By Dominic Messier, Founder, Editor and Film Writer
There you have it: Now the highest grossing movie of all time, with 21 movies helping it build up a backstory for the ages, the oh-so-packed closing chapter Avengers: Endgame proves a well worn saying from the Star Trek universe, namely that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one. And let’s face it. The final cut of this excellent product of many a Marvel Studios mind shows just how in tune with its audience the bullpen of writers at the MCU truly is.
To put it succinctly, Endgame feels akin to the comic book equivalent of a giant-sized annual issue, or in home video terms, it essentially represents a much sought after bonus disc that is only talked about in collectors’ circles.
Is the film all hype and no punch?
The answer, thankfully, is absolutely not. Read on.
As we all know (having seen all previous movies including last year’s Avengers Infinity War), the team’s effort to thwart Thanos’ plan to halve the universe’s population due to finite resources, has failed.
The remaining members who haven’t turned to dust are left despondent over how to tackle the task of not only finding the Mad Titan to make him answer for his crimes, but also whether a means to reverse the damage is possible, nay, even conceivable.
Flash forward five years. The band has moved on in their respective ways, and have learned to move on with the losses handed to them, be it departed family or fallen comrades. That is, interestingly enough, until Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) shows up unexpectedly, having escaped out of the Quantum Realm, which creates the possibility that time might not be as immutable as one would think, at least one without the cheat of a Time Stone.
Soon, the revenging Avengers hatch a plan that might mean some serious tweaking of their known perception of the space-time continuum (I highly recommend you take some time to brush up on your Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Paradox notes, kids), as they cleverly plot to deviously oppose Thanos’ past moves to obtain the mighty Infinity Stones, potentially leading to an all-out battle for the survival of the universe.)
What to Skip
None of it, really…the film un-apologetically wraps up a decade of storytelling (or to the seasoned fan, 21 past films of the MCU.) There is no downside to this. Plot heavy? Yes. A bit long and unwilling to allow for a pee break? Verily. That said, once you see the film, you get on board with many reasons why the film couldn’t trim footage or cut corners in order to pay off and thank millions of loyal fans from the film class of 2008.
What to Love
Oh, where to begin?
Script-wise, the story is well planned, tying in multiple elements of past films, carefully tapping into themes of regret, guilt, redemption and sacrifice.
The movie, while loaded with humorous tidbits amidst dramatic ups and downs, accepts that even with quantum entanglement paradoxes, you can’t always just turn back the clock so to bring back dead characters for the sake of a senseless “a-ha!” punchline.
Do some people die in this finale? Of course, it’s Marvel’s master vehicle, and we’re just along for the ride.
Without exposing any surprises to spoil the fun, suffice it to say that the sheer grandeur of this ambitious enterprise proves just how this will earn the highest box office returns of all time (at least for a while), and with good reason. It will have earned every cent of it.
Commendations are to be handed to the cast on all fronts, a veritable tour de force that will leave you breathless with the sheer scope of its crowded roster, another thank you move by the Marvel producers.
There is simply no other way to describe it. Endgame plays out exactly how a decade-long saga should, essentially a mega-team effort to defy the genre, one that is emotionally packed and hits the audience right in the feels.
The two-disc Blu-ray set includes the feature film its in lengthy entirety, an audio commentary with the Russo Brothers and screenwriters as they break down the process of wrapping it all up satisfactorily, a gag reel, some deleted scenes, tons of interviews and featurettes on production, as well as a touching tribute to Stan Lee and his countless cameo appearances.
It’s a no-brainer that none of the film’s numerous surprise twists should be shared with friends who have yet to see the movie. Aside from being bad form, it’s simply best to let them enjoy the long finale for themselves and allow them to absorb and process the narrative so to create healthy debate later on.
All I can say at this point is: thank you, Marvel. Thank you for seeking to entertain with the best production values worthy of legions of readers who only wanted to see their heroes in the flesh. Thank you for allowing capable actors to flesh out each of their characters, quirks, warts and all.
Mostly, thank you for giving us a worthwhile closure, one that allows the Marvel Universe to turn the page and move onto other projects without forcing veteran actors to be locked into roles far into their retirement years.