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.

Marvel character highlight #25: Thanos

Name: Thanos

Alias: The Mad Titan

Affiliation: Infinity Watch, Black Order

Special abilities: Superhuman strength, speed, stamina, durability, agility and longevity. Thanos is a genius-level tactician capable of telekinesis and telepathy, can survive indefinitely without food or water and is immune to all terrestrial diseases and death from old age. The Eternal can also project plasma energy.

Background: Thanos was born on the Jupiter moon Titan to Eternals A’lars and Sui-San. He quickly developed a taste for death, intensely falling in love with Mistress Death, the physical embodiment of death. To impress Mistress Death, he killed his many children and augmented his strength and powers. He also kills millions of fellow Eternals on Titan and travels to find the Cosmic Cube. He succeeds, wills himself to become omnipotent and allies with Adam Warlock. After betraying Warlock, he manages to acquire the Infinity Gems to create a weapon to destroy a star. He loses the gems, but regains them, using them to erase half the population of the universe to prove his undying love to Mistress Death. These actions are undone by Nebula and Warlock eventually, and Thanos later joins Infinity Watch as a path to redemption.

Relationships: A’lars (father), Sui-San (mother), Eros (brother), Mistress Death (eternal companion), many children including Gamora (adopted daughter), Nebula (adopted daughter)

First Versus appearance: Marvel Super Heroes

Appearances in other media:
Television: Silver Surfer (animated), The Super Hero Squad Show (animated), Avengers Assemble (animated), Guardians of the Galaxy (animated), LEGO Marvel Super Heroes – Guardians of the Galaxy: The Thanos Threat (animated), LEGO Marvel Super Heroes – Black Panther: Trouble in Wakanda (animated)

Film: The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 1, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame

Video games: Marvel Super Heroes, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, LEGO Marvel’s Avengers, Marvel Future Fight, Marvel: Contest of Champions, Marvel Puzzle Quest, Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series, Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, Fortnite Battle Royale, Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2, Spider-Man Unlimited, Marvel Powers United VR, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order