Note: This review contains minor plot discoveries for Avengers: Endgame . There are also large spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War .
Newness is probably the last thing anyone should really expect from the 22nd installment of a blockbuster franchise, especially one that serves as the main hub for a good 10 other franchises. But at least one aspect is the Avengers: Endgame outstanding: It is the first film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the decade of the deep parade of reliably entertaining but rarely transcendent superhero crushers, to feel as much as an exclamation mark as ellipses. Of course, finality is a relative difference for a story that is basically designed to never be completed, in the serialized tradition of its decade-running source material. (There will be more Marvel movies after this ̵
1; another will come in July.) But all the previous adventures, the teams or solo tours of the world’s most powerful heroes (and the galaxy’s goofiest guardian) kept an eye on next summer on the Next sequel, in the next step.
Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Cast] Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Karen Gillan, Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper, Don Cheadle, Josh Brolin, Brie Larson, Tessa Thompson
Theaters everywhere April 26
That’s not to say it’s independent. Far from. For one thing, Endgame ends the confusing cliff hangar of his predecessor, last summer’s breathless, inflated, intermittent exciting crossover event Avengers: Infinity War . That movie was charged as a kind of culmination, built as it was historically on the plots of nearly two dozen other films and on the obviously correct assumption that the audience would have considered itself (and kept information from) most of them. But in its undoubted conclusion, Infinity War was more of an ultimate inter-chapter – a very long secondary act with an admirably downward climax that was truly a glorified “continuing …”. Endgame is the true salary, at least as to how (if not so well) it takes everything to the head. Instead of teasing the presentations of the future, it looks backward, what comes before it – sometimes smart, sometimes quite literally, often with the exaggerated sensitivity of a very special episode. (It wouldn’t really be out of the Joe and Anthony Russo, who managed the chaos of the seminal sitcoms before going out on the tights-and-vibranium duty with the exceptional Captain America: Winter Soldier .)
In just over three hours It is almost entirely the greatest superhero movie ever. It is to written by scriptwriter Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, veteran of the genre at this time, that enough extended playing time is devoted to the fallout of Infinity War moments when little space dictator Thanos (Josh Brolin) successfully acquired all six of the imagined Infinity Stones used them to immediately reduce half of all life in the universe to ashes. While that movie hit the ground and started almost in the middle of the stage and then never slowed down from there, Endgame takes his time a little in the dust. After introducing and then cruelly exposing a glimpse of hope – a scene almost as gloomy, on its own flow, as the snap that shattered half of the extended family of Avengers – the movie time jumps into a new status quo of retirement and Despair
During this elegant early stretch, Endgame describes how each of the Avengers fighters have coped with their failure. That means we get scenes, for example, by the reformed killer Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) tirelessly following up on world protection cooperation, beating down desperation a mission at a time, and by sharpshooting Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) turning into a vigilante, taking his grief out on waves of criminals. This is not obviously Marvel’s big budget, big screen answer to The Leftovers extremely interesting but that can be. (To paraphrase a hit from the second comic book universe, the night tends to be darkest before dawn.) Instead, Endgame reflects the fun of Joss Whedon’s original Avengers by becoming, for one tag, a coherent story. This includes rallying rival contenders for the “strongest Avenger” title, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), including The Hulk. Both have undergone their own changes, which the film reserves for a couple of inspired comic revelations.
The middle hour of Endgame is mostly great fun. Without giving away the associated design, let’s say it’s about wrinkles in time – a preventive sci-fi gimmick that allows Marvel to pursue a Back to The Future II prison hunt through his franchise history , arranging cameos for familiar faces, to express their character’s desire to repair their mistakes. (If part one of this two-part story Avengers sometimes burst into Star Wars space-opera quadrant in the blockbuster cosmos, part two sometimes resembles a particularly dirty episode of cross-universe rival Star Trek complete with lots of layman quantum physics.) However, these scenes emphasize how little Endgame sometimes feels like their own movie – how much of it seems to exist just to puncture the end of an era, to act as an all-purpose falling action for the several interconnected followers who came before it. Russos does not develop so much relations that utilize the audience’s predetermined connection to them. This applies to what is to be the material’s meat: the injured friendship between Tony Iron Man, Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Steve Captain America Rogers (Chris Evans), two tired men who store the “superhero life” charge has taken on.
It is a more inventive but also a more decadent film than Infinity War which dramatically made its antagonist somewhat close to the main character. Thanos has finished his staggered version of a hero’s journey, looks, sounds and acts more like a warehouse. His tragic dimension is usually lost in the wind as well. The Russians again juggle a casting large enough to fill in a Robert Altman mosaic, and not always gracefully; one can send an entire review that tracks the location of the sprawling ensemble and explains how side players such as Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), Nebula (Karen Gillan) and new-minute heavy-hitter Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) factor in the film’s knotty narrative architecture. And even more so than its predecessor, Endgame can be an uneven mishmash of tones, a famous bowl of competing flavors. One minute, a panicked father searches his daughter’s name for a monument to the dead, the next a constant pile of stones dealing with a teenager on Fortnite . But it is true for the schizophrenic spirit of the Marvel series, because they would chase a sad meditative problem – the kind that covers the heroes gathered around a tombstone in its best formal wear – with a full stop dump to the reality bend theatrics.
What Endgame deals in spades are fan service. This is understandable: It is designed as a farewell to this chapter in blockbuster history, and perhaps, perhaps, perhaps, to some of the costumed characters on which the studio has built its empire. Mileage will vary in the latest splash panel, the all-hands-on-deck battlefield, a panorama of colliding CGI characters rivals through Ready Player One in pure volume of intellectual property rights merged as backyard figures. (Is it delightful, numbing, or a bit of both?) Similarly, the film is tearjerker ambitions; not since Furious 7 has a great Hollywood franchise film ending in a more naked maudlin notation – and there is a meta dimension here, although it is less literally eulogistic in nature, thankfully. A serious, exaggerated, fun-filled superhero melodrama, Endgame hits the buttons it wants to hit, and sometimes influential. If it never reaches the self-sufficiency of the best comic book extravaganzas, it’s because Marvel has told a story of living with failure and death, as in last year’s brutal good Spider-Man: Into The Spider Vers doing both seems … uncomfortable. It can be standard comic-book logic, but it is also business as usual with forever franchises, whose punctuation marks can always be backspaced.