Welcome to the 45th edition of My Movie/TV Thoughts! Last fortnight I reviewed Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018) and Captain Marvel (2019). This fortnight, I’m reviewing:
- Avengers: Endgame (2019), rated M for violence
That of course is the Australian rating; in the United States, the film is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and some language.
As usual, I’ll give the trailer and a clip at the end. And as usual, just to be safe, I offer the following disclaimer:
WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD. PROCEED AT OWN RISK.
This is one of those movies that’s so damn good, when I go to review it, I’m thinking “Where do I start?!” Alongside Infinity War, this is THE pinnacle of superhero filmmaking, the piece de resistance of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and one of the greatest films ever made.
23 days after Thanos (Josh Brolin) used the Infinity Gauntlet to kill half of all life in the universe, Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) rescues Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) from deep space and they reunite with the remaining Avengers—Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), and James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) – and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) on Earth. Locating Thanos on an uninhabited planet, they plan to use the Infinity Stones to reverse “the Snap”, but Thanos destroyed the Stones to prevent further use. Enraged, Thor decapitates Thanos.
Five years later, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) escapes from the quantum realm. At the Avengers’ compound, he explains that he experienced five hours, not 5 years, while trapped. Theorizing the quantum realm could allow time travel, they ask Stark to help them get the Stones from the past to reverse Thanos’ disintegrations in the present. Stark refuses, thinking about his wife Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and daughter Morgan (Lexi Rabe), but relents after musing over Peter Parker (Tom Holland). Stark, Rocket, and Banner, who has since merged his intelligence with the Hulk’s strength, build a time machine. Banner notes that changing the past does not affect their present; any changes create alternate realities. In Norway, Banner and Rocket recruit an overweight Thor in the Asgardian refugees’ new home New Asgard. In Tokyo, Romanoff recruits Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), who had become a vigilante after the death of his family.
Endgame is the longest Marvel film to date and yet I hardly noticed the time fly by. The first half of the film – over an hour – is “slow”, focusing on the characters, their struggle to accept the new reality, and the realisation that maybe something could be done about it. There’s no action (apart from the opening). No villains. Nothing that you’d expect from the first half of a Marvel film. And yet it’s never boring, and quite engaging, and I quite enjoyed it. I didn’t even notice the amount of time it took up until I glanced at the clock when it started getting into the action. THAT is what I call filmmaking.
The movie further demonstrates Marvel’s and the Russo brothers’ talent in jumping from the character and dialogue driven first half into the exciting and action-packed second half.
Like Infinity War, Endgame juggles an enormous amount of characters – and locations, and locations in time – yet they keep their characters authentic and likeable and realistic, and keep us rooting for them the whole time. Marvel and the Russos once again demonstrate their great talent when it comes to characters.
And when it gets into the action, it is awesome – particularly the climax, which is one of the best, most intense, most tense, most exciting movie climaxes I’ve ever seen, and has one of the highest stakes. It’s true, epic, edge-of-your-seat, end-of-reality-if-we-fail action. I was hooked for every second of it!
Not to mention the Avengers Assemble scene in the climax, one of the greatest things ever put to screen. (Also a bit emotional.)
The visuals are spectacular too!
And it really is quite emotional.
Both Infinity War and Endgame truly establish Thanos as one of the greatest comic book villains ever adapted to screen. He is once again a man (er, alien) of principle who does what he does for the greater good – at least, that’s how he sees himself.
Avengers: Endgame is one of the greatest films ever made, and one of the two greatest Marvel films ever made – alongside Infinity War. If you haven’t seen these two, you’re seriously missing out.