The below piece on Avengers: Endgame contains spoilers, so please read it at your peril.
Eleven years and twenty-one films, the Marvel Cinematic Universe culminates in its most ambitious and affecting swansong- Avengers: Endgame. It provides the emotional wallop you deserve and hits you in your guts with a poignant farewell – The farewell that these characters deserve more than their fans, and begs you to move on. How difficult it will be to move on entirely depends on how emotionally invested you are in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but move on – you must.
Every film in the expansive Marvel Cinematic universe is smartly and patiently woven in the overarching narrative; even if you are a passive superhero films’ viewer, the grand visual spectacle balanced with moments of quiet character development would draw you in the universe and gradually create an emotional space. “Avengers: Endgame” gathers those lovable characters for a grander celebration of achieving an impossible – the sprawling narrative spread across multiple galaxies and timeline, and it works impeccably.
‘Avengers: Endgame’ is not a perfect film. It has its share of flaws. It relies on deus ex machina to resolve the puzzling situation and reduce it to the tried and tested formula of the time machine. Although, I am glad that Anthony and Joe Russo settled for the alternative timeline narrative rather than fixing it. The film also fails to tie certain events and characters neatly. Having said that, goddamn! It was an exhilarating experience.
Related: Ant-Man (2015): Miniature Dreams
After the catastrophic event that brought Avengers to their knees, wiped-off half of the world population including some of the most beloved superheroes with just a snap, Avengers: Endgame opens with the remaining Avengers grieving deeply for the loss of humanity, their friends & family, and above all, their failure to protect the earth. They pick up the pieces and try to move on, negotiate the remaining life with finding a purpose. Avengers Infinity War was a thrilling face-off between a man with the purpose of balancing the universe and superheroes resolving their differences and coming together to stop Thanos from getting the six infinity stones. It was laced with frenetic energy and swift pace with many parallel subplots working in sync. Whereas Endgame is tactically designed and leisurely paced for the most part of it. Rather than paving the path for full-blown CGI action scenes, Endgame thrives on the moving character dynamics and restrained narrative that patiently builds for the third act.
The first act sees the existential examination of the superheroes plunged in guilt and despair. It has a mournful tone to it, almost elegiac. It’s the first time we witness superheroes’ vulnerability in a sustained way. We get to see people behind the suit, broken, helpless and suffering from survivor’s guilt. It doesn’t work entirely as some scenes overstay their welcome while a few are redundant in the larger scheme of saving the world.
Avengers Endgame Trailer.
The second act offers a nostalgic ride to the iconic moments of earlier films that would fill you with giddiness – Especially if you are a loyal Marvel fan. It does fan servicing in galore. It injects a hope, a chance to revive, a way for remaining superheroes to redeem themselves. It gives Thor and Iron-man the needed opportunity for closure in their personal lives. It’s inspiring and absorbing. The issue with the act is that it recycles everything from our guilt trip to cover up for the lack of any plot development.
It gradually sets the pieces for the final showdown. The battle we all waited for. The inevitable to be disputed. And it doesn’t disappoint with the magnificently staged battle scene, even though I found the gathering of all the superheroes through time portal quite cheap but it gave bang for every buck and some more. I found myself wallowing in the fan moment. It does come with another hiccup where it tries to address the inclusiveness of gender problem. In a forced moment, the female superheroes assemble against the evil force to take them down. There is nothing wrong with female superheroes coming together, after all, it was Captain Marvel who saved Iron Man in the space, but it’s just that it felt pretty inorganic in staging.
Avengers: Endgame is a fitting finale and a perfect farewell for the superheroes and their fans. It delivers more than what it promises. Kevin Feige started the franchise with a gamble – he picked the lesser known superhero Iron-man. He took a risk by hiring Director Jon Favreau and casting unpopular choice, Robert Downey Jr. for the role of Tony Stark. The gamble paid off. We unanimously loved “a genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist” Iron-man. Even at that time, no one would have foreseen Avengers would come so far and become a global phenomenon.
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Avengers: Endgame Cast – Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan, Danai Gurira, Bradley Cooper, Josh Brolin
Avengers: Endgame Runtime – 182 minutes