Published on April 26th, 2019 | by Craig Silliphant0
Marvel’s massive follow up to Infinity War manages to not only put a satisfying ending on that movie, but on a decade of these movies.
I didn’t prepare for Avengers: Endgame by rewatching Infinity War. I didn’t prepare by rewatching any of the other Marvel movies. I didn’t prepare by buying a cool costume to wear to the screening. I prepared for this epic three-hour movie by dehydrating myself. I spent the day not drinking any water. And I certainly didn’t order a huge theatre pop or a beer, no way, no sir, no ma’am, no how. My ploy worked. I didn’t have to pee once during that elongated runtime.
I don’t want spoilers in this review, so I don’t think I want to tell you the full plot synopsis. But suffice to say, we pick up where we left off at the end of Infinity War. Our heroes are depressed and feel like they failed the world and their friends. So they set out to find a way to undo the havoc that Thanos has wrought upon the MCU.
I don’t have too much in the form of negativity to throw at Endgame. As I said, the movie is long, but it mostly feels justified. The first hour drags a bit, here and there, so it could probably use an edit. However, I have to be careful here — this first hour is also setting up the story, characters, and plants that will pay off once the second hour begins. And the last two hours of the movie breeze by the way Infinity War did. Yes, some of this is messy, but if we’re looking at all the plates they have spinning, it’s actually impressive that it’s as coherent as it is. It’s like there’s a guy behind a curtain, soaked with sweat, arms flailing wildly as he mashes buttons — but he’s mostly hitting the right buttons at the right moments.
There’s a lot of heart and humour in the film, which is standard with most of these Marvel movies. Sometimes they do that thing where the joke steps on an emotional moment, but it’s way less noticeable in Endgame. The rhythm and timing of most of the comedy is spot on.
I wasn’t prepared for how emotional Endgame would be, especially in the spinning, buzzing, pounding maelstrom of the movie unfolding. It still manages to find those human beats and utilize them well. Sometimes it’s a callback from an older Marvel movie, and sometimes from a more recent event in Infinity War. And of course, some big moments that I don’t want to spoil here. It definitely got dusty in the theatre more than once, and I could have used a big glass of water or beer to wash that lump in my throat down.
The action scenes are huge, sometimes to awe-inspiring effect, sometimes just rehashing the lazy third act CGI washing machine that is ubiquitous these days. However, there are good character moments within these scenes, so it still works better than your average dumb blockbuster. It’s not as well done as Infinity War, in more ways than just the action scenes, but it’s close.
It’s worth noting that what Marvel/Disney has built may be a juggernaut of a machine that is having ill consequences for the long-term sustainability of movies and the theatrical experience itself. But even cynics have to admit that it’s pretty damn remarkable. Those laughs and emotional beats work with a sort of shorthand because we know these characters. Heck, imagine if you were a younger person that has grown up with this universe — it would be further intertwined with your life, the way Star Wars was to my generation, only, with 20+ films instead of three.
Avengers: Endgame is a solid finale to Infinity War, but moreso, a worthy conclusion to the first few phases of the MCU. They didn’t take a shortcut to get to this moment in time. They took 10 years to build this. It all feels earned.