Eleven years, twenty-two films and a legacy that will never be matched in entertainment again. That is what Marvel Studios has accomplished leading up to the final chapter of this tale. What many believed wouldn’t last, lasted a decade. What many believed would lead to “superhero movie fatigue” culminated with a record breaking sixty million dollars for a Thursday night opening. Over eleven years, not all the films were great, but the past decade showed us that patience, casting, character-driven stories, and flat-out entertainment is sustainable in the film industry. What Marvel Studios has done probably won’t ever be replicated, not on this scale. And it all led up to this, the endgame. The final chapter in a tale that begun in 2008. The first of many end credit scenes that told us “it is all connected”.
WARNING, THIS REVIEW WILL HAVE SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE FILM, DO NOT PASS THIS POINT. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED
Three hours -just the very thought of that had the interwebs planning potty breaks and how to manage to last that long. As I’m walking out of the theater, I thought to myself, that did not feel like three hours. The film is a roller coaster of emotions: sadness, joy, optimism, shock, excitement and yes, more sadness. You will shed tears of joy, and tears of sadness. And in the end, after ten years, the film’s focus is exactly what it should be on the original Avengers.
In Endgame, the film mostly takes place five years later after the snap. The universe is not recovering as Thanos thought the universe would. It is a great portrayal of the nature of evil. You can eradicate half the universe, but evil still exists. The universe is in chaos. Tragedy, loss, hurt, and pain are not something that can easily be mended. There are two great things that if lost will destroy society and our very nature of being…Love and Hope. What Thanos took away for many, was both, and left a world worse for the change (except for Hipster Hulk, I love me some Hipster Hulk).
Oh but those two little words can move mountains. Love and Hope, that is what Endgame is about. And that is the driving force behind the Avengers. With everything we’ve seen in the MCU, it was inevitable that time travel would come into play sooner or later. How it’s handled is the key, and in this case, it was handled masterfully. It allowed the story to breathe without getting bogged down in a tangled web of loopholes. It brought about funny and touching moments. It was ambitious. To travel back in time to retrieve the stones and bring everyone back, but not to where they disappeared but rather to the current time. I thought that was very interesting. But when you think of love, it’s understandable. Let the world know what they lost, and what they gained back. Rebuild with a better understanding of love, and not take it for granted.
And of course, when they all got back, the action-packed climax was everything we expected. But most importantly, it was about the original Avengers and the passing of the torch to the others. On one side you have Thanos and on the other Cap, Thor, andIron Man. It was about them, and it needed to be about them. They gave Thanos everything they had, and when Cap was deemed worthy by Mjolnir, the eruption of the theater confirmed one’s own emotion, HOPE. And then the Russos hit you one of the greatest heroic scenes ever. A broken shield, a beaten-down Rogers, and Thanos with a army behind him. Cap rises, straps what’s left of the shield and in that moment, he represents everything he is, everything we should strive to be and everything the Avengers are about. Part of me wanted to see Cap go out like that, fighting an army and giving it all. But he didn’t have to.
As fitting as seeing the core three take on Thanos, it was even more fitting seeing the future Avengers arrive. And here we are, the Endgame. This was edge-of-your-seat, action-packed goodness. And in the middle of it was a big stamp on powerful women heroes in the MCU. This scene was nothing but pure joy and awesomeness. The women of Marvel are strong and have nothing to prove, and it showed. However, that joy quickly faded. We already had one heartbreak in the film, but this one….
“I am Iron Man.”
In 2008, before the end credits scene, before the Avengers Initiative, those were the words that sparked a universe. And it was fitting that they were the words that saved it. We knew it was coming, but we were not prepared. We knew it would happen, but we were not ready. The man who put all the pressure on himself, who finally shared that weight, in the end finally could rest. It was a job well done, good and faithful servant, now rest. Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark, this is a character that can never be replaced, and I don’t think could ever be rebooted the same. The theater was quiet, but the sniffles were heard.
The End is just the Beginning
Eleven years, and now twenty-three films. But it is not over. This chapter closes, and a new era begins. New heroes, new Avengers. Can this new group carry on the spark and emotion that the others had? For now, we may not know. But has the music is playing, and that dance is finally had, we end with the message that was given to us for the past eleven years: Love and Hope.