emotional pillar of the Boy Band. How two contrasting personalities and physicalities slowly make peace with each other. These are stories that these actors have been born to play. There are a few stray characters that kill the mood. I’m looking at Gwyneth Paltrow who somehow sucks the life out of every scene she is in. But that’s a small price to pay seeing that her scenes aren’t very much. There are some characters I wish they would have done a little more with, but its a 3 hour long movie with characters from 10 years worth of movies! There are just so many! They did manage to fit in a vanity shot of all the female superheroes doing ‘The Walk’ in there though. Even though it would have meant Wasp leaving Ant Man behind to do one of the most important fixes in the film alone!
A lifelong comic book fan, my first foray into the MCU was when Avengers released in 2011. The buzz around it was huge and the marketing machine at Marvel spared no expense in making sure it was an iconic one. The Battle of New York where the founding Avengers formed a circle to the sombre beat of the Theme Music had me jumping out of my seat. Literally. That fanboy moment comes back here, only multiplied a thousandfold in the inevitable team up that sees a much much larger force take on Thanos. It is surreal to see that unfold on the big screen, like poetry in fluid motion, to see something iconic play infront of you. The first time “Avengers Assemble’ is said on screen has you crying and smiling at the same time. It has your inner self bursting and screaming wildly as you sit there in your seat without making a sound, as does everyone around you because you don’t want to miss a scene of what is happening.
Endgame, isn’t just a movie. It is a tribute to the decade long tryst with the existing norm. It is the prologue to the wonders that are to come. It is a marvel in storytelling. It is the end of an era. It is one of the best comic book movies ever made. It is a gift.
Thank you, Marvel Studios for doing this in my lifetime.