AVENGERS: ENDGAME is the twenty-second film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is the last film in what is now dubbed the Infinity Saga. It is a direct sequel to AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (2018), however it contains story threads, elements and characters from many of the preceding twenty-one movies. Which is why some folks have spent the last few weeks catching up with or re-watching those films. You don’t have to do this to enjoy Endgame, but it may help further your enjoyment of what is a three-hour extravaganza of high-end, big bucks movie-making.
The war in INFINITY WAR was definitively lost by the Avengers. They failed in their mission to protect the Earth, but the stakes of that conflict were even higher, because in the end, everyone, everywhere and everything was affected. Supervillain Thanos brought balance to the Universe after literally snapping his fingers and destroying half of all living creatures with an item of cosmic bling known as the Infinity Gauntlet. He then retired to a farm, to live on in contentment.
Endgame shows what Earth is like in the aftermath. Everyone has lost loved ones and nothing about life works in the same way; not even the Avengers, who have lost key members, operate the way that they did. They search for a means to locate Thanos, but their power and motivation has been dealt a severe blow.
The script is written by Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus, they have worked on Avengers and Captain America material (Including television’s Agent Carter) and have given co-directors Anthony and Joe Russo a very solid foundation on which to build this final chapter of the Infinity Saga. McFeely, Markus and the Russos have collaborated four times since CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (2014) and the story continuity they created provides much of the material that is worked through in Endgame.
The movie’s creative team have given time over to emotional moments that are more fleeting in the other films. There are scenes in the movie where we see characters in a new light as we understand how they have changed post the Thanos Snap. The purpose is to give the story more weight overall and to set-up the finale to deliver a bigger emotional punch to the audience.
This is the Marvel Cinematic Universe and they know how to deliver brilliantly mounted, CG-assisted action, but this time fans are going to feel the consequences of their heroes’ decisions, too. McFeely and Markus’s screenplay reminds us numerously of how the individual Avengers got to this place and we are given fresh insight into their vulnerabilities. Team member’s storylines and histories are explored in a new way. Marvel movie fans have come to love these characters over the past decade and seeing more deeply what makes these heroes tick is a gift to loyal audience members. Some unexpected characters from the previous twenty-one movies are given focus, too. The sheer number of cameo appearances here are off-the-chart and makes Endgame the new go-to flick for anyone playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,
Along with “the feels” the movie delivers, there is plenty of humour to leaven proceedings, much of it provided by Aussie Asgardian Chris Hemsworth. The Russos also find a way to create a variation on the final battle that doesn’t attempt to top the spectacular climax of Infinity War by merely cramming in even more action, but provides a number of gear-changes in terms of the storytelling, mood and pace. Its visual clarity and impact is an excellent piece of filmmaking. The Russos are aware that more-bang-for-your-buck has a limitation and their creative choices here are inspired.
Ultimately for a movie of this length, crammed with so many actors, so much sound, colour and movement, it is remarkably coherent and consistently enjoyable. It all flies by, faster than its three hours. And you may find yourself wanting to see it a second time to make sure you get it all in.
AVENGERS: ENDGAME is top-notch, popular entertainment and a fitting end to the Infinity Saga. 9/10