Avengers Endgame Review

The Plot

In the aftermath of failure in their climactic battle with Infinity Gauntlet wielding Thanos,  the remaining Avengers unite to search desperately for a way to bring back the half of all life in the universe that has been cruelly wiped out of existence by ‘the snap’.

The Good

It’s an unquestionable delight for fans to see Marvel’s combined cinematic universe pooled together on screen for perhaps the last time, at least on this scale. It’s important to remember just how unprecedented it was for Marvel to assemble their Avengers in the first place and it’s a testament to the strength of the universe they built that it’s possible for almost every character to seamlessly integrate into this final chapter.

As with Infinity War, Endgame gives some characters more screen time and satisfying development than others. Inevitably those characters that felt neglected and overlooked last time tend to be given the greater prominence in this chapter. In particular characters like Hawkeye, Ant-Man and Nebula are brilliant examples of how the scale of the franchise has allowed even seemingly simple supporting characters to grow with surprising depth. All three are on scene stealing form this time.

Meanwhile many of the the key figures in the MCU clearly reach the end of their journeys in ways which are by turns either bittersweet, surprising, amusing or outright heart-warming. While there is at least some tragedy along the way, it’s nothing compared to the crushing conclusion of Infinity War, that emotionally sucker punched fans in such a deeply brutal way. To that extent Endgame definitely serves a valuable purpose by giving fans some much needed catharsis and restoring considerable joy to the MCU.

Speaking of joy, while Endgame has plenty of drama and seriousness it also follows the by now well established Marvel template of marrying this with a frequent stream of one liners and tongue in cheek gags. There’s certainly many moments and lines sure to prove instant fan favourites and ready made for lingering meme status.

Above all perhaps Marvel deserve credit for managing to keep so much of Endgame so firmly under wraps, allowing fans to enjoy this huge blockbuster experience with a genuine sense of mystery and excitement. Even if social media has become an instant minefield for those that haven’t rushed out to see Endgame instantly, at least Marvel didn’t ruin the experience by drowning fans with promotional material that gives away the entire film. A mistake so many studios fall into. Marvel have trusted fans to remain loyal to the franchise and this is yet another massive 3 hour reward for that patience.

The Bad

Avengers Endgame had a near impossible task of finding a way to draw a 22 film saga to a suitably epic and satisfying conclusion. While obviously impressive in both scale and spectacle it’s a little unfortunate that unlike Infinity War and some of the standalone films, Endgame feels slightly less carefully crafted with a narrative that leaves some obvious plot holes and logical inconsistencies which may prove difficult to entirely ignore.

Ironically the most special thing about Marvels shared cinematic universe had always been just how painstakingly well integrated each story was. Marvel took the unprecedented time and effort to ensure that unlike other franchises, such as the increasingly messy DC Comics, X-Men or Star Wars sagas, the MCU had a near perfect continuity. Having succeeded for so long in preserving that easy to follow shared narrative, it’s a little sad to see Marvel perhaps fall down at the final hurdle. Endgame risks that consistency somewhat with a plot built around sci-fi clichés that leaves far too many obvious questions unanswered.

Beyond overall issues many fans might have with dubious plot points in Endgame, the most divisive issue will likely be how the film handles some of Marvel’s most popular characters. It’s genuinely shocking just how much at least a couple of key characters are unrecognisably changed for this final chapter. In fact at least one of the core Avengers cast is completely reduced to the status of being purely comic relief. While some fans may enjoy this surprising twist, others will no doubt be dismayed to see one of their favourite Marvel character turned into a walking punchline for this important final chapter.

Endgame also features some fairly heavy handed attempts by Marvel to address lingering criticisms about the alleged lack of diversity in the MCU. Perhaps the clearest example being an embarrassingly awkward instance where the film conveniently gathers all its female characters together around the MCU’s last minute poster girl Captain Marvel. It serves no real purpose other than as a token flag waving gesture.

What’s even more ironic is that having hastily introduced Captain Marvel with her own recent film, the supposed new face of the MCU is actually an almost non-existent presence in this film. Brie Larson is given mere minutes of screen time and contributes far less than some of Marvel’s most minor figures. It almost makes it baffling why Marvel rushed the introduction of the character before Endgame rather than just using her as a more natural fresh start afterwards.

The Ugly Truth

Avengers Endgame is an unprecedented event in cinematic history and its record breaking box office glory is already assured. Although undoubtedly certain specific elements are likely to fiercely divide fans, overall there’s still vast amounts for everyone to enjoy, especially for those willing to actively forget about logic and just enjoy the ride.

Review by Russell Nelson

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