We’re in the Endgame now (Spoiler Review)


photo by Marvel Studios

Avengers: Endgame premiered in American cinemas on April 26, 2019. It earned $1.2 billion worldwide in its opening weekend, breaking the record for the worldwide highest-grossing opening weekend of all time.

WARNING: This review contains spoilers for Avengers: Endgame. If you haven’t seen the movie yet and wish not to be spoiled, then click away now.

Avengers: Endgame follows the heroes who survived Thanos’ (Josh Brolin) snap as they travel back in time via the Quantum realm in order to reverse The Mad Titan’s actions. This film is a love letter to all of the films before it, and now that spoilers can be discussed openly, it’s time to explain why.

Directors Joe and Anthony Russo have already stated that the reason the original Avengers (Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow and Hawkeye) survived The Snap was so they would receive more focus in Endgame. This film is supposed to serve as the conclusion of their character arcs and their final send-off. However, a portion of viewers seem to think they do a disservice to the characters, not seeing how most of these choices are logical progressions after the events of Infinity War.

One major outcry about the film is the treatment of Thor (Chris Hemsworth), who really let himself go after not “[going] for the head” in Infinity War. Some have called Thor’s portrayal in the film as fat-shaming. However, this was a logical position after his actions in Infinity War. By making Thor overweight, it visually demonstrates how much his guilt and losses have weighed upon him. While the film did utilize Thor’s state for comedic purposes, it never treats Thor being fat as the joke. The joke is that Thor has become a shell of his former self, which has nothing to do with the girth of his gut.

If there was any character that was dealt a disservice in Endgame, it was Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and Hulk. Avengers: Infinity War was seemingly setting up an arc for Banner and Hulk in Endgame about them trying to figure out how their relationship works and who should be in control at a certain time. Instead, all of it was resolved off-screen during the five-year time skip and viewers find the merged form of Hulk and Banner taking selfies with children without a care in the world. It robs the film of an enticing arc, making the setup in Infinity War feel like wasted potential.

Finally, as far as characters go, Endgame cannot be discussed without talking about Tony Stark AKA Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Steve Rogers AKA Captain America (Chris Evans). These two have been the heart and soul of the MCU and many fans has already theorized the fates of both. Most have said that, if they don’t both die, that Stark will finally retire to live the family life with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) while Rogers would sacrifice himself, as a heroic soldier would. However, the film manages to excellently subvert these expectations. Rogers ends up using the Quantum Realm to time travel back to the 1940s and live a well-deserved civilian life with Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), finally giving her the dance he promised so many decades ago. Meanwhile, Stark fulfills the one shot in 14 million that means victory for the Avengers, but at the cost of his life. Stark had been obsessing over the idea of beating Thanos ever since Age of Ultron and now that he’s won, he’s able to finally rest; an earned sacrifice if there ever was one.

If that doesn’t turn on the waterworks, then what follows likely would: his funeral. In one magnificent shot, it’s revealed that nearly every major living character that has been in the MCU attended. Some of them even make their only appearances in the movie for this one scene. For example, Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) only made her MCU debut last year in Ant-Man in the Wasp, and this scene marks her only appearance for Endgame. Fittingly, the shot ended on Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) walking on-screen and giving his respect; the one who first told Stark he was part of a bigger universe so many years ago.

It’s a slow shot, but it’s one that pays tribute to the one who started this pop culture phenomenon. Without Tony Stark, many of those characters would be dead. Without Robert Downey Jr., almost all of those characters would have never seen the big screen. The emotion is then multiplied by Alan Silvestri’s score. The music over this scene is called “The Real Hero” and it is one of Silvestri’s finest pieces ever put to film. Any viewer who has been watching these movies from the beginning and doesn’t tear up at this scene has quite the strong will.

Endgame was to date this entire franchise was building to. The final battle had the largest scale of any battle seen before, it had the most superheroes with nearly every single hero that is still alive from previous films making some contribution, delivering payoff for characters audiences have seen on their screens for years, to then pass the torch to other beloved characters. It was a film made by people that truly loved and respected these characters and this franchise. It is an emotional cinema experience unlike any other before it.

It is hard to imagine that Marvel could have gone bankrupt had their first film not succeeded and now they will have the highest grossing film of all time. It took 11 years, 22 films, and countless behind-the-scenes players, but it happened and there is no film that could be more worthy then Avengers: Endgame.