MOVIE THEATER REVIEW: “Avengers: Endgame” stars Robert Downey Jr. (The Judge, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), Chris Evans (Snowpiercer, Fantastic Four ), Chris Hemsworth (Bad Times at the El Royale, Snow White and the Huntsman), Scarlett Johansson (Isle of Dogs, Ghost in the Shell ), Mark Ruffalo (Begin Again, Foxcatcher), Jeremy Renner (The Bourne Legacy, Wind River), Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda, Crash), Paul Rudd (The Fundamentals of Caring, Dinner for Schmucks), Karen Gillan (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Not Another Happy Ending), Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born, Silver Linings Playbook), Gwyneth Paltrow (Shakespeare in Love, Sliding Doors), Josh Brolin (Sicario, No Country for Old Men), Zoe Saldana (Avatar, Live By Night), Brie Larson (Room, The Spectacular Now), Tilda Swinton (Moonrise Kingdom, We Need to Talk About Kevin), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game, Star Trek Into Darkness), John Slattery (Spotlight, The Adjustment Bureau), Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker, Black or White), Sebastian Stan (The Martian, Logan Lucky), Tessa Thompson (Creed, Annihilation), Tom Holland (The Impossible, In the Heart of the Sea), Chadwick Boseman (42, Gods of Egypt), Evangeline Lilly (Lost [TV series], The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug), Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene, Ingrid Goes West), Tom Hiddleston (Early Man, The Night Manager [TV series]), Danai Gurira (The Visitor, All Eyez on Me), Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation [TV series], Jurassic World), Stan Lee (Spider-Man , The Avengers ), and so much more. It is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo (You Me and Dupree, Captain America: Winter Soldier), and written by Christopher Markus (You Kill Me, Pain and Gain) and Stephen McFeely (The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, Agent Carter [TV series]). In a climactic, final push to defeat Thanos (Brolin) and bring back all of their friends, the remaining Avengers band together and formulate a plan that may hold terrible consequences.
This is it, don’t get scared now. Eleven years, twenty-two movies, one final ending. It’s safe to say that the Russo Brothers had a lot on their shoulders. After delivering a monstrous, satisfying feature with “Infinity War,” we were all wondering what was next in store? How could you possibly end a franchise this size of scale? Honestly, you really can’t. I saw “Endgame” two Sundays ago, expecting a perfect ending to a riveting saga that goes back to when I was ten years old. I thought that this was the one to top them all; tears would be shed, hearts would be broken, and heroes would die. However, I should’ve went in with an open mind, because after several days of pondering this film, I’ve come to the conclusion that this isn’t the ending I necessarily wanted, but the one I received regardless. What does that mean? Well, it doesn’t mean “Endgame” is a bad flick. Rather, it doesn’t seek to close all doors, nor bring closure to certain aspects that you would want. Certainly, a lot of story arcs come to an end here, but not in ways you would expect. Much like the finale to “Infinity War,” this feature is chocked full of surprises, some for better and some for worse. All around “Endgame” is a highly entertaining feature that is unpredictable, unforgiving, and plainly a finale of epic proportions. This is it guys, there’s no turning back. Due to the whole ad campaign of not spoiling this movie, I don’t want to stress any big details that could ruin the experience for you. Instead, I will write a spoiler section below the trailer I’ve attached to this review. Until you see the film itself, I’ll only cover the larger picture of it all. First off, this is a fun flick. No question about it. For a story that is literally three hours long, it doesn’t feel like it, primarily because there is a lot going down within the frame. To give an ending to a lot of these heroes, you’ve gotta give them enough screen-time, as the Russos did with “Infinity War,” so it was expected to be a long affair. And man did they deliver on some awesome moments. The action sequences were stellar, the sad bits shedded tears, and the fun banter-filled parts breathed life that we knew these character possessed. You couldn’t say that you didn’t have fun watching “Endgame,” because there is a lot to chew on and take in. Honestly, you may have to see it twice just to fully wrap your head around it. I have yet to, but I figured I could pull this review out anyway. The story is vast and all-encompassing of our core six heroes from the first “Avengers,” plus a few wild cards. There are things in this that will shatter your world and moments that will come as no surprise. We know what to expect in “Endgame,” and for the most part we receive it, just not in the way we would expect. Getting into the nitty-gritty, the film was technically genius. The visual effects and cinematography were astounding (no surprise there). With every movie we should expect the visuals to keep improving, and “Endgame” doesn’t disappoint. There’s definitely a lot of sequences that utilize heavy CGI and deliver; it’s what gives us some of the most killer battle portions and are deserving of immense praise. The performances in this are also terrific. Not only were the actors at the top of their game in this, but the characters’ humanity were also carved out in a more defined way to allow them to really take their roles by the reigns. Notable performances include Robert Downey Jr., Karen Gillan, and Jeremy Renner, who all had pivotal roles in this feature. Granted, there were a lot of people involved in this final stand, but of course you can only focus on so many. For the most part, I was satisfied with the send-offs given to the characters, but there were cases where I was a tad disappointed. I don’t know if this stems from poor writing in those decisions or the fact that it’s difficult