Property Review: Avengers Endgame

Photo cour­tesy of IMDB.com

Assem­bled great­ness completed

Avengers: Endgame
Mar­vel Stu­dios, 2019

We’re in the endgame now.” Dr. Strange was and always has been pre­scient about the sit­u­a­tion at hand. Whether it’s his own bat­tles with the likes of Dor­mammu or Shuma Gorath or fac­ing off against Thanos, the Sor­cerer Supreme of Earth is always plan­ning and stark about the real­ity of what­ever hap­pens to be going on. In this instance, in Avengers: Infin­ity War and Avengers: Endgame, Strange was the most grounded and gave the most sober­ing assess­ment of all: The Avengers were going to lose before they won.

Based on Strange’s assess­ment in Infin­ity War, you’d think Endgame would be some bleak tale of revenge and that’s it. Tech­ni­cally, Endgame does begin as that, but it morphs into some­thing more. It’s a tale of loss, hard choices, joy and sur­vival. And, yes, revenge. It’s a do-over on some lev­els also. See, here, the Avengers who sur­vived “the snap­pen­ing” in Infin­ity War have to go on. They’re liv­ing day to day with­out their com­rades, friends, loved ones and mentors/mentees. Life is bleak, with mon­u­ments to those lost when Thanos took out half of the universe’s pop­u­la­tion with a flick of his wrist and a twitch in his gaunt­let. Time has, at once, stood still and moved on for those still around. They’re find­ing ways to cope and that’s the meat of the first third. It’s a bril­liantly decon­structed look at the world in which the Avengers did not win. The vis­ceral raw emo­tion of Avengers cop­ing, and the world at large is beau­ti­ful and simul­ta­ne­ously heart­break­ing. Of all the Avengers, Thor and Hawk­eye are depicted as hav­ing the most pain with Black Widow a close sec­ond. It’s the train wreck that you can’t look away from and feel in your soul.

From that wreck, how­ever, in the sec­ond act rises the phoenix of the Avengers and their allies. The most genius among them — Scott Lang, Hulk and Tony Stark — fig­ure out a way to effect time travel. They engi­neer a way to travel to dif­fer­ent points on their estab­lished time­line to retrieve the Infin­ity stones and bring every­one back. This makes for great com­edy and revis­its of some of the cin­e­matic universe’s most mem­o­rable moments. Pop cul­ture bits (such as America’s Ass for Cap­tain America/America’s sweet­heart Chris Evans and “Hail Hydra,” also for Cap) even make their way in, light­en­ing the mood a bit. But alas, as you make one stride for­ward, there will always be another that takes you back. Hard choices must be made in order to see some gain, or so Mar­vel would have you believe. So, yes, you’re going to say good­bye to some fan favorites and yes, this is sig­ni­fy­ing that their time with the fran­chise is com­ing to an end. How­ever, it’s han­dled well, and it invokes emo­tion so much so that young chil­dren will cry at the thought of los­ing their favorite superhero.

And, for a minute, let the edi­tor just step back and rem­i­nisce about the expe­ri­ence of see­ing the cur­rent crop of Avengers gath­ered together for likely the last time. When there was a piv­otal death, at the most piv­otal moment — yes, THAT death — there was not a dry eye in the house. A young child, no older than 6 prob­a­bly, cried her eyes out. Adults around us, includ­ing the edi­tor, snif­fled and cried as though we had lost a beloved fam­ily mem­ber. THAT is how you do a proper send­off to a beloved char­ac­ter and that is how you wrap up a story, one of redemp­tion and self­less­ness for the char­ac­ter and the actor in real life.

Every beat hit and every note cleanly marked is the hall­mark of these Avengers movies and Endgame was no excep­tion. Threads from the early days were neatly wrapped and char­ac­ter invest­ment paid off for nearly every­one. It was enough that when the lights came back up, the movie received a stand­ing ova­tion and nearly every­one waited for a mid-credits scene that would never come. THAT is how you wrap 11 years and 22 movies into a neat pack­age and remind every­one that you’re the mas­ter of the genre. That is how you thank your fans for tak­ing the time to care and get to know your ensem­ble cast through indi­vid­ual movies and properties.

That’s Mar­vel, baby.

Like the comics?: 6
Cast­ing: 10
Writ­ing: 10

Over­all score: 26 out of 30 or 8.6

HOW WE GRADE
We score the prop­er­ties in three cat­e­gories: Cast­ing (or voice act­ing in cases of ani­mated), plot and sim­i­lar­i­ties to its source mate­r­ial. Each cat­e­gory receives points out of the max­i­mum of 10 per cat­e­gory and 30 over­all. The per­cent­age is the final score.

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