Before Avengers: Endgame even hit cinemas; it earned the moniker of ‘biggest film’ because of the over decade long journey to arrive at the ‘Endgame’, and Infinity War’s surreal and heartbreaking climax. When you finally sit down and watch this ultimate finale, directors Joe and Anthony Russo deliver a superhero bonanza that more than justifies its status as the ‘biggest film’ in cinematic history.
Avengers: Endgame kicks off a few days after Infinity War’s conclusion when Thanos snapped his fingers and wiped out half of the population. Tony Stark is stuck in space with Nebula, with only a limited amount of time left before the tools at his disposal stop working, and he runs out of oxygen. The remaining members of the Avengers are doing their best to track down Thanos so they can retrieve the infinity stones and bring everyone back.
The film does an excellent job at seemingly picking up right where the previous instalment left off. The narrative begins with a sombre tone. Despite almost all of our superheroes attempting to save the world once again, they are all broken down, stunned, and more importantly, desperate. They are desperately clutching to any semblance of the world they knew, or desperately trying to shield themselves from the reality of the situation. It’s a fascinating look at the evolution of the original six Avengers, and the slow build also justifies the three-hour runtime. Bruce Banner has finally found a way of controlling Hulk. Natasha shows a vulnerable side that audiences have never seen. Captain America struggles to find his trademark optimism, and Tony Stark looks to have hung up his Iron Man suit by finding a new home with Pepper Potts.
Thor’s evolution and reaction to the events in Infinity War is a shining example of the strengths in Endgame. Not only is his depression and the fact that he blames himself for Thanos succeeding in his mission understandable. It’s also a brilliant way of showing the struggles these characters have to endure. Along with finding a route back to fighting Thanos again, they all have to deal with a battle within themselves to allow them to have another chance at restoring the rest of the population.
Much like previous MCU projects, comedy plays a big part in our overall enjoyment of this film as well. Hemsworth’s Thor is also a fine example of how the creative team once again found an intelligent way of injecting this emotionally intense story with a great deal of humour. It’s become a given that every Marvel film will have plenty of comedic barbs, and fortunately, comedy does not force its way into Endgame. While Thor is dealing with serious emotional baggage, his depression turns our “seductive God of Thunder” into a much fatter hero. The visual of his belly is hilarious, and so are his lackadaisical actions and emotional breakdowns with Rocket.
When the team manages to build a functioning device to travel back in time to retrieve the stones, it proves to be a great move because it adds an element of risk to the characters’ journey as they only have one chance to go back in time. However, it also brings a great deal of nostalgia and a sense of closure for long-time fans because our heroes revisit infamous moments in previous Marvel films, in addition to Cap’ and Tony having heartfelt reunions with loved ones from the past. With this being the final chapter of this long story arc, the various emotions we experience during these scenes feels quite appropriate.
There’s a sense of inevitability with Avengers: Endgame. We know and expect a final battle between the Avengers and Thanos to materialize. We know somehow, someway most of the characters that have disappeared will return. However, writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have done a masterful job of giving us everything we expect, but not how we expect it. Whether it’s how Cap’ and co finally fight Thanos, how Gamora returns to the fold or the way Tony Stark and Captain America’s journey comes to an end. They constantly keep us on our toes.
One of the few complaints you could make about Endgame is the fact some moments lack the drama of Infinity War. A prime example of this is when Natasha and Hawkeye go to Vormir. Since we are already aware of what happens when someone wants the soul stone, the conclusion of this scene is far weaker than Infinity War’s scene in Vormir due it lacking the element of surprise.
The film’s finale is full of twists and turns that keep you on the edge of your seats. Joe and Anthony Russo excellently build anticipation for Thor, Cap’, and Iron Man versus Thanos, as Thanos sits and calmly explains his new plan to save humanity before engaging in battle. Although the climax is full of wonderful moments, Captain America standing side by side with all our favourite heroes, screaming “Avengers Assemble” is without a doubt the image that will stick in everyone’s mind long after watching this epic conclusion.
In the end, Avengers: Endgame meets and exceeds all expectations. It’s a breathtaking, emotional, and masterful piece of cinema.
Bonus Features & Deleted Scenes:
The Avengers: Endgame bonus features discuss the chosen topics in great detail, with a lot of interesting perspectives from different people involved in Marvel Studios. Much like the actual film does, it takes you back to many historical feats in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the feature on Robert Downey Jr. does this better than any other one you’ll find on the DVD.
Focusing on Downey not only shows us how far we’ve come since the beginning of this journey, which was Iron Man 1 in 2008. But it also takes us back to a time where our beloved Tony Stark was an undesirable property in Hollywood. That reminder, as well as the insight and some rare footage, make it a wonderfully informative and nostalgic special feature.
Chris Evans portrayal of Captain America is also a big topic, and it’s scary how much Evans’ real-life personality meshes with the character Captain America. Chris Evans had no real desire to be a ‘superstar’, and for that reason, he initially declined a place in the Marvel universe. If that type of modesty is not like our beloved Cap’, I don’t know what is. In addition to this, there’s a great series of clips from different films that show the evolution of Captain America. While we all know these characters have evolved over the years, watching specific actions and dialogues that show us this evolution is quite an experience, especially for diehard fans.
The highlight of the bonus features has to be the tribute to Stan Lee. We get so much excellent footage of Stan Lee sitting and interacting with stars like Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Paul Rudd. Also, we get to learn more about the man behind the cameos. His wonderful sense of humour, his mindset when he created these legendary characters all those years ago are on full display for fans to appreciate. It’s a touching tribute and a fitting bonus feature for a film that would not have existed without Stan Lee.
The DVD’s bonus features also focus on other characters from the original six Avengers, and there are deleted scenes and a rather amusing gag reel. However, one of the disappointing parts of these DVD extras is the lack of content. For a film that is as big and historic as Avengers: Endgame, one would expect a lot more extra content than what is available on this DVD. It’s a small complaint, but arguably a justifiable one.
The final line of the gag reel comes from Robert Downey Jr., and he said (with his classic wit and sarcastic tone): “I feel like I’ve given you all you could ever want.” It’s a line that felt like a fitting conclusion to our Endgame experience, as it is the swansong for Downey’s Iron man. An actor and a character who has, in fairness, given us everything we “could ever want.”
Dir: Joe and Anthony Russo
Scr: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Cinematographer: Trent Opaloch
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Brie Larson, Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper, Karen Gillan, Gwyneth Paltrow
Runtime: 181 Minutes
Avengers: Endgame is available on digital now will be available on DVD and Blu-ray on September 2nd.