Apr 29, 2019
Okay, so, today might run a little long. Maybe not three hours long, but definitely a little longer than normal. And there may or may not be spoilers, depending on your definition, and depending on how well you shielded yourself from spoilers and media and the rest of humanity. Shielded, get it? Anyway, I’m giving everyone two chances to tap out on this review.
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But before we get started, here’s a familiar voice with a quick review.
This is One Movie Spouse with a kiss and tell mini-review! MWAH!
Avengers Endgame is an amazing film! Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films will NOT be disappointed. No spoilers, because I’m not a jerk like that, but you will laugh and cry throughout this EPIC three-hour emotional rollercoaster. I need some recovery time, but look forward to seeing it again soon.
Hmmm, maybe that will be the start of our Mother’s Day plans!
You have my vote!
Here we go!
Today’s movie is “Avengers: Endgame”, the capstone of the first major storyline of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, and written for the screen by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, based on the characters created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The film picks up in the aftermath of “Avengers: Infinity War”, as the Avengers regroup from Thanos’ act of balance, taking half of the entire living population of the universe. Will the group recover from such a powerful enemy? YOU BET YOUR ASS THEY WILL!
No spoilers. Or at least I’ll do my best. If you’re worried, this is your second warning to pause and come back to the review after seeing the film.
I want to start by talking a little bit about the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole, to set the stage for reviewing today’s film. It began with a unique idea: taking the leftover Marvel characters whose rights weren’t currently controlled by other studios, and create a series of films that bring the heroes together in a cinematic team-up to top all other superhero films. A risky proposition for any studio, given the immense budgets needed for each film, ranging from $140 million to $220 million for the Phase One films. Each film would have to not only make enough to pay back the costs, but also enough to help fund the next films in the franchise. And they did extremely well with Phase One, with “Iron Man” turning a $140 million budget into $565 million worldwide, helping to cover the next films, and turning a combined $1.1 billion in production costs into $3.8 billion at the box office, not to mention all the incredible merchandising and home media.
The sky was the limit, with plans to expand the slate of films, and to invade the small screen via two networks, with “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and “Agent Carter” debuting on ABC, and a small universe of New York based shows beginning on “Netflix”. Anything that wasn’t under the exclusive control of another studio became fair game, and Marvel has one of the deepest benches around. The success was so immense that both Sony and Fox rebooted their ailing Spider Man and X-Men franchises, and Universal sat on any possible exclusive Hulk films to the present day. I’ve seen nearly all the content, with the exception of some of the shorts, and each film or show integrated itself within the universe to a different degree, with varying levels of success. “Avengers: Endgame” acts as a semi-capstone to everything, and does so in probably the best way possible.
It’s going to be difficult to discuss this film without spoilers. I went back to watch all the trailers and television spots to make sure I knew what I could and could not talk about. It is impressive how well the creators hid key aspects of the plot and characters in the marketing leading up to the premiere. We enter the film days after the snap, with the world still in varying states of chaos. As the trailers suggest, the remaining team members, with the recently introduced Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), are attempting to locate Thanos (Josh Brolin), and more importantly, the Infinity Gauntlet, to reverse all the devastation. And just like that, we’re off on an opening sequence that works as the missing epilogue to “Avengers: Infinity War”, before our heroes realize just how impossible the task is going to be. The viewer also realizes that most of what was in the trailers, featurettes and interviews was in the first thirty minutes of the film, leaving two hours and thirty minutes of surprises. We know what the story is going to be, but now we have no idea how it’s going to work.
It’s at this point that I have to stop discussing details and start talking around the story. Here are a few vague statements that won’t spoil anything. I found the film to sit very well within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, working with continuity in the absolutely best ways, while recognizing just how fast and loose they play with concepts and ideas to make the impossible possible. The film finds exciting and hilarious new ways to play with the remaining characters, making me laugh out loud multiple times, and gave incredible respect to the characters who will not make it out alive. Or at least characters who are now as dead as any comic book character ends up being. I laughed, I cried. I felt hope and sorrow and fear and anger and love. And never did I feel like it was three hours, even while sitting to process everything as the credits ran. I was absolutely riveted.
By the end of the film, I realized just how far ahead Marvel has placed themselves in the shared universe franchise game. While other franchises are struggling to find their legs, Marvel just moved ahead a few lengths in capping off their first major wave of films. And despite the body count within the film, still contains the promise of many more films in the second wave, although very little but rumors and announcements to go on, and no major hints given during the credit sequence. A host of television shows are planned for Disney+, reprising a number of supporting characters, that will hopefully have some attachment to the larger universe.
And speaking of that larger universe, I’m curious what, if anything, will happen with the various television shows that have maintained a connection with the movies. “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and “Agent Carter”, along with the ill-fated “Marvel’s Inhumans” shows, maintained direct ties back to the movies. The Netflix shows are being cancelled, which is a convenient escape hatch (and personally speaking, a devastating loss of mostly excellent characters). Where will up and coming shows like Hulu’s “Marvel’s Runaways” and Freeform’s “Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger” integrate into the events of “Avengers: Endgame”, especially since most of these characters were absent? And perhaps the biggest question, how do the brand new toys acquired in the Fox / Disney merger get integrated going forward? Because I definitely want to see either Avengers vs. X-Men, or Secret Wars, or even Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars! I mean, it’s like they want us hanging on and waiting for more, or something!
“Avengers: Endgame” is a truly unique film, one that weaves together twenty-one different films worth of content and promise into a stunning capstone conclusion. It is definitely a film for the fans and will hit best with those who’ve kept pace with the franchise, but it is a shocking good payoff for the massive investment to get to this point. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have about a million reviews I have to go read now. Whatever it takes, right?
Rotten Tomatoes: 96% (CERTIFIED FRESH)
One Movie Punch: 10/10
“Avengers: Endgame” (2019) is rated PG-13 and is currently playing in theaters.