to see a wrap for these characters in general. I’ll discuss this further in the spoiler section, but for now, let’s move on. The score of this was awesome; not necessarily memorable, but it served its scenes well, and I really felt for moments more because of it. Thank you Alan Silvestri for that. Weaving through the different story arcs and establishing a flow would prove difficult for any filmmaker. The Russos were successful with it in “Infinity War,” and for the most part they were successful with it here. Really, the only issue that I have with the movie itself, besides a few nitpicks and story elements that warrant spoilers, is the fact that this film only serves the purpose of a wrap-up. Because this is the end to so many things, the story itself comes off as a winding down than a standalone epic. I get it, there’s no way these films can be standalones (at least at this point). However, “Infinity War” felt like a complete story beginning to end. Thanos was the centerpiece and fleshed out alongside characters we’ve known and loved for several years. I can watch “Infinity War” and feel more satisfied/full than I can with “Endgame,” and that mainly boils down to the fact that “Endgame” is a second part. It’s not meant to be it’s own, but rather the rest of an already begun story. I don’t mean this to be a huge hinderance when grading the film, but I will say that I enjoyed “Infinity War” more as an all-around feature. I may have to see “Endgame” again to fully get the picture (considering how I had to break my neck in the theater to look up at the screen), but I think I’ll still hold this opinion. It’s tough to see these characters go. Like I said, I’ve been growing up with them since I was ten years old with the release of “Iron Man.” So much has happened in my life, but the serial releases of this epic saga was always constant. To think of it ending would seem dastardly, but all things must come to a close eventually. I shed four total tears during this experience, all towards the final thirty minutes. The fact that it’s the last true “Avengers” movie I’ll see with my family in theaters warrants a tear in and of itself. Regardless of how “low” a score I’m giving this, I want to thank the filmmakers who made this journey happen; for giving us moments to cherish and bringing beloved characters to life that will forever live in our hearts. I am forever grateful, and as the late, great Stan Lee would say in a final moment such as this, “excelsior.” FINAL SCORE: 92%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer:
WARNING: SPOILER REVIEW SECTION BELOW!
Before I dive into this, I will let you all know again that THIS SECTION CONTAINS SPOILERS! It’s your last chance y’all. Don’t blame me for what you’re about to read. Anyway, what I really want to have this section for is to air my cons that are spoilerific. Did I predict several things to happen in this feature? Heck no. So many moments were a surprise, such as Thanos dying in the first ten minutes, Black Widow (Johansson) dying, and Captain America (Evans) wielding Thor’s (Hemsworth) hammer to name a few (which, by the way, was one of the most awesome moments of the entire release). There’s so much to unpack, but I want to stick to the issues so I’m not holding you all up too long. My biggest problem with “Endgame” is the conclusion to Cap’s story. I really hope there’s a deleted scene of some kind because I felt we got shortchanged with how they wrapped him and Bucky’s (Stan) relationship. In the final minutes of the movie, Cap only had a brief dialogue moment with Bucky, one that was more so jokey than anything, only to depart from the Winter Soldier and live the rest of his life in the past. What? He just left him? Just like that? Didn’t we have three Captain America flicks that focused on his unwavering friendship with Buck? Heck, Bucky was the centerpiece to the last two “Captain America” features! And you’re gonna tell me that he didn’t take the guy with him, let alone stay in the present for him? Yes, I loved the slow dance part with Peggy Carter at the end (one of my few tear moments), but I feel like there’s a huge character hole with how easy it was for Cap to separate from his best bud. And for his final dialogue moment to be with Falcon (Mackie) instead? Awful, just awful. The more I think about it, the more frustrated I get, so that’s why I hold out hope on some sort of deleted scene. Another issue I had was the character of Thanos. While the heroes do fight him in the end, it’s not the same guy. He saw all the memories his future self experienced, but he’s not the same guy who fought the Avengers in “Infinity War,” creating a slightly more emotional empty victory. Why not give further closure to Thanos and Gamora (Saldana)? I felt like there was more to that aspect when “Infinity War” came to a close. I guess not. Next, Black Widow’s death was completely void of anything. There was no build-up, no moment with Banner (Ruffalo), nothing. All there was was a final push off a cliff for that stinking soul stone again. The thing is, I didn’t think she was dead until we got to the third act. I never thought the filmmakers were serious about her departure, considering how brief it was. But who knows. Now that I know what happens, it might play off better the second time I watch it. Regardless, there was certainly more room for development for Natasha Romanoff, no doubt. And finally… Thor. While I found the god of thunder to be hilarious, it still saddens me how much of a baffoon the man has become. He had his epic moments, but they were few and far between. I liked him way better in “Infinity War” and wish they kept to that formula. While it was downright hilarious to see him fat, I would’ve really loved it if he was in a more serious position. But, whaddaya gonna do? It’s not my film. It’s these parts that lowered the score for me, and I just wanted to share them in case any of you have seen the movie or don’t care about spoilers. All in all, it’s a solid flick everyone should see. I was just disappointed in these things.