Movie Review: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ (Second Opinion)
***THIS IS A NON-SPOILER REVIEW***
You can read gfunk’s spoiler review here!
Plot: In the wake of Thanos’ snap, half of the universe’s life has been dusted. The remaining Avengers must deal with the aftermath of their brutal loss. When an opportunity presents itself to right Thanos’ actions, the Avengers band together in a desperate attempt to save the universe. Whatever it takes.
Review: I’m old enough to remember when superhero movies were a novel concept. Growing up in the late 80s and early 90s, action films from directors like John McTiernan, Michael Bay, and John Woo dominated the day. Granted we got an occasional Batman film here and there, but audiences were also subjected to dreck like Judge Dredd.
And then Marvel came along and changed the landscape forever.
Beginning with 2008’s Iron Man, Marvel and Disney began an eleven year odyssey that’s encompassed, with Endgame, twenty-two films to date. Think about that for a second. Almost two dozen movies set within the same cinematic universe. That’s unprecedented.
Yet the Russo brothers were presented a daunting task. Endgame is the culmination of eleven years of Marvel films featuring multiple superheroes with vast ranging story arcs. It was vital that they stick the landing and deliver a satisfying conclusion to this era of Marvel films. Endgame couldn’t be just OK. It had to be great.
But this movie isn’t just great, it’s SPECTACULAR. The Russo brothers didn’t just stick the landing, this is a Mary Lou Retton at the 1984 Olympics accomplishment. I am in awe of how the Russo brothers were able to accomplish this feat. This movie thoroughly delivers. It’s blockbuster filmmaking at it’s finest, on a level that I haven’t witnessed since 2003’s The Return of the King.
What’s fascinating about Endgame is how it stands apart from Infinity War. Obviously the events of that film carries a significant impact with Endgame, however this isn’t merely Infinity War Part II. There’s a pathos and emotional resonance about Endgame that I didn’t see coming. As an audience we get to see what it’s like for the Avengers to deal with such a crippling defeat especially in that first hour. Some might call the first hour slow but I highly disagree. In fact I think that first hour is essential when you weigh it against what comes after.
Endgame doesn’t work without a great screenplay and Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely’s script is pitch perfect. In fact I’d argue that of all the previous Marvel films, Endgame stands head and shoulders above any that’s come before. Markus and McFeely mix humor and tragedy with top-notch action and plenty of moments (especially in the third act) that will have you geeking out all over the place. The reason that audiences’ love these movies is because we are emotionally invested in the characters and Markus and McFeely understand that completely. There’s real stakes for all involved and real consequences, some tragic, for our beloved heroes. Every character gets their time to shine. However, I have to say I was particularly impressed with the character arcs given to Captain America, Iron Man, and especially Thor. Thor’s arc left me appreciating the humor and empathetic to his plight at the same time.
The fact that Markus and McFeely’s script is so solid allows for the Russo brothers to focus on the spectacle. Too often in blockbuster filmmaking the former is sacrificed in favor of the latter. However, both in my opinion have equal billing. The spectacle, especially in the last thirty minutes, is on par with anything we’ve ever seen in the entire history of Hollywood. There are shots that days later are still burned into my brain. Credit to Trent Opalach whose cinematography somehow tops Infinity War. You owe it to yourself to see this film on the biggest screen possible. Trust me, see this sucker in IMAX or you will be missing out.
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention Alan Silvestri’s brilliant score. This is without a doubt his best score since Back to the Future and funny enough both Endgame and the 80s classic are linked in a fundamental way. In time Endgame‘s score will be as recognizable as The Godfather, Jaws, or Star Wars. It’s that good. In fact I would be shocked if Silvestri isn’t nominated for an Academy Award for best original score next year. He’s got my early vote to win.
Many have made mention about the runtime of Endgame as it clocks in at just over three hours. To me it felt like five minutes. The time just flew by and not a single scene felt superfluous or wasted. Endgame was probably the first film since The Dark Knight where I felt the full communal weight of the theater going experience. It was as if the audience was a single entity. People were into this movie in a way I’ve rarely experienced. People were shouting, cheering, laughing, and sobbing at various points throughout the film, myself included. By the end my heart was full and if I could have I would have immediately sat through another showing right then and there. (Indeed with the global box office already surpassing $2 billion I’m clearly not the only one who feels this way.)
Endgame truly marks an end of an era with Marvel. The MCU obviously will continue from here but I can’t help but wonder how the Hell they top this. Endgame is a triumph and hands down the best movie I’ve seen so far in 2019.
My rating System:
0-1 God Awful Blind Yourself With Acid Bad
2 Straight Garbage
4 Sub Par
8 Very Good
10 A Must See
Avengers: Endgame: 10/10