11 years, 22 films and 80 years of comic history, Marvel’s Avengers Endgame is a cultural event. It is the culminating film in the current era for Marvel Studios, which began in 2008 with Iron Man, and is a love letter to the fans as it follows on from the devastating Avengers: Infinity War.
“This movie is a labour of love by a group of people passionate about the story and the source material”
Having already recorded the highest pre-sale numbers of all time, it is no understatement to call this the most anticipated film of the 21st century. The weight of this anticipation is carried by writers Christopher Marcus and Stephen McPheely and directors Anthony and Joe Russo after their previous films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War) all gained universal acclaim. And once again, this team fail to disappoint. Much like their previous entries, it is abundantly evident that this movie is a labour of love by a group of people passionate about the story and the source material. It is impossible to overstate the role of Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, whose singular vision has brought the MCU to this point.
“Each arc feels unique and true to character”
Following ‘The Snap’ in Infinity War, the remaining Avengers are left stunned, wracked with survivor’s guilt and thirsty for revenge. Through this we see how each character comes to terms with the loss and tries to rectify it. Each arc feels unique and true to character. Although being an enormous scale action film, the Russos are masters of character building. Throughout the history of the MCU its success can be largely credited to the relatability of its characters, and Endgame wholly encompasses this ethos. One of the most compelling relationships is that between Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) who have always been ideologically opposed. There is still a great deal of resentment from Tony following the events of Civil War, yet both characters realise that if they have any chance to fix The Snap and defeat Thanos, they must do so as a team.
“This is maybe [Downey, Jr.’s] finest performance to date”
Downey, Jr., the figurehead of the MCU, gives a breathtaking performance as the billionaire playboy, turned broken man, guilt ridden over losing Peter Parker (Tom Holland). This is maybe his finest performance to date. Equally, Evans, Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff) and Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton) impress, offering emotional performances. Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner), who was one of the weaker parts of Infinity War, seizes the chance to redeem himself. One of the more surprising performances was that of Paul Rudd as Scott Lang who proves that as well as being a supreme comedian, he is a serious dramatic actor.
“[Thanos] feels less sympathetic and more sadistic than before”
As with any film, it is not entirely without its flaws. With so many characters to cram into these films it is difficult to do justice to every character, however, the two most compelling characters in Infinity War – Thanos (Josh Brolin) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth), fall to the wayside somewhat. It is a shame because Thor’s motivations are very strong following the guilt he feels over failing to stop Thanos in Infinity War, yet here they are too often played for laughs. Thor seems out of character in Endgame, a rare miss from the Russo’s who usually keep the characters so tonally consistent. Thanos, despite still being the best villain in the MCU (though a case could be made for Loki), his motivations don’t feel as compelling as before. This is to some extent inevitable as he has less screen time and has already succeeded in his task. Nonetheless, he feels less sympathetic and more sadistic than before.
“Endgame ups the stakes with a battle on a greater scale than ever before”
I would be remiss not to mention the action. Whilst Infinity War had great action set pieces, Endgame ups the stakes with a battle on a greater scale than ever before, comparable to the epic Battle of Helm’s Deep in Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers. The choreography is flawless and the CGI is stunning. It is the perfect way to pay off the arcs of the original six Avengers, who each have a truly earned heroic moment.
Avengers: Endgame is an emotional, thrilling film, filled with brilliant moments of fan service. It draws a satisfying, cathartic conclusion to the current narrative, allowing new characters to enter the spotlight and lead the next era for the MCU, whilst leaving the door slightly ajar for future returns. Is Avengers: Endgame as good as Infinity War? Only time will tell, but it is a cinematic masterpiece which everyone involved will feel very proud of.
Featured Image courtesy of Marvel Studios Official Facebook Page.